The Thirty Minute Blogger

Exploring Books and the Writer's Life, Faith and Works, Culture and Pop Culture, Space Science and Science Fiction, Technology and Nostalgia, Parenting and Childhood, Health: Physical and Emotional ... All Under the Iron Hands of the Clock and That 30 Minute Deadline

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Seeing Even Our Leaders As Human

As politics continues to be divisive, as many religions seem to have a hair trigger for an offended reaction (fundamentalist Christians angered by Dr. Pepper [really guys, an ad?], others offended by cheap shot films, etc.), atheists angry with angry Christians, and all of us riding the roller coaster of offense from one newscast to the next, we forget we are all fallible humans capable of greatness and of great mistakes.

I was reading Brian D. McLaren's Naked Spirituality and he made a statement that in my irritation with recent events I didn't want to hear. Still it made me pause. He stated (I leave out bits referencing his system of spiritual growth as it would take longer to explain than is worthwhile and do not impact the message), "We can finally begin to accept that all our knowing, past and present, is partial (1 Cor. 13:12). Harmony requires this posture of humility, which allows us to finally see authority figures neither as godlike ... nor as demonic ..., but rather as human beings like us, often doing the best they can and even then making plenty of mistakes along the way. This newfound humility also allows us to find our identity in a new way in relation to others: ... in a more mature interdependence of mutuality." (p. 189)

I think there is a lot to be said for this humble approach. Thinking of the opposition to your position as a fellow, fallible human being helps keep us from demonizing each other. It makes it harder for us to lash out at each other and stereotype each other so we can dismiss those we consider others. If we must recognize that we need each other to progress in this difficult life, we may be able to seek accommodations with each other ... even compromise (GASP) with one another, and move forward peaceably into a better world.

It's not a welcome idea in our highly charged emotional environment where we'd rather be mad at the other side (of whatever is the moment's irritation), but it may just save us grief, tears, and bloodshed. It's not a message I wanted to hear as I'm dealing with my own anger and grief at the moment, but it's something I need to wrestle with. How about you?

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