Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Conservatively Liberal



Election years make my brain shrivel up into yesterday’s raisin. They suck the life out of my normally optimistic mood, and make me want to unplug every social media site, television, phone, and news platforms.
Because I hate politics?
No, not really, though I confess to loving them about as much as I love a slight papercut. That is to say, uncomfortably ignoring them for the most part. There are the issues I care about, and about a million others that make my head swim. But that’s not the reason:

It’s because, like a gawky, awkward pre-teen, I don’t fit in anywhere.

To someone who knows cheerfully that they are Liberal, everything is black and white. 
Too someone who knows happily, that they are Conservative, everything is black and white.

Being a homeschooling, pro-life, Christian, in a heterosexual marriage, I’m much, much too conservative for the liberals.
Being a short skirt wearing, gay friend having, reader of Harry Potter, sipper of wine, I am far too liberal for the conservatives.

Does that make me murky gray?

What’s a girl to do? Bury her head in the sand and refuse to come out? Tempting.
It’s difficult to make friends of any sort when you say something like,
After the baptism tonight, do you want to come over and watch Hells’ Kitchen?
Or,
Hey, let’s go to the Dave Ramsay conference and then go wine tasting!
Or,
We missed the church prayer vigil cuz we were out trick or treating.

I’m one of the most Goody Good Girls you’ll ever meet (ask anyone), yet I don’t even own a denim jumper. I make my bread from scratch, but I’ve also taken my kids to the Anheiser Busch Factory (that’s Budweiser, yes. The beer. Not butter beer, but there are those who would cry that that would be even worse). I wear sparkly eye shadow and high heels, but I believe in modesty. I love my Jesus, but there are times I hate praying over dinner because of the squirmy shenanigans going on and the fact that my hard work is getting cold (Martha, Martha, Martha…I know). I’m certainly not a Democrat, but I’m also the worst Christian you’ll ever meet. Is that me being humble, self deprecating, or just honest? Yes.

I have straight friends, gay friends, Calvinist friends, Buddhist friends, friends with eleventy-seven children with four more on the way, friends with one child and laser beam eyes that will shoot your way if you ask them how many more they want, friends who go to church four times a week, and friends who wouldn’t be caught dead in a church (or that’s the only time they’ll be in there!) Friends who would pray for my soul if they saw me in the beer aisle at the super market, and friends who consider me a light-weight because I draw the line at two. Friends who would never consider even celebrating Christmas, much less teach their kids that there is a Santa Claus, and friends who will only accept “Happy holidays,” instead of “Merry Christmas.”

Am I well rounded? Do I have such eclectic friends because I am non-judgmental, or because I am luke warm in my convictions? I honestly don’t know. I know my liberal friends don’t feel judged by me, because they’ve told me so. But have I watered down the scriptures in pursuit of friendships? Jesus told us to eat with tax collectors, the first century equivalent of lawyers. What to do? Crap, I don’t even know any lawyers.

I love my friends. They’re the greatest group of weirdos you’ll ever meet. But they make me sad sometimes, because while they’re yelling about someone hating them, they’re doing the same thing to my other friend. And even if they don’t know that person personally – well, wait. That’s the problem, isn’t it? Can’t we all just sit down at a Chik-Fil-A and have a book group about 50 Shades of Gray? Hahahaha: 50 Shades of Gray in a Chik-Fil-A. I slay myself.

But seriously, while you feel certain in your convictions, whatever they may be, slamming one of my friends isn’t okay. Because they disagree with you, doesn’t make them a hater. We all suck at love, anyway, don’t we? Who has cornered the market on that? The atheists? The Christians? The muslims? The homeschoolers? I repeat, we all suck at it. That frumpy mom you roll your eyes at for being so religious and close minded; she’s been on a journey you’ll never know about. That lesbian who has just come out of the closet; she was one of my only friends at a time when the religious were too busy for me. That teenager with a mouth like a sailor and no respect; given what he’s had modeled for him, it’s amazing he came out sane at all. That woman who’s been divorced twice; she already feels like a loser without you pointing it out. That mom with the autistic daughter; she doesn’t need your spanking methods. That man with the gay son; he doesn’t want your chicken sandwich shoved in his face.

Does this make me weak, meek, turn the other cheek, we’re okay, you’re okay, all we need is love, hold hands and share a Coca Cola and hum a Michael Jackson song? No way. I think everyone needs conviction and passion and should never stop learning. And do I think we all find our own way to God? Not really, no. Being a Christian I can’t say that and still be a Christian.

I’ve done the legalistic approach, where your spirituality is determined by the length of your hair and your skirt. And I’ve done the “God is in the trees” route, so “don’t you dare tell me what to do,” too. I am fiercely pro-life, but I don’t march in parades. I love my gay friends, but I haven’t been invited to any of their weddings, either. When I go to the library, I might leave with a devotional book and Twilight.

So, what am I, in this election year?

Mostly –

confused. And my nose is full of sand. Could someone smuggle me a People magazine and a glass of vino, please? 

What about you? Black, white, murky gray? Are elections easy for you? Seen anything in your friends that make you sad recently? Talk to me, Goose.

21 comments:

  1. Ahh, once again such a humorous way to express just what I think at times. I can truly relate to you. Unlike my hubby, I am not extreme. I am passionate, but at the same time think I'm fairly tolerant, at least to a point. Hmm, sounds like I'm confused too. Maybe the third political party should be "confused" or "in the middle" instead of "independant."

    Barbara

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    1. I'll try to register as "confused" this year! We'll start a movement!

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  2. If only I could have said it.. Dang you. lol. Election year or not these issue and conviction sometimes makes us standout and look different. Its the conviction that comes from the Holy Spirit that helps to see things in "God eyes" not our eyes. It makes us ok with not following the crowd but figuring out what and who we believe in and Why. To be humbly confident in who I am as a woman, mother, pal, lover. To know that we are not one way or another but make in God image with a mind He created for only me and conviction that may look gray to others but black and white in my mind. I'll be coo-coo with you. Stand along side of my sister/brothers because of their love for Jesus, not political views or their favorite colors. We all are different and Praise God for that. Cheers to you and bottom up.
    deb

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  3. I appreciate your post! I'm the same way - a Harry Potter reading-sparkly eye shadow wearing-homeschooling-Christian mom. In politics, I identify as independent or libertarian leaning, although I'm pretty much ready to toss politics all together. I believe people should have the freedom to live their lives, even if they choose to do things I wouldn't do.

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  4. Loved this post. Elections drive me nuts - I hate sound bites and bumper stickers, and in an election year, what else is there? (Especially on Facebook, which was why I almost deleted my account.) If you start a third party, can I join? We can head to the nearest wine tasting and map out our strategy.

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  5. Totally get this... And really, when it comes to elections, what do all of the words and promises mean anyway?
    I am so sad about how cruelly people treat each other because their opinions are different... :( I recently lost a DEAR friend over that whole stupid Chick Fil A debacle.

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  6. Melyssa,
    I completely get this: "I am fiercely pro-life, but I don’t march in parades. I love my gay friends, but I haven’t been invited to any of their weddings, either." I think it speaks volumes that your gay friends know you love them, and also know that you won't be able to celebrate their weddings. This reminds me of how in high school, I had a lot of people I was on very friendly terms with, but I never was invited to their bush parties where everyone knew they were going to drink themselves silly every weekend. It wasn't that I wasn't welcome among them, they just knew how I felt about their drunken weekends and did me the courtesy of not trying to include me in them. My friends actually respected the stand I took because I didn't condemn them as people, only shared my concern for their well-being and told them how it scared me to think of the danger they were putting themselves in by drinking to such excess out in the mountains, knowing they would have to drive mountain roads home.

    Sadly, it really came clear to them when we lost one of our senior football players on grad night when he drove his car into a lake in an accident on the way down a mountain road from a grad party. I will never forget the devastation of that awful morning when we all heard the news, or how one of the biggest party girls in school stood up and asked my daddy (a teacher) to pray because she knew he knew how.

    The ways we, as Christians, handle our beliefs in the world can be all over the map. It is possible to take the right position and be completely wrong in the way you express it. It is possible to take a strong stand for your convictions and yet not condemn people. I also think it is unattractive, ineffective, and even damaging to the message of Christianity when people have no standard at all. And yes, some of us draw the lines in different places, and as confusing as that can be at times, only God is qualified to be our judge or "their" judge either one.

    Thank you for a very honest, very insightful, and very winsome post!

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    1. Ah, I relate to your story! I was always the girl holding everyone else's cigarettes while they went to the bathroom...not "cool" enough to light up, not so nerdy to leave...

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  7. I. love. this.

    You are real. That's what you are. Keep being it. God is good and He is loving through you.

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  8. we need more people who align themselves with Jesus and mercy and not any political platform (and i suspect that there are more grey-dwellers than one might imagine). in order to maintain a prophetic voice and speak truth-to-power, we can't be coopted by any ideology. not fitting in and navigating life with a Kingdom-lens discernment isn't easy, but i suspect it is exactly where we are called.

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    1. Thanks, Suzannah. I love your "smitten word" title... :)

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  9. Love the honesty here and the fact that I could relate to so, SO, SO much of this. Even though I know where I stand politically for the most part, being pigeon-holed into any particular assumption because of my beliefs or lifestyle or personal choices makes me foam at the mouth. Mostly, I try and remember that as important as it is that our voices are heard in a democracy, in the scheme of things, what I'm responsible for, what I CAN control in this big, wild world is how I lived, how I treated others, and how I represented Christ. The best thing I know how to do, politically speaking, is to compare the best I know about loving people and how Christ lived to try and make a determination about who/what my gut tells me aligns with what I know about love and what I know about Jesus. It all gets so murky sometimes, especially when it can seem like not voting against something means supporting it, or that all the Christians you know vote a particular way or whatever, but at the end of the day, we can only answer for us. If I vote for the "right" candidate but speak or act unlovingly to someone voting for the "wrong" one (which I'm totally guilty of, in frustration), then I have a bigger issue at hand than what my ballot will show.

    Anyway, thanks for your transparency here. I laughed out loud a few places when reading because I can completely relate, as a woman who doesn't fit in many neat little boxes herself. Mostly, I like it that way, but in certain aspects, it can be maddening. :) Love and peace to you.

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    1. Neat little boxes are over-rated anyway! :)

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  10. sigh i LOVE this post. i love how you make fun of yourself and others in it, and how you poke fun at politics at well. a refreshing, honest post. bless you friend. e.

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    1. Thanks, e. I love you and your writing.

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  11. ohhh, woman after my own heart, I so GET this!
    wisdom and a chuckle:)
    thanks for the sweet share,
    Jennifer

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