By Mel Harkrader Pine
A couple years of serious blogging have given me:
- an outlet for my grief as well as my ministry,
- a mirror on my imperfections,
- an intellectual and emotional bond with newfound blogosphere friends, sisters and brothers in our ideas and ideals,
- an opportunity to record my own ever-changing thoughts after a career of writing for others’ ends, and, finally…
- a few (not sure how many) folks who think I’m a bad person.
It’s that last bullet I’d like to talk about, and to pose a question about.
In our society at large, many seem to believe, for example, that every member of Donald Trump’s family is not only wrong in their opinions, but evil as well. Others find Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton denizens of a lower realm. And we fall into camps that hold our views so tightly and so emotionally that we fear to express them to members of the other camp. Of course we’re afraid if we fail to distinguish disagreement from personal attack.
And I’ve found the same happening in my denomination and my church. As is evident from some of the comments on Rev. Kate Braestrup’s recent post here, political differences are whispered about in Unitarian Universalism and, I suspect, other churches. If we don’t feel free to proclaim our opinions within a faith that values the inherent worth and dignity of all, where is a safe place?
We’re all imperfect, and we’ll all disagree on some things, but I and others have been personally labeled within UUism, sometimes with venom, for our thoughts. Does every member in a church community need to attain godlike perfection in the eye of every other member? If that’s the standard, only cults and religions of one will survive.
I’m mystified about how we got this way, as a nation and within our churches. So I’d like to see your thoughts below. What has led us to confuse disagreement over ideas with disapproval of each other? Why is disagreement so uncomfortable and so personal?
As you reply, just remember our Code of Conduct. If you find yourself blaming it all on them, give it some more thought.
Copyright 2017 © Mel Harkrader Pine