Sometimes I feel actual physical discomfort when I think about the decisions that are before our world over the next generation or so. I’m the type of person who will choose to try and see where other people are coming from almost to the degree of great emotional risk. I have listened to people of differing social, political, and religious beliefs. I’ve talked with multimillionaires and homeless folk, pastors and prisoners (they are surprisingly similar), saints and strippers (they too can be surprisingly similar), religionists and racists (You know what I’m going to say.) And I have even helped a self professed white supremacists and satanist move (didn’t realize it until I was putting boxes in the U-Haul). In every instance, I’ve stuck with the person in conversation, because on some level, I think we’re all in the same boat. We’re trying to make sense of this world. We want to be loved not only for who we, but for who we can be–even if we don’t take one step in our whole lives toward living into that potential. We all want to belong to something greater than ourselves. We all want our choices justified by something or someone. We’re all at least a little afraid that one day the wind will blow and knock down the house of cards we call our lives. We all know that nothing we do will last because we will die and one day there will be no one who remembers that we were ever here. Realizing this, I try to maximize my compassion in every engagement. I’m not perfect at it by any means. But I try. Because being aware that I am deeply affected by everything I just acknowledged, I would appreciate it if someone could listen me through my junk.
That being expressed, sometimes I wonder if I’m just being a fool–and not the good kind that Paul talks about. I feel that when I encounter people have such little capacity for thoughts other than their own that they resort to threats or grand scale projections onto their ideas of a deity that they feel justifying the one tenet that almost every popularized religion has in common–treat others as you would like to be treated (I know that at least one form of Satanism doesn’t teach that,b I read their bible after listening to the guy I helped move explain why he left Christ for “Satan”. His short answer was that he wanted to be on the winning team. According to him, he realized this after years of watching people in his church be hypocrites.).
I started feeling this when I received the card seen below in the mail on the same day I received my ballot. In the video below the image, I explain my struggle. At the end of the day, I choose the struggle because I love God with all that I am and according to my understanding of the tradition I practice, the only commandment equated with loving God completely is loving my neighbors–to include so called enemies–as myself.
I’m being absolutely sincere when I say that I feel compassion for the people who put this campaign together. I don’t think that there are many people who would put in this much effort without having some level of sincerity in their own right. At the same time, I think that when your justifications require that anyone who disagrees with you be wholly disregarded by the same God who you believe created the very people you disagree with, there may be some static in your line of communication. Perhaps I’m wrong. But I can’t help but imagine that we can do better together than what comes out of this divisive mindset.