A Christian friend sent this video to me. It is incredibly moving, and I highly recommend you watch it, but the end of it got me thinking about something that rubs me wrong. More on that in a minute.
For my agnostic or atheist friends here… I hope you’ll hang with me, read this, and watch the 5 minute video too.
I find peace, love, gratitude, power and empowerment in my faith… I find equality, joy and an exuberance both in the here and now, and in the life that lies ahead. I like thinking about and talking about what’s going on… about where my heart is, and my focus, based on the spiritual and not just the physical situation that’s grabbing my attention. In fact, my faith is woven into the fabric of who I am, how I think and the decisions I make. It’s all connected and it’s fluid because hopefully, like you, I’m always growing. All of this background, just to introduce this video and then get to a related point. This guy has life experience with immigrant kids who’ve been separated from their parents. He actually parented “these kids”.
Walking through the city on the way to grab a coffee this morning, I listened to him… holding the phone to my ear, unable to see the video as I walked. I was by myself. I cried. Watch it and let me know how it effects you.
I then sent it to a couple of Christian friends who have argued with me on recent posts, choosing to defend the separation of children from parents for one reason or another, or to lodge the “what about” line of thinking… “what about the other administration who did a bad thing too… “ (no administration did this bad thing, by the way). One wrote back that she’s taking a break from my posts. I felt a sense of peace reading that, and thought, sometimes walking away from a disagreement angry or unsettled can be a starting place. Don’t worry, I’m not naively thinking that’s often the case. But it can be a contributor to a second order shift.
Back to the video. This guy makes a powerful, beautiful point. Then he hurts his message by becoming something akin to preachy at the end. I can tolerate that. He has a genuine message that isn’t diminished. I just think he could have ended it before the 60 second mini sermon. And that’s what led me to think of the disconnect even among those who say, “I’m a Christian”. What I’m about to say really has nothing to do with David Speed or his beautiful message. It just pushed up these feelings that have been percolating beneath the surface for some time as the political climate has become so heated and divisive. For those who think Christianity is the dogmatic, legalistic, shallow, unevolved images often seen and heard from the political noise-makers and those who vigorously cheer them on, citing their shared religion; those who seem to think they ‘earn’ favor with their God by image control… polishing themselves on the outside to look a certain way, while revealing through their actions, totally different insides. I’d say they’re no more a representation of Christianity than the radical extremist suicide bombers who think they are serving their God, representing their religion. Well, that might be hyperbolic but my point is, the people out there barking scripture for whatever their agenda… or who put on that ‘little extra’; the people whose lives only attract their friends from church… well, maybe they aren’t what they’re promoting about themselves? And that bothers me because it leads to a generalized reputation or a false image about a faith that in its healthy form, would only attract. When I hear angry others say, “those Christians”, I want to shout, NOT me. I don’t want that association.
Healthy, faith based practices are inseparable from emotional maturation, which can only happen through a certain amount of self actualization. That takes self healing, which takes exploration, vulnerability, rigorous honesty, and a painful journey through… until there is wholeness within you. There are no shortcuts. There are no fake jobs. Fakes will attract fakes. Authenticity will attract authenticity. We might attract some who like aspects of our ideas and views, but we attract and we sync up with those who are on or around our level of functioning, our wave-length. That’s true for every human being.
I’m just as glad to find someone “taking a break” from me as I am to make a new friend, or let go of one when that’s what’s needed. It’s all feedback. It’s a reflection of where we are. The inner voice of that feedback is saying, “You’re being true to yourself. You’re being courageous and purposeful.” And what’s fascinating is that you never know who you might encounter again someday… life is an exciting adventure.