Saturday, November 22, 2008

Ouch. And Double Ouch.

I've not been comfortable with my posts recently--the ones about politics, the election, and the actions of our local Episcopal Diocese, I mean. I wrote and posted them out of true passion for justice--I feel so deeply about the importance of mutuality, the dignity of each human life, people on the margins of society, etc.

Of course I still feel that way. My posts are authentically me. But as I posted each of them, I did have a whisp of discomfort, a whisp that I conveniently and easily repressed. That discomfort grew until Thursday when I had lunch with The Author. We were talking about the election, and because I feel so safe with her, I actually said, "I don't understand it. I don't understand how spiritually mature people can be so conservative in their politics."

The Author is a very kind person. Each time I said something like that she remarked how she tries to see both sides of every position. I finally said, "I guess I'm being kind of arrogant about it," and she was very quick to agree!

Ouch.

"The problem is that people on each side are convinced they are right," she said.

So, I'm commiting the same sin that I accuse "them" of. Ugh.

Later that day my friend The Artist came by to give me my first watercolor lesson. She's a regular reader of this blog as well, so when I mentioned that I was rethinking my posts on the election, with some energy in her voice she said, "Oh really?" Yeah, I think I may have been kind of arrogant, I said. "Yeah," she replied.

Double Ouch. Two in the same day.

When I was growing up, I was the "smart one." It was how I learned to be loved, to be special--that is, to have the right answer. Indeed, to be right. As I moved into adolescence, though, I know I must've been a huge pain to my mother. We had terrible fights, and I know I was a horrible smart aleck. Well, I still have a need to be right. I see how my ATTITUDE regarding the election is the same old wound acting its way out.

The attitude in which I wrote those posts was one of absolute conviction that "I am right and "they" are wrong. Pure and simple." There's a kind of blind arrogance involved in it.

I need the conservative view to keep my liberalism from morphing into "change at any cost and the faster the better" (when in fact the costs might be too high and slower might be better!) I need tradition to balance my heavy reliance on experience. I tend to forget that. Plus, I'm sure that many conservatives and traditionalists also value mutuality, the dignity of each human life, people on the margins of society, etc.

More importantly, though, the spiritual reminder is that I must love those with whom I am in disagreement. To love them is, in part, to remember that they could be right. Certainty is a dangerous business.

I'll continue to act from within my liberal stances on issues, but I must remember to act out of conviction based in faith, not absolute certainty. That's the attitudinal difference I must cultivate.

I apologize to anyone who felt the arrogance and was offended by it. And my humble thanks to my dear friends The Author and The Artist.

8 comments:

Jennifer said...

I struggle with this same issue, too, but feel as though blogging is like journaling, and that one has every right to express one's views. I don't find your tone to be judgmental at all. Rather, I think you are prophetic. Of course, I'm not a great judge of whether you've been arrogant, because I pretty much always agree with your views!

Katherine E. said...

Thanks, Jiff

Jan said...

Like Jennifer, I don't find you arrogant, but maybe that's me, too! I think a blog is to express one's beliefs. I don't find you condemning, so much as honestly saying what you believe.

However, I understand the struggle between liberal and conservative, progressive and fundamental--not even sure if those are the correct descriptors. I feel judged, so perhaps I react in the same manner. That is not what Jesus advocated, so it's back to "Bless-----, change me!"

Cynthia said...

I never found your entries arrogant, but then I'm a liberal. I know that I've found myself in the position of holding the same underlying attitude about the rightness of my position and sometimes its moral superiority as the people who disagree with me, and that is definitely an ouch. This is a beautiful, thoughtful entry.

mompriest said...

I have always found your posts thoughtful, not arrogant...and like the others, it is your blog and a place for your to express yourself and your views...

Rev SS said...

I'm in agreement with those who have commented already. I have not "heard" any judgement or arrogance in your tone .. only a passion for Christ's followers to preach and live as he did ... seeking justice and mercy for all.

It is your blog, and I hope you'll continue to express your loving views with your prophetic, passionate voice.

steve said...

It seems to me that we have to strive for a kind of balance. We should be respectful in what we say, mindful of our tone, perhaps. But this shouldn't detract from voicing ourselves clearly, from confronting the issues of importance to us. We shouldn't let a desire to be humble and respectful devolve into a kind of fearful silence.

And for the record, I have found your writings to be honest and respectful.

INTPanentheist said...

I don't find the last few posts arrogant at all. I think that we need more people in the world who have solid opinions paired with open minds and who are willing to speak out about those things while being open to input. Having strong opinions and expressing them is not arrogant, in my opinion. Forcing them on other people - like, if you went to a conservative blog and started doing that without provocation - would be arrogant, on the other hand (and I fully admit to a little arrogance myself).