Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Can I walk the talk?

The last few lines of yesterday’s post:

Where is the junction of spiritual and political power?
Can the two ever exist in the same space?
According to whom?

It can only be in that hallowed moment
When I love and respect you,
You who make me most uncomfortable,
Without demeaning myself.

How can I practice what I preach?  How do I walk the talk?

There are millions of Americans who hold political and religious views that I find repellent.  My tendency is to mentally label them as IGNORANT, as in Stupid Ignoramus, at worst, or as merely ignorant, as in not as well educated as I, at best...two levels of arrogant condescension.  And yet, I suspect that real power lies in finding common ground and mutual respect wherever it can be found

So, today I am inviting you to join me in a spiritual practice.  I really want you to try this with me and share your observations.

Politically and philosophically, I lean to the left.  I am uncomfortable with and often judgmental of folks who lean strongly to the right.  So for me, this exercise is to sincerely, publicly acknowledge what I admire and respect about right-leaners.  Here goes:

1.  I respect their deep concern about government intrusion into individual lives.  I appreciate their fear of a “nanny state,” and the loss of individual initiative and self-reliance.

2.  Though I am an adherent of a woman’s right to choose, I am sympathetic to those who believe abortion is a very serious issue and should not be taken lightly or abused.

3.  I fully understand the belief that the Bible is the literal Word of God to be obeyed unerringly, and the concurrent belief that Christianity is the one true religion.  People who hold that belief will, if they have any integrity at all, make every attempt to convince their neighbors and fellow citizens of the error of their ways and warn them of the perceived consequences.  I admire people who follow their conscience.

While typing these three statements I was very aware of the desire to add qualifiers, disclaimers and rebuttals, but that defeats the purpose.  

Can you think of at least three examples of traits or qualities you genuinely admire or respect in people with whom you strongly disagree?
Could you say so in their presence?

Here is a chance to practice.  Share your ideas in the comment section.


  1. Ooooh boy, didn't see that coming. Quite a challenge. But love you putting it out there!

  2. Teresa heard Bill Clinton speak last week and he offered a good thought on this issue. He said no one is right 100% of the time so that means no one can be wrong 100% of the time, either. When you think about that, he's got a good point. I moved back to Texas two years ago to a little town 18 miles from where I grew up, and almost all of my neighbors are conservative Republicans. And you know what? I like them. I really do. We don't agree on much politically, but they have been unfailingly kind to me since I moved in with my Obama bumper sticker on my truck! I am learning to be a more tolerant liberal elitist. I have a ways to go, but at least I'm better. I encourage everyone to find a common denominator. For me on Worsham Street, it's being kind to animals. It's hard to truly dislike people who like dogs. I'm just sayin.'

  3. Might we all be better off if we just did not know someone else's "leaning?" People are really basically very kind.


My hope is that each blog entry serve as a conversation starter...please feel free to join in!