You Choose

The choice, as they say, is yours.

Today is gameday in South Carolina – SC is traveling to Clemson for the biggest rivalry in these parts. Families are torn today. Friends are on opposite sides of the divide. One side will be unhappy tonight – and, I hope, they’ll be mostly wearing orange. Some folks will be mad. Some will be mouthy, whiney, offended – and that’ll be on both sides, win/lose/draw.

It happens in politics (if you’re on Facebook, you know what it was like just a few short weeks ago, and still on some walls today). It happens in Christian circles, and I’m sure in other faith communities as well. It happens at work, at home, in the midst of family members, and in juts about anything we do together.

People disagree.

I don’t like conflict. Lots of people think I do. I’m the one who asks the “devil’s advocate” queries often, asking the counter-question in order to get to something other than the status quo. But that doesn’t mean I like to be at odds with the room.

It happens, though – and sometimes it makes folks angry that I don’t stay on the dotted line very well.

Or rather, they choose to be angry. Or if not actually mad, then to still treat me and my questions/statements as a hostile, as someone coming along with heresy and blasphemy at worst, with stupidity and childishness and in need of education at best.

Different ideas, different opinions, different expectations does not an enemy make.

But I choose to be offended. I choose to be angry. I choose to let someone else hold sway over how I feel about myself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

But you choose to be offended. You choose to be angry. You choose to let someone else hold sway over how you feel about yourself, about them, about life, the universe and everything.

Or, I choose to not.

I choose today to not be angry, to not be offended, to not give someone else the keys to my emotional state.

We get to choose. Yes, it’s harder when the folks closest to you are the ones choosing to be offended, to be mad, to label you as the opposition. But it’s still your choice. It’s still my choice.

Warning: Don’t Read This…

My life has taken some weird, cool, controversial turns religiously, philosophically, theologically…

As I explained in A New Kind of Christianity, and as I explain even more energetically in my upcoming book (Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?), I don’t think the way forward is taking out or throwing away deeply held Christian beliefs. Rather, I think we need better understandings of those beliefs.

via Q & R: Sin? – Brian McLaren.

… and when I saw this note and promise of a new book from Brian McLaren, I was juiced to kick all that up a tad.

Faith and belief are so much bigger than I think we give credit for in our lives and in the lives of others. Over the past twenty years or so now, folks like McLaren, Rob Bell, John Piper, Louie Giglio, Phylis Tickle, Tony Jones, and so on and so on have challenged me and my beliefs. They’ve questioned me while giving me foundations to build on. They’ve encouraged me while ripping out chunks of hardened-heart.

We’ve got it too easy in lots of respects. Church doctrine tells us what to believe as men and women before us have done their own wrestling – so now do and believe the way we’ve nailed it down. Don’t ask questions – doubt and uncertainty are hard, but our beliefs are rock solid. Stand for this so you won’t fall for anything different.

That’s a generality, and I hate going there. But it’s true – in the midst of church life there’s very little room for question or disagreement. There’s no time for thinking things out and making them our own. The faith passed down is already good enough, and it’s a slap against the establishment to attempt to go our own narrow way.

All of that to say that I’m looking forward to the new book to come, and I look forward to wrestling with angels in order to lay hold of real and meaningful blessing.

Questioning Faith

When Lehman’s Fall Called Capitalism into Question – John Paul Rollert – The Conversation – Harvard Business Review: “As someone who spends a lot of time thinking about business ethics, what interests me is how the crisis raised two fundamental questions about capitalism that the business community and the broader public are still wresting with, questions that should help to orient and shape how we teach business ethics to MBAs. The first of these questions is: How much faith should we have in capitalism?”

The article above from the Harvard Business Review points to situations surrounding the current recession/financial shortcomings in our world. Click there to read and think about implications there, then come back here to ponder together. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

What struck me most is that the general pieces of the mindsets here are the same for any mental framework we may rely upon foundationally. It might be religious and philosophical, political and business-oriented, relational and personal. We all have filters and props, and when the underpinnings aren’t able to stand up to the scrutiny, we lose our way.