It’s – and We’re – More Complicated Than That

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I’m not a political pundit. I understand a few things about party politics, and why parties build platforms around which they may rally support. But when it comes to human beings and the issues they seek to sort out, it’s a grave error to assume that the party can represent all persons. The same is true for denominations,  faith traditions, nationalities, ethnicities, teams, and even groups of friends who choose to associate with one another.

I’ve discovered that not all people who wear “Make America Great Again” hats support all actions and policies of the president who made those hats popular. I’m certain that the president would not support all the attitudes and beliefs of those who wear them. I’ve discovered that not everyone who supports the option of abortion is comfortable with that support, and the nuances of their belief do not include support for abortion in all circumstances. I’ve discovered that people who support civil rights and equality in the workplace for gay and lesbian people may not support gay marriage and may not be comfortable with transgenderism. While they are often portrayed in ways that seem to say, “you’re either with us or against us”, issues such as border security, immigration, #metoo, universal healthcare (and the list could go on and on), are too complex for quick judgment about both those who support and those who oppose them. Thinking people do not allow leaders to dictate their beliefs and attitudes on these issues. They think through them and do not allow identity politics to limit their analyses. To allow leaders to define what we should believe is an abdication of our greatest gifts as humans – conscience and the ability to critically reflect.

Among Jesus’ twelve disciples were undoubtedly men who shared varying views on many things. Simon the Zealot and Matthew (the tax collector) were almost certainly on opposite sides of the political spectrum – and yet, their friendship with Jesus allowed them to somehow look past those differences, and align themselves in cooperation when it comes to following Jesus.

I’ve discovered that your opinion of whether I’m liberal or conservative, right or wrong, informed or ignorant depends as much on you as it does me. If you’re to the left of me, you’ll think I’m conservative, even if I’m also left of most people. If you think I’m way too liberal, it may be because you’re to the right of me. The fact that I may also be to the right of most other people on an issue can easily be overlooked, and underappreciated.

I’m too complicated for you to judge me, or to assume that my stance on one subject necessarily implies others, as well. I suspect the same is true for you. Maybe I’m just (finally) getting to the point of truly understanding what Jesus was warning could happen when he said, “Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.” (Matthew 7)

 

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kevintully1204

Dr. Kevin Tully is pastor of the First United Methodist Church of Waxahachie, Texas.

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