Today the Supreme Court handed down a decision on the issue of Hobby Lobby/ACA Contraceptives Mandate and almost INSTANTANEOUSLY, I saw full news articles on both sides of the reactive spectrum. Some where triumphant: "'Merica YEAH! Religious Liberty FTW!" Some were apocalyptic in tone: "Why does SCOTUS hate women?! The Handmaiden's Tale is coming true!" Admittedly, I'm not very happy about the ruling. From what I understand, I don't like it. But I'll also admit this - I don't totally understand the ruling. I need to read both the majority and the dissenting opinions. I need to read analysis from both sides that explain precedent and rule of law. I need to think about it.
But, given my personality, that's not totally surprising.
It took me time to change my position on LGBTQIA inclusion in the church, to get to the place where I could perform a same-gendered wedding without any qualms. I had to read scripture, I had to read commentaries, I had to pray about it, I had to talk with people. I needed time to process and lay vulnerable before God. I didn't just read an article on Slate and react; I didn't get "brainwashed" by anybody or any news source. I read, I listened and THEN I made my shift.
It took me almost 2 years to decide to pursue a divorce from Cliff. The facts of what he did never changed during that time, though I learned more specific details of the trial only last November. I knew on the "first" day and the "last" day what the repercussions of his actions were. The only change that did take place during those intervening months was an internal one; I needed time to sift through what I knew, what I'd experienced, how I felt about it all, what I could forgive, and what "forgiveness" would actually mean in my context. I'll say it again: it took me 2 YEARS to do all that internal processing. Only THEN did I make a choice, choose a reaction.
What I'm getting at is this: I reject this insistence on social media to have an immediate "final" opinion on complex world events. I don't think it's healthy or wise to quickly make a definitive, "fiat" type announcement. I have no problem with "Wow, this makes me unhappy" or "I feel relief" or any other personal statement in regard to big news pieces - I do that! But I find it insulting to say things that imply your analysis is the only possible right one, or that people who disagree are not Christians/patriots/smart. Especially in regard to constitutional judgments, I think we could all benefit by dialing down the damn rhetoric and instead finding ways to get the fuller story - especially from people who have dissenting opinions.
This is also an important part of what I understand faith to be, why it's critical to do this whole faith business in the midst of a COMMUNITY of believers. The Bible is super complex, a bevy of different voices over thousands of years all speaking about their experience with God. Even the Ethiopian Eunuch, who was a God-fearer and could read the scriptures for himself needed HELP from Philip to understand what he was reading. Christians need to stop being so REACTIVE to each other, and we also need to be more willing to say "I THINK this is what this means" rather than "OBVIOUSLY, this is what this means." We need to look for a fuller picture, we need to pursue an understanding of scripture that has depth and breadth, we need each other to disagree with, to recommend books and articles and perspective we aren't on board with. It cannot hurt us to have a broader view of both ourselves and the faith we have.
Have opinions my friends. Have well-informed opinions. Share them with gusto (and grace)! Let's admit that not all opinions are equally valid - even well-informed opinions can still be flawed. (We're not even going to broach how this is a different beast in regard to scientific findings; you can dislike data, but your opinions about it don't make that data less true.) But let's all agree to, in general, stop speaking "Ex-Cathedra", and let's find a way to be open enough to say "You know what? I think I was wrong about that."