Grumpy Pastor spent the last five nights trying to detoxify all of that incoming onslaught with some wine and a little bit of Louis Armstrong. When the anxiety of the world is flying six hundred ways from Sunday, two glasses of good Bordeaux coupled with “What a Wonderful World” helps the soul a tiny bit.
Grumpy Pastor grew up in the 3rd largest nuclear power in the world (North Dakota). There Grumpy was surrounded by too many LGM-30 Minuteman Missiles to count. This gave GP a dab of perspective. Grumpy Child constantly knew the missiles of the Soviet Union were pointed towards his town, his home, his GI-Joes, his Huffy bike (you know – the cool one with the plastic discs inside the rim?), and his school. Though to be truthful young GP thought it was okay that missiles would destroy the school. This way of life came with awesome, yet fear-inducing movies like “Red Dawn.” And air-raid sirens? Who could forget air-raid sirens? Every sonic boom we heard we were sure it was the Russians coming to get us. We all saw Red Dawn. We knew the truth!
This ferocity of fear also came with great parental reassurance along the way. “Remember son, don’t worry. If the blast doesn’t kill you, the fallout will.”
Grumpy Pastor’s younger days were lived living in fear of the other. GP was deathly afraid of Russians. That Gorby dude with the birthmark on his head was pure evil. And we are right back in that time and place. This time it’s not Putin and his folks though. Sure, they make some people quiver in fear a little bit, and that whole weird election thing makes people wonder. But this Cold War, this one is different. This time the others we are all afraid of aren’t the people Yakov Smirnoff and Sergei Federov defected. No. The others we are afraid of this time are your neighbors, your family, and your friends.
Tolerance for any opinion you have that’s different from the opinion of the other person sitting across from you, or on your social media network is low. And let’s be honest. You don’t like their opinions either. Your crazy uncle Mike who was posting all of those memes on Facebook? You unfollowed him. GP knows you did and you are really dreading seeing him at Thanksgiving in November.
It is no longer okay to believe whatever it is that you believe. It’s not. And that is one jacked up jackscrew of jiggery jug if GP has ever seen one. This is too bad. Some people might think it’s sad because our world needs peace, love, unity and all that nicety-nice mumbo-jumbo. Nicety-nice mumbo-jumbo is great, but GP doesn’t think it's all that. GP thinks it’s too bad because it’s a denial of humanity to so closely wish that others be like you. It’s invasive and cancerous to require others to not disagree. When you think someone is a big dumb poopoo brain because they want to stop abortions for gay baby seals, welcome to the club. We’re all guilty of it. You know you are. GP knows he’s guilty of the same thing.
So what’s the method? How do you move forward?
Well, if you want to do yourself some good, you might want to come to the realization that you just aren’t going to change anyone. Give up that false hope. You might be the most articulate and researched expert in the world, and the person you want to change might have an IQ less than the pet iguana your friend Mitch had in high school. It’s not happening. They are not changing. You’re upset with alternative facts and fake news? Seriously lacking press secretaries? All of those upset women marchers at the Women’s March? Want those #notmypresident people to finally claim Trump as their President?
Trying to convince others of how wrong they are and how right you are works about as well as when Grumpy Pastor asks Mrs. Grumpy if he can get a hot tub. After years of asking Mrs. GP, Grumpy still doesn’t have a hot tub.
Grumpy fully expects this blog to fall on your deaf ears, as the method of trying to convince others (and hence, you) just doesn’t work.
Trying to convince others of their wrongness has nothing to do with reason, logic, and intelligence. It has nothing to do with how unsmart somebody is and how blind they are because they can't see the obvious light of the wondrous and enlightened truth. The unchanging nature of others is more about direction. It’s about process. It’s about battling the natural invasiveness of others. All of us are separate human beings with hearts and brains and separate bodies. To inflict the beliefs you hold dear, over and above another? Well, that’s liable to bring you into that nice little cold war we all got going on.
So, how do we all get outta that Cold Civil War? Well, as Princess Elsa found out, it’s love that thaws a frozen heart. What about a different method? What about something Jesus would have you do? You know, that whole love your enemies thing? Instead of getting all messed up in their junk, so dearly convinced of how brilliant and right you are, maybe just sit back and figure out what makes the others tick, and what makes them think the way they do. Then, after you learn about them, how about thinking nice things about them? Instead of thinking your meme posting Uncle Mike is a racist, homophobic, feminazi-ish, hateful conservo-liberal, whack-job, maybe instead think of him as a child of God?
What do you think?
Is it worth a shot?
You might be surprised.
You might even come to appreciate them.
You might even begin to love them.
You might even figure out the reason Jesus loves them so much.
You might even figure out why Jesus loves you so much too.