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March 2, 2012

I tell myself I am retiring, tolerant, open-minded.  I tell myself I can bear, with humor and goodwill, perspectives vastly different from my own.  I call myself a Unitarian Universalist, which (in part) means I support the inherent worth and dignity of every person.  I fumble and I fail, but I try to accept differences.  I try to understand them.

Yesterday, I said aloud (to no one in particular): “I don’t think I can handle another election year on Facebook.”  I’d just read a particularly scathing online altercation between two old friends (are they still friends today?), and I felt a little ill.  What sickened me wasn’t the political position of either person involved, but each combatant’s utter lack of civility and respect.  I was mortified for both of them.  I wanted to snap my computer closed and walk away from social networking forever (or, at least until 2013).

with my boys

Instead, I scanned my Google Reader, noticing that one of my favorite bloggers (Megan at SortaCrunchy) had posted a new essay titled “oh, friends.  oh, elections.  oh, Facebook” on the Christian blog A Deeper Story.

I immediately read her piece, and I immediately felt better.

Regardless of your religious affiliation, if you find yourself engaged in (or put off by) contentious conversations — online or in real life — I recommend you read Megan’s brief essay and see what you think.  I find her litmus test for online discussions (“Does it promote peace?”) encouraging, and I plan to practice it myself.

There is nothing wrong with being opinionated.  Believing that Lou Reed’s New York is the best album ever, or that milk is disgusting, or that crewnecks look terrible on everyone … strong opinions are grounded in consideration or experience or both, and they are important.

How we share them with others is even more important.


Many thanks to Megan for a well-written post and a critical reminder.  Peacemaking as a political view?  Maybe I can make it through another election year, after all.

Today, I wish you steady breath through the conflict and a mouth full of kindness.  Thanks, as always, for showing up.

4 Comments leave one →
  1. March 4, 2012 3:06 am

    Such wise words. Yes it’s the way we share opinions and listen to others share that makes all the difference. I have to tell you how much I love the phrase “- mouth full of kindness”. Wonderful image and post.

  2. March 6, 2012 6:30 pm

    Anne, thank you so much for the kind words on my Facebook thing. Seriously, as the election heats up, I have thought SO MANY TIMES, I can’t do it again this year. And you really hit the nail on the head. It’s NOT that I don’t want my friends to have strong opinions. Some of my best friends disagree with me VEHEMENTLY on a variety of topics. It’s just – yeah. Can we please not act like jerks to each other. It’s so not worth it.

    Thanks for your sharing your thoughts on this. Here’s to being opinionated without being hurtful!

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