I am covering my ears. My headphones are even making them disappear, lobes and all.
I am choosing my favorite station on Pandora and all I hear is melody, blocking out the conversations around me in this place. All the people and the grinding of the beans and the boots on hardwood.
It makes me think of the way we do that, burying our heads in the sand, not wanting to hear or see what other people are experiencing, trying not to understand their perspective because we're just so busy with choosing our own songs, our own opinions, our soap box issues.
I grew up around religious people. I guess you could consider me religious but I don't really like that word. I have faith. I believe. It is what it is and I am who I am...a person tuning in to the things that lift me and guide me. I am trying to hear the voice amidst all the instruments, so to speak.
I've been thinking about this a lot lately, the way we humans believe things. Arguing about it all isn't rare, so maybe I should be used to people judging and fighting over theological differences, but I'm not. It turns my insides and I turn up my volume to try to drown it out, just like they do over each other. We don't get anywhere, doing that. In social media, we can write soap box tweets and facebook updates and blog posts and then anyone can join in, voicing their opinions, duking it out. It doesn't ever seem to accomplish anything though, so I guess I'm not sure why we're doing it.
When someone disagrees with us, I think it makes us fear our own validity. We're all just so insecure and scared and so if we stay in our camps and hold tightly to our melodies, we just feel better.
I understand that the people who stand on soap boxes in the name of Christian truth believe they must. They believe it is their duty to keep people from believing things they do not agree are true. But here's my question: How can we be acting in love at all when we're playing these songs so loudly, and if something isn't coming from a place of love, where is it coming from? What is the intention? And really, are we getting anywhere by taking the time to bang and clang? By beating the drum of condemnation?
The real voice of truth is drowning in all of these clashing melodies. I thought of that because something is wrong with my actual headphones. The wires are all stretched so the melody is clear but the lyrics are completely muffled. I can't hear the voice. So lately, as I've come across more of this, these posts or sermons or remarks, it all makes me think a lot and then I think out loud here. These issues to fight over come up and then they pass, it all ebbs and flows, I suppose. And when it's flowing, I can't hear the voice. The spirit of love, the intention of grace.
Most of the time I write about my faith through story here. There's nothing really overt about it. I've only really blatantly professed my Christianity once or twice. I'm totally comfortable with that. It's actually quite purposeful, but I don't want to get into all the reasons why today. I will only mention one of those reasons and it is this:
Christians scare me.
Yes, Christians scare me, and yes, I realize I am one of them. I guess I'm referring specifically to those Christians who bang their drums the loudest, each strike another blow of opinions, of "right," of frustration over anything that isn't played out as they see fit.
I am scared of Christians because I never know what kind I'm going to get and it is so rare to meet one who truly accepts me just exactly as I am, whether conservative or liberal, a drunk or sober, or whether I hold the exact same theology as they do, or not.
I am scared of how much it hurts when I'm talking to a Christian and it seems like all I can hear is a soft harmony, maybe like a violin and then screech! there comes a remark, a comment of harsh opinion that slices through the voice and cuts me or someone else down. I'm scared of how sad that makes me.
I can't figure out how to reconcile that kind of noise with the voice I hear in the stories of Christ.
I could live on melody alone, I suppose, but I don't want to live in bubbles with other Christians, all of us holding our viewpoints like a harmonica to our mouths, completely missing the point. I can't do that. That scares me the most, that I might miss the point, that I would never hear the voice.
Love. He said it with a clear voice, all accapella-like, when He left. It was very very simple.
But lately what I've been hearing is much like my actual headphones, muffling the voice with melodies too loud. It seems our wires are crossed and then this very simple truth--love--it gets so complicated.
As mushy and trite as it may sound, I can assure you that if we sat together, I would hear you and love you, no matter what you think or believe, where your fears and opinions lie, what melodies and harmonies you choose. I would hear your voice because it's so worth hearing. I would not cover my ears and blast my own safe songs because that scares me too. How would I learn from you and how would I hear the voice of love through you, if I'm not listening?
That is the Christ that I know. One who hears and loves, not one folded down to fit in a box, muffled, to be stood on, to be used to support our viewpoints, to have His words twisted to fit our opinions.
As I finish this post, I'm thinking and thinking and putting all my things in my bag. I'm getting ready to go, back out with all the other people with all their many ways. Suddenly the lyrics to the songs become clear. I can hear the voice, coming directly from the speakers, loud and clear. Because I took my headphones off.