Tuesday, May 19, 2009

It's Easier Being a Liberal

I'm chuckling as I write.

In the last ten days, I've had some fascinating times with "conservatives."

How hard they work to defend their point of view against a legion of adversaries lurking at every turn of the road, hidden in every shadow, sneaking around in the doubts they have (which, of course, must be denied constantly, lest doubt break out like a pimple on the nose the afternoon of the prom).

It's a lot of fierce work being a conservative. No wonder they're edgy. No wonder they're slightly crabby.

It's tough to live fearfully.

I said to a friend recently, "It's a whole lot easier being a liberal."

Liberals concentrate mind and soul and energy on defending and welcoming people. Liberals work hard to keep windows and doors open, which is a lot more fun then slamming them shut, throwing the bolt, turning the key, and latching the chain.

Open doors and open windows are always a lot more fun. It's chaotic, for sure. All those strangers with their odd foods and weird dress, values and ideas different than mine. Goodness, all kinds of people and issues and needs. And poetry and music and dance, too - and love, in all of its remarkable possibilities.

I'm no longer alone when I throw open the door of mind and heart. And I'm no longer in charge of my little kingdom. I'm no longer talking only to myself, or to those who think and sound and walk just like I do, which is pretty much talking to myself.

It's hard to believe in small and narrow ways when suddenly the world is standing beside us - a child in Somalia crying at it's mother's grave; a Tibetan poet humming his prayers; a couple wanting to marry, and they happen to be Jane and Sally instead of Fred and Louise.

It's a whole lot easier to open the doors and windows than keep them shut. Even when shut tight, we still can hear the murmuring throngs and smell their strange spices. Shut them tight, close the eyes, and shout loudly, the world and its wonders knock on the door, peak in at the window and ask, "Anyone whom? We'd love to come and break bread with you."

How I love to walk the streets of LA - sounds and smells from near and far, and a thousand tongues.

It's great to live in such a large world.

Sure, I will continue to believe as I have most of life, but as the years of my life have unfolded, the doors and windows have been opened wider and wider; I couldn't close them now if I tried. They've been painted open!

I've had to add more rooms to my house, and the decor in some rooms seems at odds with other rooms, but it's comfortable enough. And all of these strangers come in with their own food and books and rugs and chairs, and make themselves at home.

Sometimes they don't even know who I am.

Sometimes I don't even know.

But I like to think that not knowing is a gift from the One who knows me through and through. That "my knowing" is just too small most of the time anyhow. That "not knowing" is what open doors and windows are all about.

"Come on in, and I'll do my best. I really don't understand you, but that's okay. You're here, and so am I, and I'd rather welcome you than turn you away, and maybe you can welcome me, too."

Help me grow larger and taller and wiser.

That my heart and mind might have some of the grace I have seen so wonderfully in Jesus my Lord and in the millions of amazing folk who populate the face of this earth - everyone wanting something rather simple: to love and be loved.

I think we can do this.

That's why I'm a liberal!

Who knows who'll come in with the crowds - maybe even God!

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