A relatively new member accepted my facebook friend request and read through my previous posts. I will sometimes post articles that shed light on some of the myths that are out there around some of the hot button issues. One was a quiz about what was really in the health care law. Another analyzed which presidents had most increased government spending. In another I pointed out the people who would now be able to get insurance coverage through the health care law and observed I hadn't heard any of them complaining. I suggested that we use the law as a starting point and seek to improve it rather than throwing it out completely.
New Member responded with a series of rants, and accused me of being a socialist. I didn't respond, but I found his posts offensive, and quite frankly frightening. Some of them were close to irrational. If he hadn't been a member of the church, I would have unfriended him. After I shared a post that said, "The Republican will live with the Democrat, the bully will lie down with the geek, and a little child will lead them." He posted yet another rant about there having been too much working together. I decided I needed to respond. I was stressed by his responses, and they were getting in the way of accomplishing the things I needed to accomplish.
I sat down and wrote him a note. I shared with him 4 stories of people who desperately wanted health coverage, and for a variety of reasons couldn't get it. "He had said anyone who wanted insurance should go get a job." None of these situations were lazy people seeking a hand out. Several were working multiple jobs. I said I didn't have the answers, but knew the current system hasn't been working. I said we have a variety of political perspectives in the church, and we respect and value one another. I hoped he would continued to be a part of the congregation and invited further conversation with him. I also expressed the hope that all Christians were seeking out multiple news sources and praying for God's guidance in this election. My response may just make him angrier, but I have been faithful to what I understand my calling to be. Hopefully I can set his rants aside and move on to other things now....
I continue to grieve the polarization that is tearing our country apart. I hope we will learn to listen to one another and work together to find common ground. I hope we will shift from a win-lose perspective to a win-win perspective. Right now it feels like everyone is losing.