I used to scoff at my brother-in-law for being a vegetarian. Now I mostly eat vegan.
When Bill Clinton was elected president while I was in high school, I was afraid the world might end. In 2016 I voted for Hillary.
I’ve argued about all sorts of theological and philosophical points over the course of my life, most adamantly against some of the very things I used to believe myself.
I changed my college major three times.
I planned to not have children. Now I have two.
For a while I thought I was done with organized religion. Now I sing in my church choir.
I used to wear my hair like this:
“Family” was the theme for week six of #songaweek2018. I didn’t have much interest in working with that theme, as I feel like already half my songs are family-related and it’s not even anyone’s birthday or anniversary or Mother’s or Father’s Day this week!
I built this song from the first two lines which I’ve been storing in my “scraps and starters” list for years. And now that it’s finished, I think there’s a lot of “family” going on around this song after all.
Last week the Super Bowl came to Minneapolis, and for that reason Westboro Baptist Church chose my hometown of Owatonna, which is on the freeway 70 miles south of Minneapolis, as a Sunday morning stop on their way to agitate at the big game. They demonstrated at a number of churches during Sunday morning services, including the one my in-laws attend.
I don’t agree with Westboro Baptist. I also don’t agree with my in-laws and their church on some things. But our extended family across the country joined them to pray for that morning, and my father-in-law reflected to us afterwards in a text message:
Much has happened in me spiritually through this. Pride comes so subtly. Grace comes so abundantly from God and [God] wants us to have that same grace. God is even changing me.
Do you hear that? That humble and gracious attitude? That’s the stuff that keeps extended families coming back together despite all kinds of differences.
We can always find ways we don’t see eye-to-eye with other people, including our own family and friends – and including our own past and (if we could foresee) future selves! But if we can keep this attitude of grace, of “I could be wrong,” it’s easier to see heart-to-heart, soul-to-soul, human-to-human. And that’s where and how real change happens anyway.
It’s okay to lay our weapons down. We can still hold strongly to our beliefs and values, and even talk about them with people who disagree. We just don’t really need those weapons of pride, guilt and shame, bitterness, contempt . . . they never work well at getting the point across anyway. They become the point, and everybody loses.
And besides, that thing you think and feel so strongly today, may just end up on your future self’s cutting room floor. But better that than another person.
I used to get injured more often
back when everything had a point
I went around hammering nails into coffins
at least I think I did
at least I thought I did
but I could be wrong
I used to go throwing my lot in
with the causes I fervently felt
These days I feel lots of nothing
at least I think I do
at least I feel that’s true
but I could be wrong
How many miles must I walk in your shoes
until I can feel your soul?
How many words should I leave unsaid
so I can finally hear you?
I’m starting to sense I’ve been spinning forever
orbiting the light
Sometimes I’m stupid, but sometimes I’m clever
at least I think I am
at least I hope I am
but I might be wrong
Winning the war isn’t all it’s cracked up to be
Conquerors can’t afford love
So I’ll stand in my faith and I’ll lay down my weapons
Cause I could be wrong.