It all started with a simple glass of tea.
I swear that isn’t Kool-Aid. It is Tazo’s Passion iced tea, and it is FABULOUS.
I made this tea, and remarked to my husband that it looked like Kool-Aid. He then, in typical ultra-sarcastic husband fashion, proceeded to ask me if I was “drinking the Kool-Aid.”
I almost made some snarky comment regarding politics and voting Green just to piss conservative Christians off, but I stopped. I began to wonder if I was, in fact, drinking someone’s Kool-Aid.
I don’t generally buy into either major (U.S.) party’s rhetoric; truth be told, I’ve even started shutting off NPR when they do political updates. Rachel Held Evans said it best when she wrote,
My generation is tired of the culture wars…[we] are ready for peace. We are ready to lay down our arms. We are ready to stop waging war and start washing feet.
I know very, very well that I am tired of political wars. I so earnestly desire a time when all people, both in the U.S. and worldwide, can learn how to stop hating each other and start working together to actually make things better. I am far too pessimistic to believe it will ever happen, but hey, dreams.
So often, I do not find myself “drinking the Kool-Aid” of United States politics.
But I wonder if there’s a different kind of Kool-Aid that I’m drinking.
I have a long list of theological heroes. Tony Jones, Tripp and Bo, Rachel Held Evans, Greg Boyd, Doug Pagitt, Nadia Bolz-Weber, Shane Claiborne…goodness, I could just keep on listing all night. I read their blogs, I listen to their sermons and podcasts, I
annoy follow them on Twitter, I learn from them. I am greatly impacted by their thoughts.
So much so that I often have to step back and examine my thoughts on a specific issue to see if they’re really mine, or if they’re an amalgam of the thoughts of people who inspire me.
I try never to take anything (important) at face value. I try to research issues as much as I can before I take a stance on them. I try to listen to people on all sides of any given debate.
But I often find myself assimilating the stances of those I look up to before I can get that far.
Take, for instance, the issue of evolution. I’ve never really taken a solid stance on it. I knew I wasn’t a young-earth creationist, but I didn’t get much further than that (perhaps because I went to a conservative Baptist college where evolution was, for real, a blacklisted issue for class discussion). This past Spring, I had been listening to some Homebrewed Christianity, while writing my senior sem paper on the Emergent movement, and for the first time came into some arguments from Christ-following scholars in favor of evolution. I began to research the issue, but because it ended up not fitting well in my paper, I stopped my research early and have not picked it back up since.
However, I now find myself assuming this stance, without having any real support for it. I’ve barely researched it, and the only reason I even started doing that was because someone I look up to said they thought it was true.
Sounds an awful lot like drinking Kool-Aid, doesn’t it?
Don’t get me wrong. I look up to these people for a reason and I generally do agree with them on most things. However, I think it is vital that we not take stances on issues we know nothing about. And especially right now, as the U.S. has divided itself in half and has commenced an all-out war of political bashing.
Before we argue, whether about politics, theology, or whether Helvetica is better than Arial or not (it is), let’s step back. Let’s research. Let’s approach the issues as neutrally as possible before we decide who we think is right. And, most of all, let’s remember that the people who disagree with us are still, in fact, people, and we should treat them as such.
I am so tired of human beings acting like zoo monkeys. Please, before you fling your excrement at someone, know why you’re doing it, and remember that the more shit you throw, the more will come flying back at you.