Hiding from Evangelicals

I'm thinking more about this lately because on Monday I start a new job. The gentleman is lovely, will be very professional, and reminds me of a certain much-beloved Harvard lawyer. He's also an active member of a local 3000 member evangelical church. I keep having flashbacks of a minister of a similar church telling the congregation that mainline denominations were "spirtitually dead." I feel spiritually sick some days, but not dead.

In the last 2 weeks or so I've noticed that my defensiveness is killing my ecumenicism. Another conservative friend of mine was trying to ask me about the Episcopal church's beliefs, and I kept wishing she'd be quiet, because I felt certain she was trying to back me into a corner. She wasn't. She's one of the most generous women I know.

I read Anne Lamont's Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith, and for the first time in quite a while I cringed because someone made great points, but did so in such a way that none of our conservative counterparts could stick around and listen. At the same time, she asked the crucial question: Would I rather be right, or kind?

I'd rather be kind, and somehow that gives me the courage to talk to people with whom I'm not going to agree. It takes the angry wind out of my sails and lets me rest easy in the differences. If I'm tense, it's because I'm gearing up for a fight, getting ready to do exactly what I'm afraid of "the opposition" doing. This is a time to be a calming presense, not a short fuse, and I think I can learn how to do it.

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"So keep fightin' for freedom and justice, beloveds, but don't you forget to have fun doin' it. Lord, let your laughter ring forth. Be outrageous, ridicule the fraidy-cats, rejoice in all the oddities that freedom can produce. And when you get through kickin' ass and celebratin' the sheer joy of a good fight, be sure to tell those who come after how much fun it was."
-Saint Molly Ivins