Thursday, May 16, 2013

"We're not all the same"

Yesterday I spent a leisurely morning with a friend in her living room.  She had tea; I had coffee.  I had a muffin with raisins; she had one without.

These simple facts seemed to symbolize our entire conversation, which started before I'd even had a chance to sit down.  She had just listened to a radio interview with Alex Jamieson (wife of Morgan Spurlock of "Supersize Me" fame), who has chosen -- primarily for health reasons -- to begin eating some animal products after 12 years of veganism.  Jamieson wasn't suggesting that others should do what she's doing; the decision just seemed right for her.  "This tells me," my friend said, in her thoughtful, smiling way, "that we're not all the same."

We talked about how Jamieson is getting a huge backlash from vegans who feel that she's betrayed them or that she couldn't have been a "real" vegan after all.  And we commented on how we sometimes hold so tightly to our own views of right-and-wrong, black-and-white, that we feel threatened by anyone who suggests (1) maybe my right is your wrong; or (2) maybe there is some gray in there among the black and white extremes.

We moved on to other topics, but the incredibly freeing concept of "we're not all the same" informed everything we talked about for the next hour and a half:  books we'd read, choices we had made or were yet to make, our children's life paths, and more.

I don't want to sound like we were advocating some airy-fairy "create your own truth" perspective.  Both of us are Christians, and we believe in absolutes.  After our time together I thought about what my absolutes as a Christian might be, and the first thing that came to mind was Micah 6:8:

"He has shown you ... what is good; and what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God."

That's a statement I know my friend and I would wholeheartedly agree on.  But for each of us to dictate the details of exactly what that has to look like in the other's life just isn't possible or even desirable.  We don't create our own truth, but we do respond differently to the truth we see and hear.  Perhaps if we could allow others the same freedom we would want for ourselves, we might become more accepting and loving people, better able to trust God's ability to speak into the other person's life and be heard and obeyed by that person.  And maybe we'd have more courage to do what seems difficult ourselves because we'd be listening to the One Voice that speaks into our hearts, not worrying about whether our choices are different from what another person might have done.

So what might have seemed like just a conversation over different beverages ended up being a celebration of freedom and friendship.  And like most celebrations, it was over all too soon!


  1. "We don't create our own truth, but we do respond differently to the truth we see and hear." That's excellent, Jeannie!

    And while your conversation with your friend led you to think about the absolutes where you agree, you got me thinking (especially in the context of those muffins, tea and coffe): "So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." (1 Corinthians 10:31.)


    1. That's a great Scriptural connection too -- not to mention being an excellent justification for future coffee/tea dates!


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