Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Changing Nature of Friendship

"Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy." —Earnest Benn

I ran into a friend I had not seen for a decade. It was great to see her until…her mouth moved past the niceties. She waxed evangelistic about her fiery passion—religion and politics. I was shocked by how much she had changed. Her tone, demeanor and conversation?

Angry. Hardcore rage.

I recalled a sweeter, gentler, kinder, more compassionate person. Her husband, a big wig in the movement, receives a handsome salary to express his opinion and fight against those tearing holes in the fabric of our frayed nation. They could well afford their points of view. But what bothered me most was her attitude seeping through every breath and pore.

As she lectured, fear permeated her talking points. I sensed any attempts to engage in any conversation would divide us and further inflame her, heaping fury and disdain upon 'uninformed' me. Questioning her assumptions or challenging her thinking would blast a hole in the stratosphere.

After all, she made one thing clear: She knows she's right. Period. End of discussion.

And I wondered, Where is God in her thoughts, life, conversations, and relationships?

Her battle cries seemed more about taking control over those who differ theologically and politically or those who sin, which even the Holy Spirit seems to have difficulty influencing.

Saddened, I walked away knowing she probably had no idea how she'd changed. But I also felt relieved that she was no longer a constant in my life. I could not live within the confines of her brand of intellectual, political and religious correctness.

I've stood my ground regarding God's precepts, but I'm not obsessed with throwing verbal darts at those who need the Lord most. In the past our conversations centered on God's Word and living in a way to help others understand who he is. Now her hellish rhetoric and religious wrath revolted me—but not in the way she wanted to revolutionize my thinking.

I found nothing about her fanatical dialogue, conversation or demeanor that acknowledged God or that drew me towards him.

Just the opposite. Her god repulsed me.

What about those who do not know the Lord of the universe?

A relationship with God is the art of looking for inner harmony with His Word, finding the bridge of peace with those with whom we disagree, diagnosing the world's woes with a deep sense that God works everything together for everyone's good, and applying God's remedy—loving our fellow man—no matter how fallen.


Terri Hall said...

Scoti...LOVE the "suddenly old" the entries. NEED MORE! Seriously, is this not something with which SO many of us can identify today??? There are times I see a group of young women at work, gathered in "deep" discussion. I walk up thinking they are discussing something I can TOTALLY relate to and certainly have 2 cents to add. As I attempt to enter the "circle", I don't quite blend in as I once did. I also don't always quite pick up on the conversation as I used to so easily do. As the group graciously parts and allows my presence, I realize the conversation changes and they use caution as they continue, or often, change the subject. I smile a smile they won't understand for years; want to hug each of them with the joy of having known their youthful excitement ... and then slink away to the next more "age appropriate" group.

I forget who I am and where I am. Glad to be who I am, but not always comfortable in my NEW skin.

Thanks for the entries!

Scot said...

Great post, Scoti. I enjoy reading your insights. This one was particularly inspiring. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

That was awesome. I read it three times, because it was quite thought provoking. Thanks Scoti!