Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You believe in WHAT?

One of my dearest friends just heard this:

"Oh my gosh, I think my teacher might believe in the big bang!".

Nope, it wasn't her son. It was the new neighbor's 10-year-old daughter. They're trying to be friends, the moms are, but this could really be a deal breaker.

"Oh no! Honey, your teacher believes in the big bang? What are we going to do?"

Of course it was my friend's son who had brought up the Large Holdron Collider to his class and that is what started all the commotion. And it brought on the minivan theology conversation.

So what to do? Do you out yourself as a religious liberal to someone who will find that an unforgivable sin?

Do you tell a friend, an acquaintance really, that you too believe in the big bang, even if you do call it "the great radiance"? Do you say;

"Hey, yeah, me? Um....I'm one of those liberals".

For me it's usually the "Prayerfully Pro-Choice" bumper sticker on my guitar case. Or the multi-faith symbols on my car that give me away. The chalice I wear just makes them squint a little, you know, with their head tilted to the side and lips pursed.

I am deeply immersed in the homeschooling community. There are a lot of very conservative folks here. And it's kind of funny to track the emergence of our friendships. Sometimes I can almost hear their conversations behind my back "how can she be so nice and be you know, one of those heathens?"

Well, from my side, too, I find myself surprised when a person who "believes" much differently than I is so intelligent, and accepting, and kind. Ouch, you mean, I have preconceived and often incorrect assumptions, too?

So, yes. Tell the minivan woman that you don't see things her way. Tell her with humor and pride in your theology. Tell her and be open to finding good ways to learn more about her faith and let her learn more about yours.

And you know, maybe this is how we'll move forward here in our deeply divided nation. Talking, laughing, sharing our stories in our minivans over the heads of our kids.

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