Friday, August 29, 2008

Religion and Politics

No, I'm not talking about religion in the political arena, but on the stage of life. Were you taught that it wasn't polite to talk about religion and politics in social situations?

As a Washingtonian of the native variety, my parents never did pretend you shouldn't talk about politics. Religion couldn't be avoided, either - my neighbors came from too many faith traditions, and kids always have questions. They did try to teach us that we wouldn't be so free to speak our minds in other parts of the country, however. But it's still an invitation to wrangle in my book if someone states views in a dismissive way - assuming I know something about the topic.

We all now people who have views on the other end of the "shades of grey" scale that we love and respect. When religion and politics a debated without rancor, it brings other people into the conversation. Everyone learns something, and some really amazing things happen sometimes.

One of the best discussions I have had in the last year about religion was after a Redskins game in a very un-toney sports bar. All of a sudden a casual conversation between two people became a group. No one was preaching - but people were sharing their ideas. It never would have happened if I was afraid to talk about religion.

Do you have a similar story to tell? The Spirit moves around in all sorts of places, at the most unusual times. And helps us talk about politics and religion, and religion in politics, and everything in between.

And if we don't talk about these things with people, the only ones who are talking are the ones who are yelling - and not listening.