At the end of every month, I share my favorite comments from that month's posts, and you're invited to do the same and link up below!
This month included several posts on heavy topics like privilege, prejudice, and being an ally. I also talked about where I'm striving to do better in my marriage, shared my thoughts on God's plans (or not) for my life, and wrote a special post for my little sister's 16th birthday. Perhaps because this isn't my typical fare, I had fewer comments than usual for the month. But I can still share my favorites!
I wrote about Finding the Other Extreme -- people who are too liberal even for me -- and Becca shared her own similar experiences:
When I was in high school in small-town Oklahoma, my journalism teacher told me, "One of the great things about going to college will be that you won't be the most liberal person you know!" I bet this would have been true even if I'd gone to a state U. At the college I did attend, I heard some views so liberal I'd never thought they existed! For example, I'd always been told, "There is no such thing as pro-abortion. We are pro-choice." but at my college there were a few people who really did believe that most pregnancies should be aborted for the sake of women's liberation, population control, and reveling in the "fact" that there is no God and no such thing as objective morality; they eventually stomped out of the Association for Reproductive Rights to form their own group, which was a relief. I also met women who believed that all women should be lesbians who never engage in any penetrative activity because "all penetration is rape." Yowza. I felt like a moderate by comparison!
On the other hand, one of the first people I met at college was a Southern Baptist who was "conservative" in most ways but was angry to see a synagogue with a pro-Israel banner; he had a friend of Palestinian ancestry and understood that the Palestinians had some valid points, too, which was something I realized I'd never even considered. I had no idea how right-wing my view on the subject was until I met this right-winger whose view *on that* was to the left of mine. :-)
I wrote a guest post for Michelle DeRusha talking about How to Show Grace in Your Marriage, and loved the responses from her readers.
Jillie shared her much more experienced perspective:
Well, my first thought here, after 37 years of marriage, is that getting into an 'exchange' over unfed pets...just ain't worth it. How many times my husband and I have left the house 'slightly ticked off' with each other over one of these lesser issues. It only serves to put both of us on edge and feel a tad lousy toward one another. Then, at some point in the evening, one has to swallow pride and make the move to apologize. It's just way more work than it's worth, amen? It's taken me years, and I mean years, to figure out what's worth it and what isn't. Every single day we have opportunity to strike up a 'discussion' (or more than one) about something that’s upset us. It really is true that we must learn to pick our battles. And often we find, upon hindsight, that what cheesed us off, was really very minor to begin with. Showing grace and forgiveness is always the higher, and better road to take. Thanks Michelle, for introducing Jessica to us. This was good.
And Gaby got why this was so important:
I like this: "A lack of everyday grace can cause just as much damage to a relationship over time as one large act of betrayal." You know how if you put a rock under a dripping faucet, even that one drop of water every few second will erode the rock eventually? I think more marriages break up over the steady dripping that erodes the relationship than over one major betrayal or explosion. Most people understand that infidelity, for example, can destroy their marriage but they don't recognize the every day small things that brick by brick build a wall between them. Thank you for the reminder, Jessica.
The post that probably struck the biggest chord with you all this month was Does God Have One Right Job in Mind for Me?
Queen of Carrots said, in part:
You have put it very well here. I don't find it at all reassuring to think of God micromanaging my life, good, bad, and indifferent--more crazy-making, searching for meaning in every insignificant thing. How about, "You're a smart person and if you keep working at it, chances are, you'll find your niche." It doesn't have the fairy-tale ending, but it's *true.*
Rachel provided a larger view of God's plan:
I think there's a big difference between your vocation (what God is calling you to do with your life) and your job. I used to think they had to line up perfectly or my life would be less meaningful and less pleasing to God. Now, having been at a job that doesn't have much to do at all with my vocation for several years, I've realized that I can always pursue my vocation no matter what my job is, and that pretty much any job can help me learn skills that I can apply to my vocation.
God is with you, no matter how this shakes out. There's nowhere you can go to escape God, who is with you when things feel perfect and when they feel all wrong (to paraphrase Psalm 139:8).
And DarkLight pointed out some of the problems with this way of thinking:
This way of thinking also makes it a lot easier to lock ourselves into one path. If God has just the right job out there for you, will you consider staying home with kids, or going out on a mission field? If God has the perfect spouse out there, will you consider that marriage isn't everyone's path? And what do you do in the meantime - are you missing what you could be doing here and now while you're trying to find God's job or spouse or whatever for you? It's a dangerous business to put our hopes and dreams onto God's will.
I got a variety of reactions to Taking Affirmative Action on My Daily Reading, and appreciated Nikkiana's thoughts:
This is a really interesting exercise and one that I might take the time to try out (though, I follow so many people it might end up being an all day exercise... Eep!).
However, I do know that my reading within the past couple of years has diversified greatly, particularly along racial lines. I think largely because I now live in a neighborhood that's predominantly Latino and/or black, and finding myself living somewhere where I'm a part of the racial minority has ended up challenging a lot of the unconscious biases I've held.
I promise to mix up the topics a bit more as we move into August. Suggestions for things you'd like my thoughts on are always welcome!