I’m a little bummed that I started my blog to late to actually write about the recent election. It would have been fun to write about voting as subversion, how we form our values, and Christian involvement in the political scene. This recent election has been especially interesting from a personal perspective. I recently moved to Seattle from Anchorage, Alaska. It has been a little odd to move from a state that would identify itself as “conservative” to a city that would probably identify itself as “progressive” (though I think they should reclaim the word, “liberal”). Neither side really understands the other.
It is pretty interesting to listen to the various media outlets try to get into the roots of the tea party or the liberal agenda. It seems that with all of the reporting of origins and agendas that the two sides would understand each other pretty well. However the truth is that they understand each other less. Every movement is made up of people and people are complicated. They believe one thing and do another, or they might interpret the same thing hundreds of different ways based on their unique histories. People are more than what they claim to believe.
Knowing about an ideology does not help you know people. Ideologies are abstractions; people are reality. Communication happens when people move past ideology and into each other’s reality. Kosuke Koyama calls this “neighborology.”
Unfortunately, our society is designed for people to form their own reality. We live with people like ourselves, we watch what we want, we learn from what we want, and we listen to whom we want. There is no shared reality.
This is not an option for Christians. We are strangers in this world. We are God’s ambassadors. For us to carry out our assignment, i.e. proclaiming his reign, we have to move into our neighbor’s reality. Our mission is too important to worry about being right… we are called to “be right.” Knowing about “others” does not equal knowing others. When we think we know about people, we often stop knowing them, and then can never really love them.