I posted an item on my facebook profile earlier today.  It is an article on McCain’s VP choice with the headline “McCain’s Palin pick is the epitome of tokenism.”  (Read article here)

I have been fascinated by the responses to that facebook posting.  As of this writing there are more than 20 posts in response to it.  Each response makes serious claims about why the choice of Palin was absurd or brilliant.  The comments are mostly reasoned, certainly passionate, and very partisan.  One cannot read a single post without being able to identify the writer as “Democrat” or “Republican” (at least in allegiance).  In the words of one writer, “Game on!”

What I am mostly intrigued with, though, is that all of the people writing are FRIENDS of mine — at least Facebook friends.  A few are college classmates, a few are parishioners, a few are colleagues from around the Presbyterian Church.  I know it’s not unique to me, but what is it about REAL LIFE (at least MY life) that we find ourselves in communities with people of such widely differing opinions and convictions?

Here is my mid-stream post in the ongoing facebook conversation:

Jeff Peterson-Davis at 7:58pm August 30
Game is on, for sure, and I definitely have opinions and convictions that place me on one “side” in the game. More on that in a moment…

What is most surprising to me in the “experience” arguement is that it has NOT been an argument that the Democratic party has used — it has been an arguement from the McCain team. They have been critical of O… Read Morebama claiming that his experience is insufficient to run the country. To further make their point, McCain has, on the record, talked about how significant the role of VP is and to have someone ready to take on the leadership of the country if something should happen to him. That’s where the rub comes… McCain has made the “experience” arguement, not Obama. To lay this back in the laps of the democrats is, well, simply silly.

I personally think Obama has the qualifications to be President. I would not have voted for him if I didn’t (be he black, white, green…). I like most of his platform, I like his convictions, I like his charisma, and I like the depth of his experience. Yes, experience. Not executive, but community organizing and legislative. That matters to me.

But something else that matters to me (and this is back to the beginning) is that there is enough space within our political system and within our community of “friends” (you’re all posting here because you are my Facebook Friends, after all) to have differences of opinion and have convictions that are different from one another. In facebo… Read Moreok and real life, I have FRIENDS of many different political ideologies. I consider that a gift — my life, my mind, my heart are all richer because of it.

So thanks for being friends engaging in conversation with one another. These things matter. They really do. We SHOULD take them seriously and have strong feelings and thoughts about these things. And as FRIENDS we can engage one another with respect, love, and good will.

Peace, friends…

–Jeff P-D

Politics are important.  I am very Calvinist here — politics simply must matter to people of faith.  But along with that is the conviction and understanding that when we engage in politics and any matter over which our opinions differ, we do so from within the place of community.  Respect, love, and forbearance are more than words — they are practices for our life together, particularly when we disagree.

It is a gift, indeed, to be friends with people who care enough to think and engage.  I wonder if perhaps this diversity of opinion, not just diversity of ethnicity, gender, etc., might be part of the very image of God (in which we were created).  If we consider that possibility, I wonder how it might shape the ways we relate to one another when we disagree…

Of this I am certain:  we will have many opportunities in this political season to put this into practice!  I wonder if we will…

~ by Jeff P-D on August 30, 2008.

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