Searching for Connection in the Midst of Conflict

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I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of the politics of this year.

I’m exhausted from the continuous bickering turned bullying on social media. I connect with people to know their passions, to see their fur baby’s shenanigans, and hear the silliest thing their toddler has said today, I even want to see the amazing casserole they’ve made for dinner. I miss the days of finding the goldfish in a bubble bath and permanent marker masks drawn on faces. I live vicariously through other’s posts (because, well, Love is in the Poo).

What I don’t want in my Facebook feed are friends fighting because they don’t agree with bathroom policies or immigration. Debating is different, but the name calling has gotten ugly. And I’m hiding more people than I’d like to.

Love is my default. It’s not always easy, sometimes it’s a challenge to love the unloveable. Political rants and taking a stand for beliefs are not my issues, I love seeing people’s passion and learning what makes them tick. It’s the comments that destroy, it’s the tossing around of “you’re not a true Christian” and the hateful racist slurs.

Is it really possible to have close relationships with our sisters who have different thoughts on church and politics, different experiences with family, and different ways of talking about God? Where do we start?

I say, yes. I believe fully you do not have to share my political or religious beliefs to live in harmony with me, or even in deep fulfilling relationship. I’m searching for those connections. My inner circle is filled with women of all faiths and no faiths, agnostics and atheists challenge my thinking, and devout believers in other faiths inspire me to dig deeper as I explore the world I have been placed in.

Pamela Havey Lau wrote a beautiful book about women mentoring younger women,  A Friend in Me. She shares how together we can have a global impact – and experience a deeper faith than we’ve ever known. And we do not all have to be cookie cutters in our theology or our politics in order to achieve this. Iron sharpens iron. Opinions and healthy debate help us grow. Name-calling, attacking someone’s legitimacy to a religious group because of who they vote for and refusal to love those we are called to love does nothing but divide us.

I meet with a group of pastors every week that has helped me grow in my own faith. Our theology does not always line up, but there is space for that. There is space for each of us to grow in our faith and our understanding of religious texts. We meet and discuss politics, social justice and Scripture over eggs and coffee. We enjoy each other’s company in the midst of debating gun control, bathrooms and presidential candidates. I have yet to witness a conversation where we were all in agreement and yet I cherish and look forward to our moments together. Democrat, Republican, gay, straight, liberal and conservative come together and discuss how to make the world a better place.

So today I’m turning off my media and taking the kids to the pool to enjoy the desert heat and the today that we live in. We are off to find some friends, ones that I don’t know where they stand on anything, but over time will discover and become a better person myself for the discovering.

When tensions are high and the mud is being slung, can we still find a way to connect?Click To Tweet
Hope N. Griffin

Hope N. Griffin

Hope, author of "Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me A Better Wife," is a military spouse and the mother of three children. She has an MABS from Dallas Theological Seminary and is the Director of Family Ministries at First Presbyterian Church in El Paso, TX.
Hope N. Griffin
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