In many of my posts dealing with homeschooling, public schools, family “planning”, and a dozen other things, I’ve had the gall to say “this is right, and this is wrong.” I then try to back my thinking up with something like a rational, Biblical argument. I do this because I believe some things, and this blog helps me work out those things, while also encouraging others who may have the same ideas. Blogging has the added advantage of comment sections where these things can be further hashed out and knocked about by passersby. I like that. I assume you (to some extent) appreciate that, too, or you wouldn’t be here.
There is one kind of comment I get, though, that adds nothing to the conversation, but reveals much about the way people–mostly women–think about these things. I won’t quote anybody specific, out of respect for their obvious aversion to argument, but the song and dance goes something like this:
I completely agree with what you’re saying. You’re RIGHT. But you need to shut up, because nobody will ever listen to you as long as you’re making it so plain. You’re too blunt. You’re too sure of yourself. I don’t like you very much when you lay it right out there like that. Even though you’re right.
Now, this kind of reaction from people who disagree with me, I would kind of expect. (Except for the part about me being right, of course.) When you either don’t have an argument, or can’t stand the thought of trying to make one, hurling a “shut up” and then running away is probably a very emotionally satisfying experience. But from people who say they agree, I can only think of two possible reasons for it. Either you are a) a coward, or b) a manipulative person who prefers to try to trick people into coming around to seeing things her way. A third option might be that you don’t care very much about the issue, but then, why try to shut me up, instead of just shrugging and moving on?
Readers, especially those of you who disagree with me, or who do, but wish I wouldn’t say this stuff out loud, I need you to know some things:
I tell what I think is the truth because I respect you. Unlike my occasional wishy-washy correspondent paraphrased above, I believe that, if what I am saying is the truth, you can handle it. Not only do I believe that you can handle hearing the other side of something we disagree on, I believe that you have the brains and gumption to figure out what to do with it, should you become convinced of my point of view.
I will not try to manipulate you (as I’ve seen many homeschool bloggers do) by reiterating ad nauseum in every hard-hitting blog post that I write how I think it is perfectly ok for you to ignore what I say, or that I’m sure that what you’re doing is right “for your family,” so please don’t be mad at me for believing some things. *sniff*
Better is open rebuke than hidden love. Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy. Proverbs 27:5-6
I trust that you are grown up enough to understand that I can think that you are wrong without also thinking that you’re any worse a person, parent, or Christian than I am. It would be cowardice for me to never try to convince you to see my point of view because I’d rather get comments about how awesome and wonderful a person I am. But worse than that, it would be an insult to your intelligence. You. Can. Handle. Disagreement.
You can! How condescending these people are, who think that they are so special to have grasped this truth, but that you should be sheltered from it for the sake of your fragile ego!
Reader, I respect you enough to believe that, if we were to meet on the street, you would be able to separate our disagreements from your personal feelings toward me, as reasonable adults who talk about important things ought to be able to do. For those of you who are also in Christ, I respect you enough to say what I think our faith demands of us, and I trust that you will know that I believe that we are still fully brothers in spite of any disagreements.
My friends, many of whom very much disagree with me, know what I think about these things, read this blog, and still love me and know that I love them. This is in spite of the fact that I think that what our nation does with its children–from pre-conception to graduation– is a big mistake, and that they are participating in this mistake.
I tell what I think is the truth because I respect the truth. I cannot say what I believe to be true while also saying “but if you don’t believe this, that is totally ok, and I hope you’ll continue in your error because that is obviously what makes you happy.” This is what my detractors would have me do, not because it makes any sense whatsoever, but because they don’t want anybody to be mad at them. They want me to believe that you can simultaneously lull people to sleep with comforting words and somehow still convince them that they need to make a course correction–the kind of correction that is often uncomfortable, inconvenient, and unpopular.
If you get mad at me, I do not like it. I’m not a sociopath. I don’t like it when people don’t like me. But I care what the truth is more. Your good will is not more important to me than the truth. I didn’t start this blog to make friends. I started it to refine and spread my ideas.
(Oh, wait. I started this blog because I snagged a really cool domain name, and it just sort of snowballed from there. But you get what I mean.)
I won’t pull punches just because the person on the other side of things might not like it. Whether you agree or disagree, you are welcome here, but not at the expense of honest discussion.
I tell what I think is the truth because I want to know better what the truth is. While I don’t spend a whole lot of time hemming and hawing about what I think, I’m aware that I don’t know everything. That is another reason that I need to say exactly what I think, without regard to a reader’s likely reaction to it. How in the world can you challenge me, if I’m always defending, not my point, but my image? How can iron sharpen iron if we’re always scared of clashing?
And finally, I tell what I think is the truth because I love you as fellow believers and fellow Americans. I believe that what the commenters who provoked this post are often saying is that disagreement is too uncomfortable, so let’s just all have our own idea of what the truth is. They’d be happy to let everybody else go to hell in a hand-basket if that’s what they feel like doing. Maybe the result won’t be so good for those who disagree with us, but at least they’ll think we like them!
Well, I do like you. I like you enough to warn you about the path you’re on. I love you enough to make you mad if necessary.
When I see people continuing to make the same mistakes that our society has been making for generations–mistakes that have led us to what nearly all of us agree is a sorry condition for both nation and Church to be in–it would be emotionally easier for me to just let it roll off my back and ignore it all. It would be natural for me to put my head down and try not to rock the boat. After all, this is just the way things are for most people. I’m the minority. I’m the vulnerable one, frankly, not you who disagree.
But I love you, and I want you to understand the mistakes that have been made. We’ve been trained to believe a lot of wrong things, and there is simply no way I can help correct that wrong thinking without also upsetting the people whose lives are built on it.
Much harm comes from not being corrected. Children who should be here–millions of them–don’t exist, either never conceived or murdered, because of what we’ve been taught about birth control and the meaning of human life. The children of Christians are growing up under the tutelage of the secular state, instead of their loving parents and churches. Our nation is in one of the darkest, scariest financial times it has ever seen. While we are still comfortable on borrowed money, there’s a horrific crash coming, and it is directly related to the way we think about these things.
I don’t believe that it is too late to change our course, but it certainly would be if I (and others who do the same thing I’m doing) refused to speak up because we’re more interested in making people like us than telling the truth.