Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Feeling contentious

I'm itchin' for a fight. Seriously. I want to have an argument. I never get to have arguments. C and I never fight. My serious discussions with my friends sound like this: "I hear your thoughts about that and I just have a concern . . ." and "I don't disagree with you but I see this one thing differently" and "I see your point and I'm just wondering . . . " We're just so darned nice.

I want to have a knock-down-drag-out debate with points and counterpoints. I want to vigorously defend my point of view from a totally polarized position without having to think about the merits of your point of view. I don't want to see the other side. I don't want to have empathy for my opponent. I just want to slug it out and let the best (wo)man win. I want my opponent to be a worthy adversary. And when the fight is over, I want to go out for milkshakes.

As a moderate who tips progressive and who goes to a Baptist church in the south, I know there are lots and lots of people I love who disagree with me. Of course, they have no idea. They like me, so they assume I am like them. And I don't disabuse them of this idea. Sometimes I say, with a smile, "I see that differently." They blink, startled, and then go on with their thoughts. No one has yet asked me to explain. I don't even offer that much when I know there is no chance for real dialogue. I just steer clear. Usually that works for me. I'm not a person who seeks out conflict--in fact, it makes me sick to my stomach.

I guess what's got this bee in my bonnet is Facebook. These past few weeks, I have learned that my friends think I am a fascist, a false Christian, a diabolical liar or a sheep (take your pick.) They don't know they think that about me but I know. And I want to defend myself. And I want to experience the exhileration of a spirited debate and still be friends at the end. I just don't think that's possible anymore.


KKumahata said...

This is why I stopped blogging. The things I want or need to blog about aren't nice - the trials of adoptive parenting, exploring other Christian traditions, my crazy parents. My 'friends' would be horrified. I don't mean I wear mask in life, I just quietly live, listening to others and sharing when safe or when the other party is really interested. That's not very often.

My hubby and I have very little in common with the people we go to church with or work with, politically, parenting style, or even TV shows!

Hmm, I'll bet you and I could disagree and still go out for milkshakes - on a non fasting day for orthodox of course. : )

pb said...

I understand your frustration, but here's the upside - by your nonconfrontational,rational approach you actually have tremendous influence on some of us right leaners. I am never swayed by liberals who scream just as loudly as the Religous Right, but you often help me consider aspects of a position that have never before crossed my mind. Because I trust who you are, I am comfortable listening to what you say. And if it would help, you can yell at me whenever you like.

Matt Rosine said...

I really appreciate this, T. And I just found this link today...which offers a different perspective :)