Warning: I'm going to use the "G" word.
A friend of mine wrote a blog post recently about letting your Jersey out, and she included me because she knows I tend to be soft spoken and I tend to hold my feelings inside. She did good. It was a well written, well thought out summary of her beliefs. She challenged others to state their beliefs as clearly. I read the post and then walked away from the computer to think for a while, because my friend and I disagree on about half of the things that she feels are important in life. We don't just disagree a little, we disagree so strongly that...well, when I actually express my beliefs I usually put a warning note on the top of the post so she and others like her can skip it.
When I was in college, two of the gang we hung out with fell madly in love. They were inseparable. They were passionate. Another friend turned to me and said, "Love is disgusting on other people."
It so happened that today I am wearing one of my very few opinionated T-shirts. It says, "One Nation Under God," and is a sentiment I hold dear to my heart. As I walked through the grocery store, I found myself wondering if the people in the store thought as my friend does. They probably do, since the modern-day media has worked so hard to portray Christians a wackos, the American equivalent of radical Islamic terrorists. What were the people thinking of me when they looked at me so strangely? (Other than: "why is that fat woman even trying to wear a T-shirt???")
The problem is, while my friend -- who I DO consider a friend -- has never met God, I am in the middle of a love-affair with Him. It's personal. It isn't something I talk about often. I don't go around telling people who disagree with me that they're wrong, or stupid, or trying to kill them. Because in that we do agree. I don't think that's at all what my Lover wants from me. What He does ask of me is...everything. Every breath that I take. My friend sees God as someone distant from this world, uninvolved, not taking sides, while I see Him actively at work in every aspect of my day. I'm pretty sure that love-affair looks mighty strange from the outside.
I can't even be embarassed over how this looks to her, because I am caught up in this passionate adventure. I can only say that I live in a different world than she does. To me, the Earth is the center of a massive battle that started before creation. A galactic power struggle is underway, and in the middle of this giant battle is not some little race of ants that the powers fight over; no -- in the middle is the jewel of God's creation, His greatest accomplishment: mankind. Humanity: each one unique, each one priceless, each one worth more to Him than His own life. He had such grand dreams for them, but on one facet of their being He prided Himself--this was what made each of them a treasure. He felt that each of those precious creatures should have free will: the ability to choose sides, make decisions, indulge in all of the passions and the beauty of the universe. Without free will, how would humanity ever be able to truly engage in a love affair with God? Love can not be forced or coerced!
Satan used that free will to twist the universe, creating a battlefield riddled with hurt and bleeding humans. He doesn't care what damage his ideas cause, as long as they draw people away from God. He will say anything -- as the father of lies -- and twist truth with a finesse of skill exceeding the most deft orb weaver. He intertwines truth with lies, and his greatest delight is to convince humans to blame God for his schemes. He delights in getting us caught up in the irrelevant battles of right and wrong, pitting humans against each other over petty differences in choices that they make, especially when he can twist those arguments and turn more and more people against God.
My friend, reading this, will be horrified and see me as shockingly narrow-minded. It is OK. It is what I believe. You asked. I am not quiet because I am ashamed of what I believe. I am quiet because I respect you and your right to believe as you do, even when we disagree. To me, you are that bright creation that my lover so deeply longs for. May I never do or say anything that drives you from any chance of some day knowing Him. I will not disrespect Him - or you - by trying to intervene in your free will to choose your own path.
I suspect this is why they put Jersey barriers down the middle of major thoroughfares, because when two people are going in very different directions -- well, it's best not to run head-long into each other! This way, we can both accept each other's views. We don't have to agree, but we do need to remember not to run over each other in the process.