Opinions

While spending time with my FEMA Corps team, Ocean 7, we spent several hours one day talking about and discussing the Ten Lenses of Diversity.  The article we were discussing stated that each of us interpret society through one or more of these lenses.  We worked our way through Assimilationist, Colorblindness, Culturalcentrist, Elitist, Integrationist, Meritocratist, Multiculturalist, Seclusionist, Transcendent, and finally Victim/Caretaker.

The conversations became intense at times and my team discovered something interesting about me; I have the unique ability to see both sides of an argument and accept their beliefs, even if I do not personally believe it myself.  In our discussion of Seclusionists, the Mennonite and Amish communities came up and members of my team became frustrated that I could defend their stance, even if I didn’t believe in it myself.

The trick isn’t arguing for arguments sake, but to train your mind to learn and acknowledge other points of view that are different from your own.  You do not necessarily  have to accept them as your own, but you have to accept the truth that they are out there.

My team would tell you that I am one of the most frustrating individuals to argue with.  I play the devils advocate and pick at both sides and many people don’t know where exactly I stand on issues when it comes to debates and intellectual conversations.  Many times, I do this on purpose.

My faith is my creed.  I feel very strongly about issues, but I understand that God calls me to love first and foremost.  I don’t let people know my opinions, not because I don’t want to convince people of what is important to me, but because in doing so would inhibit me from loving to the fullest.

In seeing and acknowledging both sides of an issue, I understand that it is no longer about me and my opinions.  Be it the issue of abortion, gun control, gay rights and marriage, or the global presence of a single nation whose troops are spread across the world (all of which I have strong opinions about) it isn’t my purpose to convert people to my point of view.

In my faith (and religion), God called us to spread the word and make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).  We have been called to love and teach, but learn how to trust in God to change the hearts of others.  I cannot convert anyone, I can only be a catalyst through my words and actions so that God can change the hearts of others.

With this same philosophy I approach the delicate and volatile issues of our society.  All I can do is love those around me and live my life as a beacon for all those I come in contact with.

Do I mind if people know my beliefs and opinions on everything?  Not at all.  I just don’t see why it is relevant.  My opinions are my own, I wont force them onto someone else.

With Seclusionists, I understand the need to preserve ones culture and society.  I don’t let my  own experiences with the multicultural of travel and missions that have shaped me to be who I am force my hand to say that someone else is wrong.  Even if I believe that there are better options, it’s not my place to say someone else’s beliefs are wrong.

Just some thoughts and a rant…

God Bless and PEACE

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