I have purposely stayed away from delving into political ideologies in this format for personal reasons, but I could not help but be amused this morning by something I saw on facebook. The social networking site duly noted today that 18 of my friends are fans or in facebook terms “like” Barack Obama. Right under that announcement it is also noted that 27 of my friends “like” Glenn Beck. My left brained associates would be quick to say that I obviously have more facebook friends who have a conservative bent politically. But I see it differently.
I could not help but laugh for a moment regarding the extremes in my friendship base. But my thoughts soon traveled in a more serious direction. I value the people I consider close friends. And they are sure enough diverse politically. They are equally varied religiously. Some of them are enough to be my mom or dad. Others could be my children. I have friends that are cotton farmers in West Texas and others who call Wisconsin home. Some of my dearest friends live in Mexico.
In describing this reality, I realize I am not a typical minister. I have a hunch that a number of my colleagues associate primarily with their church members. I don’t think it is healthy spiritually or emotionally to associate exclusively with people who just like us. What a travesty it would be if all of my friends were of the same race, same age, and even of the same nationality. I would miss out on so much.
The facebook political “likes” of my friends was an important wake up call to me this morning. I have learned so much from my wide array of personal connections. My Mexican friends have forced me to learn Spanish. What a blessing! My young friends are teaching me to communicate more effectively in post-modern vernacular. (They also keep me up to speed on the latest and greatest in technology.) My older friends keep me rooted. And my peers are sharing such a similar journey. They provide needed empathy.
My message to all us today is simple: don’t be afraid to branch out. Make friends with people from all walks of life. Befriend the younger ones. And don’t neglect to reach out to the older crowd. They are a lot of fun too. Jump over the foolish relational barriers that we construct in our narrow minds. And above all don’t let political leanings impede potentially great relationships. That is my political tirade for the day!