This week Rachel Held Evans is hosting an online “Rally to Restore Unity” (I have a link to info on it in the far right column). Her post today is a roundtable on unlikely friendships where several folks talk about good friends they have who hold very different views than themselves. That post is what got me thinking about the friends in my life. These were my thoughts:
Well, I have pretty strong opinions. This means that I disagree with pretty much everyone on something. To be completely honest, it surprises me that anyone would want to be my friend. Not just because I disagree with people but because I am kind of a jerk about it. Just ask my wife. She has to kick me under the table to get me to shut-up pretty frequently when we are having dinner with friends. There are still people, in spite of my opinionated and argumentative ways, that love me and consider me a friend. Those people are really nice.
For me, if someone wants to be my friend, that is enough for me to be their friend. I don’t have a problem with them not agreeing with me on pretty much any topic. I like to disagree with people, I like to debate with people, and when it gets down to it I really just like to argue. Politics and theology are obviously really easy topics to argue about. I have strong (and generally unpopular) views in both. I like it that way. Some people don’t. Probably a lot of people don’t.
Disagreeing makes a lot of people uncomfortable, uneasy, and unhappy. I’m sure that my antagonistic and argumentative attitude has led some of my friends to feel those things, but, for some reason, they keep being my friends. Like I said, they are nice. So, instead of trying to list all the friends I have who are either too fundamentalist for my taste, or too liberal for my taste, or too left wing or right wing, or believe in the rapture, or man’s free will, or like blue kool-aid instead of the obviously superior red variety, I just want to say thanks to everyone who is patient and kind and loving and understanding enough to stay friends with me in spite of my arrogant argumentative attitude. I’m sure it takes a lot.