Isn't anyone else tired of the merry-go-round that constantly spins faster and faster with fear as the fuel and accusation as the handles to hold onto? When did we lose the ability to have a conversation, express opinions? When did we have to start to fear that our very thinking would be challenged while we are maybe still trying to work out exactly what to believe, sometimes even legally?
I had a fantastic statistics teacher. I was terrible at statistics as I didn't understand them. I always saw different patterns and outcomes and it wasn't until later in the course that we learned a lot about how to really manipulate data using different mathematical means to present the image that we wanted people to see from the numbers. This didn't make me a conspiracy theorist but it did teach me to really look at published research and see how they used data and what kind of data was used. I worked as a TA at university and was helping my psych professor with a research project that was to be published. This process again highlighted how data isn't so black and white. The same raw information that is factual can be presented in different manners to support various angles. This isn't to point fingers at any one group but to say, statistics are not always as they seem. We all (usually) agree that we already see things biased from media of different sources. This opens up an interesting conversation then in my mind.
If numbers aren't quite so black and white (on any side of any issue anywhere) and the media is not unbiased how can mere bloggers and average Americans understand so clearly what researchers don't even agree on?
My heart has been so sad lately as I see post after post ranting and raving against all of the "uneducated, ignorant, selfish parents who irrationally fear autism and don't vaccinate their children." These posts break my heart as dear sisters in Christ promote their own views by what they post. These same ladies are some of the gentlest most Jesus-loving women I know. And yet, they are agreeing and even promoting incredibly damaging viewpoints against other dear sisters in Christ. I'm not sad because I'm anti-vaccine (I'm not). I'm sad because the articles they are agreeing with and promoting do nothing to build up the body. I know incredibly educated, intelligent, professional people who have given up a secure life of corporate success to serve others who choose not to vaccinate their children. I also know parents who choose to vaccinate and whom many would call incredibly ignorant, selfish and irrationally afraid parents. The damage comes when we point fingers out of fear and judgement instead of conversing and seeking to understand each other. When we don't actually talk about the issue but promote posts that use inflammatory language on either side of an issue, we are doing more damage and causing more division than helping. When we post articles where the author is so angry at the other side that she/he is wishing terrible evil and harm befall the other side, what does this say about our own hearts? Once again as followers of Christ, we are sucked into a brutally ugly cultural clash and that is what the world sees. They don't see Christ in staking your place far from the grid, far from vaccines, far from big government. They see crazy and judge accordingly. They also don't see Christ in promoting hate-filled language against others just because of different choices, different data usage, different experiences. They just see angry judgmental people. Neither of these inspire people to follow Christ. They inspire followers of fear and hatred.
I'm sure there are men who post on these topics as well. However, I notice the mommy wars and how ugly they have gotten and how far beyond just comparing kids these wars have gone. So to my dear sisters, please, let's engage in intelligent conversation where we seek to understand and hear each other. We will not agree on a lot of points but we can disagree with passion and grace if we allow Christ to reign instead of fear. And we can still love each other and pray for each other fiercely. Our battle shouldn't be against each other but against the evil powers of darkness. Other people are not the enemy so let's collectively gather our weapons and stand side by side instead of massacring our own, our sisters, our friends, our family. Lay down fear and pick up compassion!