Chik-Fil-A be warned. Standing in the Legion of Honor, a stunning collection of art in a beautiful building with a world class view of the Golden Gate, I got to listen to three students discuss the chicken company. One of them was being offered a job (“Can you believe it?”) in social media and networking when some other person was the intended recipient.
“I think I will take it just to . . . ” she said loudly and then I lost the rest since I did not mean to overhear. In this room full of Dresden china, the conversation was shattering when heard because it was ugly and clueless. “When I am done, they will be . . . ” and it went on in a rant about wrecking and a joyful, confrontational firing.
“How could anyone oppose marriage equality,” one said, “it’s so stupid. Nobody is being forced to get married. Nobody is being harmed.” They had forgotten, I think, the previous conversation about wrecking and harming at Chik-Fil-A.
But this post is not really about marriage, but about the bubble those girls occupied. They had obviously never met an intelligent theist, heard a sound argument for marriage, or had anyone challenge their morality. For it was morality that mattered, whether it was the morality of fussing with a company they hated or sex or marriage.
They lived in a Northern California bubble. Nobody needs to remind me that Christians can live in a bubble, though if you love art, theater, and music as I do, “bubble living” as a traditional Christian is impossible. You hear many conversations like this one with the knowledge that in this space, their opinions were privileged. They could shout their disdain for my religion, but I could not shout a similar conversation.
As if I wanted to do so, when I was trying to let the artists of the china speak over time and teach me something. Thinking about politics, the ethics of marriage, or even bubbles was wrong. I was glad to be silenced.
I wanted to meditate on a krater in the hallway and so I left. The hateful speech continued down the hall. What did I learn?
I learned to love my enemies and try to understand what they were saying. I remembered being that age and being certain of things that I should have more carefully considered. Mostly, my desire was to break down every bubble in my life and love the beauty in front of me including the beauty of the image of God in those young students.
Judging? I knew what I thought about their “arguments,” but this thinking was distracting me from beauty. Those thoughts had to go and they went. Suddenly, those students seemed students, not opponents in a culture war. I pitied their education and prayed for them and moved on. They were wrong, but it was not my business (oh arrogant thought!) to straighten them out. They were God’s and nothing in their lives was my business.
I submitted myself to beauty, order, morality, and broke down another bubble in my life. This process did not reduce my commitment to morality, to marriage, and to justice, but it did bring humility, a sense of minding my own business, and loving my “enemies.”
I will not cease from mental fight, nor let the sword rest in my hand, but with the knowledge that my battle is not against people, but ideas, powers, and principalities. Devils are my target, not folk.
God help me, I saw beauty today in souls created in God’s image, so much His, that shouted error and ugliness could not overwhelm. The china is fragile, His image is not.