Taking Sides

In a prayer that Dr. Rev. Arleen Bump said last Sunday, she said, “In a world that is round, it doesn’t make sense to take sides.” This was beautiful and metaphoric, all at the same time! But, exactly does it mean? Is it possible to NOT take sides or have an opinion? In taking sides are we judging unfairly? These are all questions that come up for me with this statement.

How many times in life have you been hurt by people taking sides? I know that, often, in break-ups, friends usually end up moving to one side or to another. This happens in so many instances I can remember in my life and with acquaintances. Taking sides just doesn’t make sense, yet, we do it all the time. We are always on one side or the other. Staying in the middle seems to be an impossible place to balance.

We are either a democrat or a republican. We are either religious or atheist. We are hot or cold. Enjoy meat or are a vegetarian. Love politics or hate it. Taking sides is just part of life. However, I also know a few people who kind of stay in the middle. “I’m a vegetarian five days a week, but eat meat on the weekends.” “I generally always vote as a Democrat, but every once in a while, I’ll switch sides.” “I love women, but sometimes I want to be with a man.” Most of us feel these people can’t make up their minds. Is it imperative to live on one side or the other?

What does not having an opinion actually feel like? Can we sit with no judgment for anything and actually be a creative and strong voice?

I’m one of those people who have always felt as if fighting over an opinion is a useless waste of time. Yet, I’m also one of those gay people who are happy that the strong opinions of the right wing have been somewhat tamped down by the gay rights movement, so that marriage is now a possibility for me. So, sitting in the middle can’t really make change, can it? If we didn’t have people with strong opinions fighting those other strong opinions would there be balance?

In this prayer, Dr. Arleen, seems to believe that a way exists to not take sides. So, I’ve taken some time to see if I can actually live in a world with no sides. Can I spend even 24 hours not judging others or myself? Can I sit in the middle of an argument and not choose a side?

Let’s all take a day to see who we could be if we didn’t waste our energy taking sides. If we simply stopped judging all that goes on and believe everything has a reason to exist, would we—could we—continue to live in freedom? Would choosing no sides free our mind enough to become one with Creator God, who takes, perhaps, the side of love? I’m ready to see!

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