This essay is a companion to my previous one entitled I’m Listening... I hope you’ll read that one first. That’s how I developed them and that’s how my thinking is moving.
I want to listen first. I want to understand. I want to find the common ground that we can both share and protect and develop. I want to be your neighbor and your brother and your friend. But there are limits. There are principles I’m not willing to give up just so we can get along. Some we might share, some not. I want to respect you, even when we disagree. Especially then. Here’s what you are going to need to respect about me.
I believe in a Creator who values love over fear, sacrifice over selfishness, compassion over pride, choice over coercion, dignity over shame, forgiveness over punishment, and giving over taking. I believe in a Redeemer who modeled a way of life that could bring about a more perfect world if we had the courage to imitate him. I believe in the counseling presence of a Spirit whose guidance and continuing revelation never abandons anyone, no matter how hopelessly lost they might feel or appear to be.
I believe in Human Rights that no government has the authority to take away. That people have the right to lives that are as rich and healthy as it is possible for anyone to be. That they ought to be free to choose their religion, their ideas, their profession, and their home without interference from anyone. That insofar as they do not harm to their neighbors, people are entitled to the opportunity to be happy. To choose who they love. Where they find entertainment and recreation. How they express themselves. Who their friends are. How they treat their own bodies. And I believe that when these rights are threatened by governments, corporations, public groups, or private individuals, people are entitled to defense and protection.
I believe we are stewards of this planet and everything on it. That the earth and its resources are not ours to destroy, but are our inheritance and our legacy. That every living thing has a role and a dignity that deserve our respect and if necessary, our protection. That abuse of the environment is an offense against our creator, our neighbors, and ourselves.
I believe that everyone gets it wrong sometimes. That you life ought to reflect what you believe, but what you believe may not determine how I live my life. That everyone has something to teach us. That Truth is revealed in many ways to many different people. That we can always do better.
We can disagree. We can split hairs. We can show off, hurt each other’s feelings, cut one another slack, and find ways to settle for less than we wish we could get. But these are the boundaries I’m not going to cross.
Now let’s start building bridges.