2016 has been an interesting year for me. It’s one in which I’ve experienced tons of personal growth, but have also witnessed (or at least, become conscious of) a lot more complexity to the universe. I started a podcast with some friends in what initially seemed like a nonchalant venture into the public (albeit it small) eye. It turned into a real surprise of difficulty, hilarity, and controversy. As we have delved into issues, I’ve realized that there’s a lot more to some of these topics than I thought. Maybe that’s part and parcel of maturation, but all the issues of the world seem suddenly more pressing and less black and white. I was raised with what I consider to be traditional conservative political values, and like many people who grow up with a rational worldview, I never really questioned my perspective. For whatever myriad reasons (the election, the disaster in Syria, me turning 27, the podcast, or anything else that happened this year), I have suddenly found myself ideologically opposed to many of the things I condoned.
On the one hand, it’s frustrating and a little disconcerting. While the metamorphosis of my values (political in the majority) is not in itself earth-shattering, the idea that my ideas change is a little crazy. We all grow up with the idea that we know stuff, and that we’re right about the stuff we know. And when we know more stuff and change our minds about what that stuff means, that shift seems to unearth terrible possibilities (Might I one day become a Communist?!). Yet on the other hand, it’s a relief. Change is actually possible, and usually it is always a positive, despite our reluctance to experience it. Knowing that I am being transformed on many different levels is actually very encouraging, even if the path is always taking blind turns.
Thus it has been a privilege for me to participate in a podcast where my mutable opinions can be voice, and yes, challenged. Controversy is a thing I’ve never fully embraced, but I feel like this is a great platform for it. I have seen what happens when real differences in belief are handled poorly, and the results break my heart. When our highest calling as followers of Jesus is to build a church body like a family, the petty divisiveness and cold-shouldering that so easily crops up when its parts disagree is a serious shame. I shudder to be a party to that. Yet growth cannot take place without change, and change cannot take place when we refuse to move. While I have seen the devastation of disagreement, I have also seen the flourish of diversity by it. When the church is called biblically to unity, it is not to uniformity that we aspire. All of us have different parts and functions and thoughts. The beauty of communion is that we who speak, love, break, and grieve differently than each other come together under the singular name of Jesus.
So is 2016 the stupidest year ever? It’s highly unlikely. Even if it might rank low on the list, I think there is a lot of positive that will result because of it. That’s the only conclusion this post can get, I’m afraid, because I really had no central theme to harken back to. Thank you, dear listener, for journeying with Bobby and me. For letting new ideas inspire you, for deconstructing bad ones, or for hearing us wade through territory you may have covered long ago. It is, ultimately, for the glory of God.