Thursday, October 24, 2013

Warning:  There is absolutely no wisdom to be found in this blog whatsoever.  There are no points.  IF you require well thought out, nuggets of truth, I have none.  You may want to turn around now.

Recently, I got into my VERY FIRST Facebook fight.  

I'm not proud of it.

In fact, despite the host of instant messages I received from friends the next day stating "I'm so sorry I missed that!"  - I would place it among one of the most absurd things I've done to date.  And, well, those who've known me longest will know that says a lot.  I've done some absurd things.  My desire to protect the underdog aside, it was still lame.

When two people argue on Facebook, the bystanders can fall into one of three categories (I'd love to know if you think there are more).

Remember, I say this with humor's just my opinion...

Category 1
You are among those in Category 1 if you are generally not given to internet intimidation are delighted to join in the argument.  You can't even help yourself really!  With glee and an OH GOODY attitude you jump in with both feet to the defense of whichever party you deem most worthy.  If you have the time, you'll stay in the fight to the bitter end.  And, when your head hits the pillow at night, you'll feel satisfied, like it was time well spent.  I admit to doing this on some of your threads when I didn't know the person you were arguing with.  :)

Category 2
You are among those in Category 2 if you ARE opinionated in real life, however, for some reason, you suffer from internet intimidation. You tread lightly.  But, you do tread.  You attempt to diffuse the situation by making light.  A funny comment.  Maybe it contains an element of truth, but not what you're really thinking.  You passive aggressive people know who you are.  I respect you.  Because, well, I am you.

Category 3
You are among those in Category 3, if you'd never even THINK about commenting.  It's your worst nightmare.  So, you remain a looker...a lurker.  You read the fight but you wouldn't DARE comment.  You shake your head and wonder why people even bother having impassioned conversation via the internet when sarcasm font hasn't even been invented yet.  You feel these conversations are best done in person (if had at all) because then people can really "hear your heart". Bless you.  You may prove to be the wisest of us all...

I made someone mad.

I'd like to say that I didn't mean too.  But truth be told, I knew she'd be annoyed with any "disagreeable" statement I made and well, I shamelessly plunged ahead laying my thoughts right on out there.  People, that's what's commonly referred too as "picking a fight".

A friend messaged me afterwards:

"Right when I wanted to comment on your controversial post, you delete it!  That normally doesn't happen on your wall!"

My friend is category 1.

I admit to her, "It does happen in my real life though."

I'm category 2.

When my head hit my pillow that night, I told myself I wouldn't think about it.  The other person would get over it.

But, when I woke up at 4am, I was thinking about it.

I lay there listening to Billy's strong heart beating, and I prayed...

My conversation with God went something like this...

I choose to forgive.
I don't want to ruminate about this in my head.
She's been hurt by life.
She'll get over it.  Or...maybe she won't.
I choose to forgive.
I'm naive when it comes to people.  Naivety is bad.  Or, is it good?
Why do things like this surprise me?  Shock me even?
I don't want to over exaggerate this, make a lot of statements that aren't true.
I choose to forgive.

About this time, a thought popped into my head.  A statement that's come out of my mouth a million times.  And, I will admit to the world, I believe it to be true.


For my non church going friends, I will try to limit my churchy vocab, but I need to explain this in particular to you.  I believe that along side my own mind, will and emotions, the Spirit of God lives within me.  I believe I am able, at times, to sense His leading, His voice.

In that moment, I understood the following more clearly...

In the above statement, I, Shanna Touchton Ramsdell, am a part of "All People."


We have all experienced hurt.
We, all broken, working through something.
All having to over come something.
All, our natural tendency is to judge quickly.
We all feel entitled, if to nothing more than our rightful opinion.

My father was a Southern Baptist Pastor.  When it came to being Southern Baptist, I "married out" so to speak.  Once, after visiting our NOT SOUTHERN BAPTIST church, my dad felt the need to comment, "Charismatic people feel like they are better because they believe in speaking in tongues."  

I nodded to my father agreement.  Then I said, "Baptists feel like they are better because they don't believe in speaking in tongues."

He considered.  Then, he nodded in agreement.

People are essentially the same.

You are right because you homeschool.
Ironically, your neighbor feels right because they do not.

You are right because you'd NEVER allow your kids to Trick or Treat.
Ironically, your neighbor feels right because they do (and on top of that they feel
 sorry for your kids).

You feel right because you eat healthy.  You'd never let a Krispie Kreme doughnut touch your gut.
Billy feels right because well, KK is where "dreams come true and the magic happens."  He speculates he's happier than you are.

You are right because you hate Joel Osteen.  He could not POSSIBLY be making ANY contribution to the Body of Christ.  You dislike him, because you read that one article on Facebook by John Piper.  Or wait, there was also that other article that  you "shared".  The one where Joel "infers" "indirectly".  And, besides John Piper sits closest to your side of the denominational line, so God obviously sides with him too.  After all, your side has the right hand on Biblical doctrine.

It's ok.  I get you.  I really do.  


Shanna, have you ever read any of his writings?  No.  Have you ever sat under his teaching, consistently for ANY amount of time.  No.  Care to know anymore about him?  No.  Already decided he has contributed NOTHING to the church and that NO ONE could POSSIBLY be legitimately walking with God under his ministry? Yup.  Already decided that his purpose is to stir up dissension among the very people he desires to lead?  Absolutely, I have.   

All people are essentially the same.

You hate Obama.
I hate my HOA.

You say your soapbox simply shows your "concern about America AND about the church."

I say if you're so concerned, why aren't you out serving, showing love to the marginalized in our society, like welfare recipients.  Why aren't you adopting?  Oh wait, ADOPTION, that's my soapbox.

I realize I have opened a door for concerned emails about absolute truth and common sense, about all that's right about your particular brand of rightness...and maybe I deserve that or maybe I'll delete it.  (Truthfully, I am up in the air).

As I drifted back to sleep that mind trailed even further...

Maybe we care about being right so much, because when we are, we also get to feel righteous.  And that is an easy righteousness to obtain.  We can be right and feel righteous and not really have to sacrifice anything. 

Humility, hearing others, inviting others to speak, being quiet, NOT sharing an opinion, saying we are sorry, cooperating with someone, forgiving, staying friends, giving up something -- even if it's only -- especially if it's only -- our entitlement to our own rightful opinion...well...that's hard stuff.  These things cost and they hurt.

Being right means we get to stay in control.  Asking for forgiveness puts our situation, our hearts, our feelings in someone else's control.

I'm not good at that.  You?

As I acknowledged the wrongful rightness in my own heart that evening to a loving, kind, generous God, I wondered...

If we now "see through a glass dimly lit" (1 Cor 13.12), then just maybe there is some rightness to leaving some blank space.  Blank space where others can talk, and we can listen.  And whether we agree or not, we can trust God with the blank space -- for without God's grace AND THE GRACE OF OTHERS -- things do not go well for matter what my opinion is. 

My relationship with God is one of a truly, TRULY rescued person.  I mean truly.   I'll say it again for good measure, T.R.U.L.Y. rescued.  And, I haven't forgotten it these past 20 plus years. 

I was invited to leave a lifestyle of mire and nastiness.  I have not forgotten loneliness, sadness, anger.

I heard a message of Heaven and Hell all my life.  But it was God's kindness that drew me in.

Encouraged, blessed, and made joyful and grown up -- when I had been so angry and so sad.  A heart that is constantly being offered healing, and a mind that was more than ready to welcome a Great peace.  Did it cost me something?  Only my heart knows the depths of what it has cost.  Billy and I could write a book on suffering.  But, we navigate two truths, that whereas we have suffered, we have also experienced, lived a Good News.  Blessed more and more in every realm in a rich way.  Much blessing...

Billy told me the next morning, "Shanna, you are living a good story."  What a great, ridiculas joy to be able even to live a good story!

I am thankful for my family, my friends from my church and my community, for the people who come to this blog weekly for God knows what...thankful that you walk with me.  That you are interested in this story or The Story, humbles me.

Until next time, when I'm sure to have figured it all out...

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