Can’t we all just get along?
I love NPR.
In one of my favorite YouTube videos ever, Blimey Cow posted the hilarious “You Might Be a Homeschooler If…” video last year that went viral, at least among the homeschool community.
In it is a line that says something like, “You might be a homeschooler if your mom listens to NPR and votes Republican.”
HA! That’s so me. The radio in my truck is almost always tuned to 91.5 FM, KJZZ, which has acoustic jazz in the evenings and NPR programming in the daytime. I appreciate the in-depth reporting and the broader perspective than the snippets of typical radio or TV news provides.
In my Facebook feed this morning was a story I was really pleased and surprised to see from NPR:
The story was pretty basic, and referred listeners to their doctor for further help, which is kind of a laugh, as virtually all MD programs in the United States are woefully inadequate on the connection between diet and behavior — or even diet and basic physical health!
However, it makes me pleased that this topic is receiving national press and attention: What you eat can affect your body and mind.
The link for this story has been shared on a number of different health-and-diet related pages to which I subscribe, on Facebook.
What has been interesting to me — and a bit distressing — is that I have read a fair amount of argument about WHERE to start with dietary changes for children, and WHAT diet is the best. Everyone has an opinion and many are strident about it and have rude, unkind words for those who don’t agree with their particular beliefs.
I understand that. I really do. After seeing the monumental changes that came about in my young son’s behavior and health after being diagnosed with celiac disease more than ten years ago, and seeing the positive effects that have come about in our family’s lives as a result of my ongoing search for ways for us to eat and live more healthily, I UNDERSTAND.
If you see dramatic improvements firsthand, it alters your perspective. And, in a way, you can’t help but think that EVERYONE should do what you’re doing, because you begin to think that EVERYONE would benefit. And, you think philanthropic thoughts about it. You think, “It would be BETTER for everyone. It would be BETTER for the environment! It would be BETTER for our nation’s health. It would be BETTER for our farmers. It would be BETTER for our economy.”
And, you might even be right!!
But, at a certain point, it becomes divisive.
Literally, repulsive. It repels me when someone tries to proselytize me to Nourishing Traditions and insists that there IS NO OTHER WAY. I’ve un-liked certain Facebook pages and un-followed a number of blogs which routinely state that I’m a fool if I’m not eating/doing/making/following their way.
That’s the part that bothers me: The insistence that one person/method/diet is THE ONLY WAY and that I’m clearly an uneducated rube who is throwing away the health of myself and my family if I eat even one thing outside of that method.
That really bothers me.
I was thinking of it, just a bit ago, along the lines of Christianity.
I go to the Vineyard — Vineyard Church Phoenix, which is a kind-of non-denominational, Holy Spirit-filled, fairly casual, high-involvement church which prioritizes worship (“contemporary” worship with a full band — guitars, drums, et al) and healing ministry. I really love my church. I ADORE my church. I love the “DNA” of my church. I love my pastor. I love the people with whom I serve and learn. I could bore you (or perhaps scare you) with how passionately I enjoy my church. I wish more people would attend it. I wish more people would experience the benefit I’ve received by participating in the Vineyard for the last 23 years.
However, I’m aware that my church is not the ONLY way to worship.
I have a dear cousin, an amazing woman — younger than me — who is a Benedictine nun in the Catholic church. We couldn’t possibly be on more divergent Christian paths, but there is a kinship, a core identity, we share. Everything I hear from her — her comments, our rare conversations, stories I read about her, makes my spirit soar.
But, again, how we practice our Christianity is extremely different. In fact, if we sat down and compared fact sheets regarding our respective Christian practices, I’m sure we’d find much over which we disagree.
I have observed, in my advanced years , that one’s practice of Christianity, what speaks to one’s own heart, will vary greatly depending on history, personal preference, personal priorities, personal convictions, personality, and more.
I mean… I WANT more people to join my church and share my experiences; I want others to benefit like I have.
But on the other hand, I cannot say, “My church is the only way to worship.”
There is more than one viable, healthy way to practice Christianity.
There is also more than one way to eat healthily! There is more than one way to live healthily!
I don’t necessarily have to be a card-carrying member of the gluten-free, GFCF, Feingold, Nourishing Traditions, WAPF, Paleo, GAPS, organic, WHATEVER to be healthy.
And, honestly, it really turns me off when anyone — who is not Jesus Christ Himself — says, “My way or the highway.”
But… on the other hand…
I do believe that there are basic truths. I do believe in the God of the Bible. I do believe that there are basic tenets, basic laws established by God that exist. There is truth. Not all roads are equal. It does matter what one thinks and believes and how one lives one’s life. I don’t believe that everything is relative.
So… it sometimes feels like a hard balance to find: Having beliefs with conviction which express themselves in practice, in daily living, and knowing in my heart that it is WORTH the effort and WORTH telling others about. Yet, not being the guy on the corner with a megaphone screaming, “Follow my way or DIE!!”
And not thinking ugly thoughts about those dogmatic folks on the corner with their megaphones…