No Man's Land
In case you haven’t noticed (or been rejoicing as I’m sure many of you were), I haven’t posted a lot of “political” stuff lately (I put politics in quotes because I don’t actually care about politics, I care about people, but those tend to overlap). Partially because I’ve been crazy busy, partially because I can’t even read about politics anymore without feeling sick and hopeless.
The political stuff on its own is frustrating, but what I’m still struggling with is Christian people’s reactions to it (and to me).
I still don’t really understand why my political views matter so much to some people. I’ve had people get angry at me, call me names, stop supporting my ministry. I don’t get it, to be honest. I don’t get why my views would matter that much to anyone (or what they have to do with my ministry, but that’s another subject).
People get their political views from their past, their experiences, their upbringing. There are as many views as there are people. When did we decide that all Christians need to think the same way? Believe the same way? Toe the party line?
I look at political views like directions to a restaurant. One person wants to take the interstate because there’s no traffic lights or stopping, even though it’s a few miles longer, while the other wants to take back roads because it’s shorter, even though it means more stopping and slower driving.
Is one of them more right than the other? That depends on your personal opinions, whether you prefer backroads or hate stop lights or always take the shortest route. But both ways will get you there in the end.
Politics is the same. We all recognize there are problems in the world, we just have different ideas of how to fix them.
So why can’t that just be how we look at it? Why do we feel the need to shame people who have different opinions? Or try to force them to believe what we do? Why do all Christians have to belong to the same political party? It just makes no sense to me.
And it’s really been bumming me out.
But today I saw Wonder Woman.
If you know me at all I’m sure you assumed I would love it (which I did) if for no other reason than it’s the first female-led superhero movie and has been empowering to kids around the world, as evidenced by this kindergarten class.
But on top of that, it showed a woman who was not only strong, brilliant, and brave, but compassionate, caring, and willing to risk herself for people others were choosing to ignore.
One specific scene stood out most to me. Wonder Woman and her crew? cohorts? sidekicks? whatever you want to call them, were in a particularly dangerous trench near the front lines during WWII. They were on a mission, a very good and important mission, to keep the Germans from dropping a deadly gas on London.
While running through the trenches they found a woman who begged them to help her and her village, which was right behind the German line. People were being enslaved, the Germans were killing innocents, they needed help.
Wonder Woman wanted to go help them but her friends said no, it was impossible. They couldn’t get through No Man’s Land, the space between the English and German lines, alive. There was no way. And they needed to focus on the mission at hand.
It’s not that they didn’t care about the people being killed in the village, they were the good guys, the protagonists. They were rushing through the fray to get to the bad guys and save the world. And they genuinely didn’t believe they could help the villagers, they thought it was impossible, that they would have to be sacrificed for the greater good, a casualty of war.
They knew better than she did, after all. They were from here, they understood war, the way it had to be. Some lives had to be lost, they had to focus on the greater good.
But she didn’t care.
She didn’t care what other people thought, she didn’t care that that’s how “things were done,” she didn’t care that she might suffer for it.
She knew what was right.
She knew in her heart that it was right to save those people. No matter what.
So she did.
She ran across the battlefield, dodging machine gun fire, to save those people. All on her own.
Cheesy or dorky as it may be, I found that scene super inspirational. Sometimes we know in our hearts what’s right, what needs to be done, who we need to be standing up for. And those around us, even those closest to us, even people we love and know have good hearts, can’t see it for whatever reason.
It often feels like I'm in No Man's Land, fighting for what I know in my heart is right, trying to stick up for people who can't stick up for themselves, all while people shoot at me from one side and tell me to stop and fall in line from the other.
But that doesn’t mean we stop. It doesn’t mean we conform, that we fall in line and go with the flow, ignoring the hurting just because everyone else is.
It means we jump out in front, dodge the gun fire, and do our best to help those who need helping.
No matter what.
And it’s ok if the others aren’t ready to jump out with you yet. They’re still the good guys, they still want what’s right, they’re just missing some awesome opportunities to save the world. And that’s too bad for them, but it doesn’t keep us from doing what we know in our hearts is right.
We just do our best and hope that eventually they jump out behind us.
And until then, we continue to be brave. We continue to be strong. And we continue to have compassion, to love others, to stand up for them at all costs.
Because that's what's right.