Truth: Social Media

I am not a good user of Facebook.  I don’t often update my photos, and when I do I usually delete the old photo.  I don’t change my status – lately it’s just been links to my blog.  I rarely ‘like’ someone’s posts and I even more rarely comment on them.  I don’t send friend requests, I don’t click on ads, I don’t follow social media stars, and I rarely join groups.  I am the poster-child for poor social media presence.

My lack of use is partially because I don’t really care to do any of it, and part of it is because I don’t see the point in it – especially with commenting.  I am amazed at the number of people who choose to comment on Facebook posts and it intrigues me when a comment is made on a post that has zero connection to the commenter.  When I’m scrolling through Facebook I may see a picture and think, Ha! That is true! or Well, that’s completely false.  Rarely do I stop, pull up my keyboard, and go to town on the various points as to why it’s a lie or why it made me laugh.

A few months back a friend of mine posted about how he was feeling diminished as a person and people still treated him horribly even though he has just as many rights as the next individual.  Because it’s just a thing I do, I wanted to uplift and encourage him, so I offered words of hope and reminded him that he is valued and cherished.

As with most Facebook postings, someone commented on my comment and said that my words weren’t necessary because our mutual friend already knew these things.  This person went on to say that it was a larger issue and work needed to be done to fix the problems that perpetuate people’s thinking about race, culture, and ethnicity.  They tried to engage me several times to discuss their points and why I was incorrect.

I just wanted to be nice to my friend.

While I wanted to offer some encouragement, both me and my comment were both mowed down by calls against systemic racism and perpetual injustices.  While yes, we do need to stand up against these things, I know that I wasn’t wrong in my initial comment.  My friend needed to be reminded of who he is and that he is valued.


There are a few things I’m taking away from this situation:

  1. I need to recognize and acknowledge that some people are going to want to argue, no matter what. They’re always going to be holding up the banners against injustice, against tyranny, against systemic issues, no matter the context or discussion.  We need those people in this world and I need to help those people use their skills in real-life communications.
  2. I have a valuable part in this work. While I am not the up-front talker, I can be the behind-the-scenes person who supports others and I’m just as valuable as they are.  I don’t have to march, protest, or argue all the time – especially if it’s not what I’m good at.  But I should do what I can to help people who are good at those things.
  3. Words of encouragement are always – always – helpful and necessary.

It’s easy to get on social media to call out wrongs and argue away at the issues.  It’s much more difficult to hold our tongues and scroll on by.  I think it would benefit us all if we did the latter, and I think it would be even better if we chose to have those discussions in person.  May God give us patience with one another, may we know when to speak up, and above all else, may we always love and encourage one another.

much love. sheth.

Truth: Not Enough.

This past week I spent a few days at the Mount Carmel Retreat Center in Dallas, partially for my Spirituality class and partially for personal reasons.  The truth is I’ve been struggling with feeling like I’m not ‘enough’ – not good enough, smart enough, lovable or loving enough, wise enough, holy enough, worthy enough, generous enough.  My feelings of ‘not-good-enough’ have kept me at arm’s length from God, from my family and friends, from my schoolwork and relationships because if I’m not ‘enough’ then what’s the point in continuing on with them?

I felt I had to be faultless and flawless before I could go to God, and I had to be the most Christian of Christians in order to maintain the relationship.  I had to be the absolute and ideal son for my parents.  I had to be the unequivocal and unmatchable boyfriend.  I had to be the matchless and impeccable friend.

I’ve burned more than my fair share of bridges because of this feeling of not being enough.  I’ve ended relationships, dropped out of courses, cut off friendships, and tip-toed around God because I didn’t think I was enough.  While I’ve wanted to be married, have close friendships, and a close walk with God, I’ve turned tail and ran because I didn’t think I was able to reach these self-perceived expectations of being ‘enough’.

As I spent these past few days in the silence of the monastery I came to the realization that I am, honestly, not good enough. And I’ll never be good enough.  I’m never going to be the perfect son, boyfriend, or friend.  I’m never going to be the best student, pastor, or Christian.  I’m never going to be the most giving, generous, and kind person.

My not enough is, in fact, enough.

In my journal, I scribbled down this letter to myself:

Seriously, Sheth, God loves you.  You!  Not the impostor, not the poseur, not the image you try to maintain.  God loves you in your broken, faulty, sinful, unkempt, messiness.  God sees through the falsehood (and hopes you will, too) and knows that that Sheth is the true Sheth.  You don’t have to be perfect to receive God’s love.  You don’t have to have everything in order and your life looking pretty.  You don’t have to be enough for God to love you completely.  God loves you, Sheth.

I know it’s difficult to fathom…it’s hard to comprehend…and frankly a little terrifying.  But it’s the truth.  You’ve had moments when you felt it and knew this truth, but you ran away from it because it’s so beyond your knowledge and understanding.  But somehow you can just know it, believe it, and revel in it’s goodness.

Sure, it’s terrifying on one hand to know that God loves you – God who created all, who can destroy all, who is everywhere, every time, always – God loves you.  That’s scary.

But on the other hand it’s comforting to know that God loves you – you…a bit on this earth, a mere blip on the timeline…as small and insignificant as you are, Sheth, God loves you…you!  You!  God knows you and loves you!

Moments will come (probably tomorrow) when you don’t feel loved, when you don’t feel lovable, when you don’t feel like you’re enough for any of it.  Nonetheless, God loves you still.  No matter what you do or how you act or where you go, God will not stop loving you.

Sheth…I hope you can understand this…I mean, truly in your heart of hearts understand this: God loves you.

I’m not enough – and I never will be enough – and that’s okay.  I don’t need to be enough for God to love me.  I don’t need to be enough for my family to love me.  I don’t need to be enough for my girlfriend, my friends, or my professors to love me.  All I need to be is me – the real me, the true me, the not-enough Sheth who will relish the love and affection that is poured on me.

May we know that God loves who we are, where we are, and desires to be with us.  And may we realize each day that our not-enough is enough.

much love. sheth.

Truth: Anger

Either asking me or those closest to me, people often wonder if I ever get angry.  I usually respond by repeating a line from the old T.V. show The Incredible Hulk: “You won’t like me when I’m angry.”  While kind of cool and mysterious, it’s also an ashamedly apt descriptor of what people feel when I’m angry.  While I have yet to meet anyone whom I like when they are angry, I despise myself in those moments because the worst part of who I am comes out.

The truth is that I don’t know how to deal with my anger which is why so few people have witnessed me in that emotion, and why I don’t often express it.  And just like any emotion, if it’s not utilized, it can be destructive when it rears its head.  On those rare occasions when I do pop the top on my bottled up anger, it all comes out.  I’m like a bottle of Coke and a Mentos has just been dropped in.  Everything that has been making me angry since the last explosion comes raging out of my mouth, and God help the people who are around me in that moment.

I usually start with the immediate thing that set off the chain reaction and in an extended rant, I use every foul adjective I can come up with to describe it all.  And then the stuff that’s been hiding comes spewing out: that thing that happened yesterday; that person that cut me off in traffic last week; the time a fellow student said something ridiculous in class.  I don’t always know where this stuff is coming from and am often surprised by all the hidden history that exudes from my mouth.  When all is said and done and I’m exhausted – mentally and emotionally – I put the cap back on the bottle and go on with my life.

I’m not proud of the things that I say when this happens, and I’m definitely not proud that I don’t have a better handle on this emotion.  I often wonder if I don’t express my anger because I don’t want to hurt other people’s feelings or if I bottle it up because anger isn’t an attractive personality trait.  I wonder if anger is ‘Christian’ (whatever that means) or if I hold it back because I know how ugly I get and don’t want to subject others to my tirades.


If I’m to be wholly ‘me’ and all that I am, I have to recognize that anger is part of me.  I think it’s part of all of us – it’s a God-given emotion.  But it’s how we deal with it, how we act it out, how we use it that makes it either ‘good’ or ‘bad’.  Anger can be a good thing and is a valid emotion that can produce good and useful outcomes: MLK and civil rights, Gandhi and Indian Independence, the 1968 Prague Spring.

I’m reminded of Ephesians 4:25-26: “So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another.  Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger…”  We are given the opportunity to be angry, though it is followed by one condition – do not sin.  We should always speak the truth with whomever we are with, and we can be angry (if warranted), but we shouldn’t sin in the process.

In my anger I sin because I don’t speak truthfully to my neighbor.  I don’t voice my anger at what they are doing and allow the offense to continue.  In my anger I sin because I direct my anger at the person and not at the content which made me angry: You’re making me angry! vs. Your action is making me angry.

I think it’s important to understand this small distinction because it keeps anger from being hurtful: be angry at the offense, not the offender.  Be angry at the systems, not at those people in power.  Be angry at the issue, not those around it.  We can be angry at what we do to one other, and it should be called out and resolved, but we should cover those offenses with love after they’ve been dealt with.

In no way am I saying that this is easy.  In no way am I saying that I’m going to do this correctly from here on out.  But I’m going to try.  I’m going to call out what angers me, tell those around the situation that it angers me, and I’m going to direct my energy toward fixing it.  And I’m going to love…as much as I can, I’m going to love.

much love. sheth.

Truth: Confession

I’m taking a class called ‘Spirituality for Church Leaders’ and it’s kind of a double-edged sword for me.  I know that I need to experience more ways to connect with God, but at the same time I’m very reserved and suspicious of new things.  While I’m learning new ways to pray and express myself in the presence of my Creator, I’m also running this mix tape through my mind: Is this really going to make a difference?  Is that too far into the unknown?  What if someone sees me?  Do I need to do this, or can I get away with less?

One of my biggest struggles came last week as Dr. Johnson sat in the front of the class, gently stroked his snow-white beard, and then instructed us to write a prayer of confession: “I want you to write down everything you need to confess to God.”  Part of his wisdom (and a source of my frustration) is that he doesn’t go into great detail with these things – whatever we feel we need to do, we’re to do it.

Truthfully, while I knew that God knew all that I did, my having to admit those errors was difficult.  I sat staring at my sheet of paper for what seemed like ages, mulling over the assignment: Do I write down what I feel guilty about, or do I write down the easy stuff that won’t be too bothersome to admit?  How much confessing can I do and still make it count?  What exactly do I need to confess?  What if someone finds this sheet of all my sins?

I know, too, what constitutes a sin, so this confession thing shouldn’t be that hard.  The things that hurt me, the things that hurt others, the things that hurt God – those are sins.  The things that are not done with love, the words spoken in resentment, the cold shoulders given to people I don’t like – those are sins.  Putting love of others or things before my love of God, desiring more than I have (and not being thankful for any of it), being jealous that so-and-so is spending more time with others than me – those are sins.

I know what sins are because I do them all the time.  But I’m not good at telling God all about it.  When I was a child, I accidentally broke the car antenna off of a neighbor’s car.  Immediately after it happened I began to cry because I knew I’d have to tell my parents, and I’d get in trouble, so I tried my best to make it look like nothing happened.  When I sin, I feel guilt and remorse, but it doesn’t always push me into confession…because if I confess, I’m going to have to face the consequences.  I’m more afraid of God’s wrath than I am at understanding that I have a loving God who’s ready to forgive.


One of the great things we do in the Presbyterian church is a prayer of confession – it’s a time to reflect on our lives and admit where we’ve missed the mark.  I’ve come to appreciate this time because I don’t do it often enough in my life.  I don’t readily acknowledge where and when I’ve sinned (because if you don’t admit it, it didn’t happen…right?).

One of the other great things we have is “a strong affirmation of trust in the forgiving grace of a loving God.”[1]  In this time of affirmation we are assured that God loves us, is more than willing to forgive us, and welcomes us with open arms.

As I get more comfortable with confession, I know that I’ll get more comfortable with God’s love.  And vice versa.  I learned with my parents that I need to tell them everything because they love me and want to help me be better, do better, and live better.  The same goes with God – I need to confess where I’ve made a mess and receive the gift of forgiveness.  May I be strong enough to confess my sins, and may I be weak enough to admit I need God’s love.

much love. sheth.

[1] The Theology and Worship Ministry Unit, Book of Common Worship (Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1993), 89.

Truth: Emulate

Last week I was given this prompt for one of my classes: Why do you support, believe in, follow, or wish to emulate …. (the person, organization, etc., of importance to you)?  On the surface, it was a rather simple exercise and I could have easily gone for one of the softball-sized answers that came to my mind.  I could have listed my parents, Thomas Merton, or Saint Francis – there are a lot of good people to emulate.  But for some reason (I like to make my life difficult) I didn’t want to go that route and I wrestled with being brutally honest with myself.

There are a few truths I have heard about my life: I know that I am a child of God, I am a friend of Christ, and I am accepted.  I know I am holy and beloved, chosen by God, and am a new creature.  I know I am set free.  I have heard, recited, and known these descriptors of myself for a long time.  But while these words describe the person God sees me as, I don’t always believe God’s vision.  If I’m honest, I wish to emulate the person God knows me to be; I wish to emulate who God sees in me.

It’s an odd thing, because I can tell others that they are summed up by these scriptural qualities, and I thoroughly believe that they are these things.  But my scrutinizing self-doubt and savage self-condemnation keep me from fully living into these truths. Instead, I lean into falsities:  I’m not good enough.  I’m not holy enough.  I’m not worthy enough.  I don’t always do what’s right.  I don’t always speak love.  I am more displeased, irritated, and unforgiving of my own short-comings than I am with someone else’s.  I can overlook my neighbor’s terrible sins against me but I can’t get over my own little misstep that did no harm but to myself.


When I discover “that the least amongst them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all the offenders, the very enemy himself – that these are within me, and that I myself stand in need of the alms of my own kindness – that I myself am the enemy who must be loved,”¹ that is when I know my truest self.  And that is when I will begin to know the real ‘me’ whom God sees.  When I understand who I am in God’s eyes, when I can honestly emulate that person, and when I can love myself intensely and freely then I will be free to love others just as passionately.

If I can emulate who God sees me as, I can love – love God, love myself, and love my neighbor.  When I set free within my soul – within my deepest being – the love and compassion of God to conquer my heart and accept myself as the person God knows me to be, that is when I will truly live and love.

much love. sheth.

1  Carl Jung, Modern Man in Search of a Soul, (London: Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & CO LTD, 1933), 271-272.

Truth: As.

There’s this idea that’s been rolling around in my mind that I should see Jesus in others; I can’t recall if it was in my recent readings, whether it was just some idea I had, or if it was from something I saw somewhere in my life.  [The amount of information coming at me lately has been overwhelming.]  I’m not opposed to the idea; it’s kind of a good thought and, truthfully, I probably do it myself from time to time.  When I see Jesus in others, I’m probably treating them a lot better than I normally would: I’m probably nicer, gentler, more patient and understanding of others when I see them as Jesus, when I seem Jesus in them.  It makes me a better person to others.

But there’s a flaw in this thinking, and it’s given me pause to think about the way I’m behaving towards others.  I’m wondering if this way of thinking isn’t conditional…is the only reason I’m loving someone else is because I’m seeing Jesus in them?  Am I actually loving the person, or am I loving someone else I’m imposing upon them?

I wonder this because I claim that I love, and I claim that I love a lot of people.  But am I loving the person, or am I loving my idea of who that person is?  Do I truly love my African-American neighbors for exactly who they are?  Am I loving the people experiencing homelessness for who they are?  Are my actions, words, thoughts and love for my LGBT+ brothers and sisters for  them and who they are?  Is my love for that person who really annoys me in class for who they are?

While it may seem like I’m splitting hairs here, I think it’s an important distinction to both acknowledge and change in my thinking.  If I am loving the person of Jesus I see in others, I’m not loving the person in front of me.  If I am treating that person lovingly – as I would Christ – what happens when I lose sight of Jesus, who I see in that person?  Do I still love them or does my love, like my vision of Christ in them, fade away as well?

Certainly we are to treat others the way we would treat Jesus, but I don’t think we’re called to look past the personhood of others.  I don’t think Jesus ever called for us to place him in a substitutionary role for how we treat others.  I think we’re supposed to love the person for who they are, where they are, however they are.  We’re supposed to love our neighbors and our enemies; we’re supposed to love those who are like us and those totally different from us; we’re supposed to love those we agree with and disagree with; we’re supposed to love regardless.

The key to this is the word ‘as’ – treat others as you would treat Christ.  In its simplest definition, it means “to the same degree or amount” – treat others to the same degree or amount you would treat Christ.  This tiny word holds so much weight!  It maintains the personhood of the other; it doesn’t replace them with Christ, but encourages me to see both.  This little, necessary word opens my eyes to the way I’ve been living.  Have I been treating my brothers and sisters, my neighbors, and the strangers I come across in the same manner I would treat Christ?  Am I acknowledging their personhood while still treating them as I would Christ?  

This is not easy to think about, and honestly, even more so to put into action.  May God guide my vision, my actions, and my thinking by allowing me to see both the person and the Christ.  May we allow others to be who they are and love them unconditionally as they are.

much love. sheth.

Truth: Christmas.

Honestly, this isn’t really a Truth Tuesday post…just a little quote I heard a few years back that continues to rattle my core being.

I first listened to this On Being podcast a few years ago as I was delivering the mail during the Christmas season (the USPS delivers far more gifts than Santa does – so you should start leaving gifts for your letter carrier). The following quote concerns Christmas and Jesus, and I still don’t know what to do with it; I’m not entirely sure what it means to me, but I continue to wrestle with it:


“It’s a nice, pretty story about two nice, good looking people, usually white…you know, who had a pretty baby in a manger. But in a sense, it’s a terrifying story. In terms of what they had to undergo. And it’s also, I have to say, it is a shocking story. It’s not just a baby. It is God being born in human form. And it’s just as shocking as the resurrection. And I think we’ve tamed it. And in a sense it doesn’t demand our belief. We can just kind of look on it, and say, well, that’s cute.

But if you say to people do you believe that that is God incarnate in that stable. What does that mean for you, that God comes to us as the most helpless being that you could imagine? You know, sort of crying, and wetting his pants, and needing to be nursed. What does that say to us about who God is for us, and how God is for us, and how much God loved us to do that. And that, I think is an entirely different story than, you know, the — the kind of Christmas-cardy stuff that we see.”

My friends, may your holidays be filled with shock, with wonder, with helplessness, with a desire to share with others about your faith – whatever that may be. And may we all come to understand the beauty and reality of Christ’s birth.

much love. sheth.

Truth: Long, Dark Nights.

This Friday, the sun will set in Austin at 5:34 pm, and will not rise until 7:23 am on Saturday – roughly ten hours of daylight and fourteen hours of darkness. The longest, darkest night of the year.

We’re told through advertisements and tradition that during Christmas we are supposed to be happy, full of joy, and surrounded by family and friends. But many of us are dealing with other emotions: grief, loneliness, depression, disappointment, and anxiety. Many of us attempt to push down and put aside these feelings, trying to mask them over with the season’s joy and happiness. But the feelings are still there, still prevalent and intertwined in our lives.

For me, loneliness is one of the biggies in my life this time of year. Some people think that my loneliness means that I am alone. Sometimes that’s a good thing – we need to be alone, to be by ourselves and away from people, but that’s not loneliness, that’s solitude. Loneliness is deeper than that. Loneliness is darker than that. For me, it’s like sitting in a room at night by yourself and feeling like it will never become light again. It’s being invisible in a room full of people.

If you’re like me, the Christmas season’s loneliness can eat away at any sort of joy we may be able to muster up.  It’s difficult because this is a season of togetherness – family and friends coming together and eating big meals, opening presents, and playing games.  And we, the lonely, may be part of these gatherings, but we feel apart from them.  There is something deep within us that is hurt.  There is something deep within us that longs for true connection.

We can put on a happy face and carry on lively conversations, but we are split within our souls because we know deep down that there is something less than happy and lively.  We smile widely for the pictures, laugh loudly at the jokes, and carry on the conversations.  But within us is another person who wants to scream out for someone to truly notice us.

In truth, our loneliness comes out of a desire for an intimate relationship with someone else.  This intimacy isn’t sexual in any way – it’s much deeper than that.  Intimacy is closeness and familiarity.  Intimacy is private and personal.  Intimacy is vulnerability.  Our loneliness cries out for intimacy on an emotional and spiritual level that most take for granted.  Our loneliness desires fulfillment from being with other people on a soul level.

Sandburg’s words ring true for us, the lonely. We would suffer hunger, pain, want, shame, and failure all for intimacy – true intimacy – with another person.

As the darkest, longest night of the year comes upon us, let us continue to cry out to God, “I am lonely and troubled! Save me from my sadness!” May God hear our cries for comfort in our loneliness, grief, depression, disappointment, and anxiety. And may we find respite on this darkest night.

[Many churches offer Blue Christmas services which recognize and speak to these issues – you can do a quick search to find one locally. If you’d like to speak with someone about these feelings, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. You’ll hear an automated message that will ask a few brief questions, then your call will be routed to a local Lifeline network center where your call will be answered by a trained worker who will listen to you, understand how your problem is affecting you, provide support, and get you the help you need.]

much love. sheth.


Truth: Like, Agape.

Apologies up front: I’m sorry this week’s post is short, but I have a ton of papers to write for school.  Maybe next week will be better…

I’m wrestling with what it means to love someone, specifically the agape love which extends to all people, whether family members or distant strangers.  But there’s a contradiction in my delivery. On one hand it’s really easy – I can love everyone around me without question, without reason, without expectation. On the other hand it’s really difficult – I can’t love everyone around me, all the time, without reason.

I fall headlong into agape because I’m called to do so – I believe God desires this from us in this world. We’re called to love the poor, the migrant, the queer; the rich, the patriot, the white; the happy, the injured, the vile.  It’s entirely possible to do this, and I’ve witnessed people who can do it without question.

But I also fall out of agape because I’m human and petty.  I mean, do I really have to love the smelly, the bothersome, the ugly?  Do I have to love the people I don’t get along with, the people I don’t agree with, the people who annoy the hell out of me?  Do I have to love chaotic middle school youth and snotty-Kleenex carrying old people?

As someone who frequently uses the phrase “I don’t have to like them, but I have to love them”, I find myself at an impasse.  Am I truly, completely loving the people I don’t like?  Am I doing as Jesus did those many years ago?  Am I seeing Jesus in the face of these people I love but don’t like? Could I do that to Jesus?  If I can’t love them and like them, should I love at all?

Perhaps this is the point of it all – I can’t do it alone.  I can’t possibly love the people I don’t like without God’s help.  I can’t possibly love the people I do like without God’s help.  Love is difficult – agape, pragma, or philia –it’s all challenging and frustrating at times, and entirely impossible without the help from my Creator.

God help us all to love as you have loved, forgive us when we fail, and give us mounds of grace as we try to figure it all out.

much love. sheth.

Truth: We’re Both Right.

My Facebook friend list is a crazy mix of people that I love.  There are the politically conservative and religiously liberal, there are libertarians, a few anarchists, a hippie or two, a few yoga instructors and plenty of cowboys.  There’s some who love their kids, some who treat their pets as kids, and some who don’t like kids at all.  There’s retirees, teens who have yet to start working, a few unemployed, some who stay at home while their partners work, and a lot who have a regular job…or two…or three.  There are Baptists, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Catholics, Methodists, Non-Denoms, Atheists, Pentecostals, and Agnostics.  When I get on Facebook I have the opportunity to see a veritable cross-section of America.

When something ‘big’ happens in the world (terrorists, politics, sports, church) I am blessed to see all sides of the story – those who are for it and against it; those rooting for their home team while cursing the away team; those standing with and those opposing against.  I see arguments that are fact-based, faith-based, emotionally-based, and the occasional pot-stirrer who just wants to make everyone upset.

I’ve often wondered what it would be like if my Facebook friends ended up in the same room together because it’s such a varied list of people, but my wondering often turns into anxiety because I don’t know if it would be such a great idea.  This side opposes that side; that group hates this group; this person is holding a 20 year-old grudge against that person; I’m right and you’re all wrong.

And they all talk a big game on Facebook – ‘I’d show those damn snowflakes what real oppression is’; ‘If I see him again, I’m going to punch him in the face’; ‘Those people have no idea what they’re doing to me and my family.’  If they all got together in a ballroom at the Hilton, I’m afraid the niceties would end and all hell would break loose in about 38 seconds.

I think we’re all pretty angry with each other.  We’re angry for both valid and invalid reasons.  We’re angry because the other isn’t of the same mindset as we are.  We’re angry because we’re losing things that are important to us.  We’re angry because we’ve missed out on things for so long.  We’re angry because others are suffering, others are winning, others are inflicting harm.  We’re angry because we’re seeing a few lines of text on the screen and assuming the rest of the story.

Five years ago I don’t think I’d have been this reluctant to bring all these people together – not because my list of friends has changed, but because my friends have changed (as have I).  There was a time when we could disagree online and in person, but still treat one another with respect and graciousness.

I think we’ve blurred the lines between online interactions and real-world interactions, sacrificing civility in the process.  We no longer listen before we speak.  We no longer discuss things.  We are no longer flexible in our politics, theologies, or standards.  We can’t not say something.  We assume, we fill in the story, we take sides before knowing the facts.  We have allowed the meaning of ‘fact’ to be redefined.  We have drawn our battle lines, made our teams, and have set our feet firmly on the ground that we believe to be right (and to hell with those who don’t agree with us).


I know how to fix this problem and make us all more loving, civil, and nicer to one another.  It’s fixed by doing it.  We need to recognize that each one of us is important, each one of us is valid, and we are together on this planet.  Truthfully, we know this and we know how to do this.  We all have it in us to be better to one another, to be more loving to one another, to be nicer to one another.  There’s no magic formula, no three-step process, no seminar that needs to be attended before we can do it.  We know how to be better than we are – we need to act on our knowledge.

The fighting, arguing, and yelling will only make the rifts between us grow wider and deeper.  Being uncivil because they’re being uncivil will only make it worse.  By all means, disagree with one another!  Just don’t be an ass in the process.  Hold on to your beliefs, but don’t be afraid to let go of them if you need to.  Keep an open mind, but make sure you filter what’s going into it.  Understand others.  Empathize with them.  Think before you speak or type.  Get off social media and have actual discussions with people.  Have conversations with people you disagree with face-to-face.  Be kind.  Be civil.  Be nice.  Be loving.  Be vulnerable.  Be the other.

May we understand who they are, who we are, and that we are all in this thing together.  May we converse more, love more, and understand more.

much love. sheth.