Anyways, it’s not that I actually want to run other people’s lives, but I so desperately want to tell them what I think they’re doing wrong.
It’s probably because I’m a classic problem-solver. I know some people who are okay with not understanding things – with not really analyzing the broken things in their lives and figuring out why those things broke and how to fix them. That kind of thing is absolutely baffling to me.
But instead of waiting for something to break, I want to preemptively solve problems. That seems prudent to me.
I’m not one hundred percent confident about everything, but I am about some things. I’ll never change my mind about those things, and it bothers me when so-called intellectuals denigrate such commitments. My refusal to coalesce or even waver is chalked up to fundamentalism – the dirtiest “f”-word in today’s culture. No one likes fundamentalists anymore. Except for one of my graduate tutors. He mentioned those ridiculous bumper stickers one sees all over the road these days. They look like this:
He said he thought that sticker really means, “Let’s all agree to not take our religions seriously.” I appreciated him saying that. My classmates were appalled.
It’s hard for me to not be a fundamentalist about certain things. To be otherwise would feel, at best, spineless. Worse, it would be dishonest.
Yet, when I see someone making choices that I am completely certain they will regret in the future, I rarely say anything. Who does?
Anyone who speaks up is called judgmental. It’s as though this ability of ours – this knack for accumulating all these observations and comparing them and sorting them and understanding the world around us – this desire for improvement and wisdom – this urge to kick against entropy – it’s as though all of that is so inherently offensive. When I speak what I know is the truth… YOU TWO SHOULD GET MARRIED… YOU ARE LYING TO ALL OF US… YOU DRINK TOO MUCH… YOU DON’T THINK ENOUGH… GET RID OF THAT PERSON!… YOU’RE ADDICTED… or whatever. When I say that – or, if I say that – what does that make me? Just a judger. A plankeye. But what if I already got my plank out? Doesn’t Jesus allow for that possibility? What if I’m honest about getting my plank out?
The problem with fundamentalists is that almost nobody wants to be one but almost everybody is one. Nobody is really open-minded. Everybody is convinced that he or she is doing everything right. Or wouldn’t a person change, if they thought they were wrong?
So then I remember that I can hardly think of a time when I spoke up to someone – told them what I really thought about what they were doing… how they were living – and actually made a difference. I mean a difference in the way I wanted to make one.
It’s hard to know.