News flash: I’m opinionated. (I can almost hear the “Duh” from some of you who know me.) I have opinions about politics, religion, music, movies and TV…and much more. They are opinions. Most are non-threatening, some are important and a few are crucial and strong. But in the end, they are my opinions. If you don’t agree, it’s okay. I don’t base my friendships on shared opinions. But if you are here, and plan to follow these Bubbles, that’s important to know…early.
For example, I don’t like reality shows. I don’t like any of the competition shows—cooking, singing, modeling, drag…whatever. In my opinion, the focus seems to be on the worst side of people, whether it’s “real housewives,” certain citizens of the Garden State or a bunch of folks living together in a house. I don’t get the fascination. (But in my opinion, The Amazing Race is an exception.) I’m also not a sports fan. It’s my opinion that wrestling is fake, boxing is violent, golf is boring, NASCAR is organized noise, and people only go to hockey games for the fights.
These are my opinions.
I think opinions are made to be flexible.
Over the years, many of my opinions have changed. When I first heard the idea for Star Trek: the Next Generation, as one who grew up on the original series, it was my opinion that it would be horrible. I became a fan. I once supported John Edwards for President, but now wish he were in prison!
We can and do have differing opinions. We can disagree on who’s the greatest diva: Judy, Cher, Barbra, Celine, Bette or Ryan Seacrest. You think the Rolling Stones are the best rock band in history, someone else might prefer the Beatles. And don't get me started on Justin Beiber!
In addition to opinions, I have some deeply held beliefs and core values. They have been forged over years and through the fire of trials. At this stage in my life, it’s not likely some of those will change. They are a part of my life; they provide me comfort and security. The fact that another might not share them doesn’t cause me to lash out, get defensive or get angry. (I have never understood that mentality.)
This is where the problems often come in. Some people don’t make the distinction between an opinion and a core value. And arguments—intense disagreement—occur over matters that don’t really…well, matter.
I respect a person’s right to have beliefs, values and opinions different than mine. I acknowledge that we don’t (and won’t) always agree. However, here’s what will cause me to challenge:
(1) When someone sees their beliefs as the only possible way to believe, and the absolute benchmark for true faith…therefore diminishing, discounting or dismissing those who disagree; and
(2) When someone wants to have their beliefs codified into law, seeking to impose them on everyone.
I think we often forget that respect for others, integrity, compassion, empathy are also core values. And how about love as a core value? (I believe the Bible puts love as THE core value!)
And when we express THOSE core values, I am convinced they will make our differences less divisive.