Here's my hypothesis: There are 2 types of people in the world, 1) people who are comfortable with and feel like there can be some really useful and helpful things about sometimes interacting with others in a kind of "political" way (they might even see this as a valuable type of personal gift or skill), and 2) people who have almost zero tolerance for "political" types of interactions, and have violent delusions involving uzis and grenades when they have to be in these situations.
OK, so maybe there are more than these 2 types (as in, there are several shades of gray in between). But, as you might guess, I am in the second category. And tonight I had to go to a banquet at a club on the 54th floor of a tower downtown and drink Pellegrino and eat scallops wrapped in bacon and salmon and fresh vegetables and chocolate raspberry cake (yeah, I know, hard life)...but a lot of the time I just really felt frustrated there. On one hand I was really grateful for the people there--it was a celebration of scholarship recipients (of which I was one--because of their support I didn't have to take out any loans my 2nd and 3rd years of seminary, which is amazing) and I feel REALLY
grateful for the help, and feel like the foundation does a lot of excellent work; so I was glad to celebrate them. But on the other hand, I felt like no one at this event could really be themselves. The recipients had to give the right answers and say the right things to seem worthy of the fellowship, and the people representing the foundation had to play up their philanthropic activities. It just seemed like everyone was selling something and had something to prove.
Afterward I talked with someone about this (not a friend, just an acquaintance I ran into) and, let's just say, he definitely falls into the first category of people. And it was hard because I feel like we each have a strong internal committment to our way of seeing this, and it makes me hopeless that these types can ever really get along together in the world. I honestly don't really trust or respect people in the first category (yes, I think I could grow in this area, God have mercy) and I got a strong feeling that he felt I was naively idealistic and hopelessly lacking "real" people-skills and practicality. The issue is, we define and value "people skills" very VERY differently. He doesn't practice the kinds of people skills I value, and I would rather poke scissors through my thigh than embody the types of people skills he values.
I really don't see a lot of hope for reconciliation here, but I also believe that God is big, and if Jesus can do anything, he can break down these dividing walls. So, which type are you? Do I have to stop reading your blog now? (just kidding)