An Uncommon Core

My husband and I made a life change and sought a new peer group, one with core beliefs that aligned with ours. It’s not that we can’t ‘agree-to-disagree’. But dang, few people can do so in present times. The current conversational malaise trumps all relational hurdles of my past (I’ve moved a few times, as a child and as an adult). Once a group is formed it’s tough to ‘clique’ in.

So, one night we attended a new church study group. All went jovially, when guided by introductions, but all too soon, the rest of the group bonded with their vehement antipathy of Common Core. They clicked –

It wasn’t that I disagreed – my husband and I didn’t have kids or teacher pals in the local school system – I didn’t know what Common Core was!

The fierce and angry faces and vocal tones with which people spoke belied Christian spirit. The almost-shouted, bit-into-the-air, sparks-flying-and-ready-to-fight caustic nature of the remarks… shocked us and counted us out before we were even IN.

Oh no. I thought/hoped the purpose of this group was/is to rally around a common core of hope and love, to be transformed, to be like Jesus. I want to feel SAFE and enfolded. In my experience, incensed and adamant folks tend to generalize their anger. They disallow any view other than theirs and count one as foe unless… I didn’t want to debate – I seldom do, because I always see the gray, not black & white.

I just wanted to grow spiritually, with my head and heart intact.

Celebrity shouters on radio and TV have fueled this fever-pitch rhetoric. The gentlest of folks banter, but more often people want to joust. There seems no way to converse or levelly share. I’ve experienced absolute intolerance for my neutrality, a wider worldview that’s based in travel and acceptance of others different than me.

Political correctness kicked common jokes, a keystone of rapport, to the curb. Books and movies as topics seem no longer safe – but formerly taboo sex and politics are not. Right-wingers pre-emptively blast, in my experience, shredding a pleasant, peaceful party in our home.

Apparently, this reality has been going on for a while, as per Mark Twain’s quote, but I know it to be increasingly more open and volatile, no social permission asked. I’m tired of having parties ripped apart, especially when it’s me. I’m tired of being jeered at for having an open mind.

I try to be the change, but I swear I’m an inch shorter than I was seven years ago.

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