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Monday, October 6, 2008



"The brain and the eye have a contractual relationship in which the brain has agreed to believe what the eyes sees, but in return the eye has agreed to look for what the brain wants." – Daniel Gilbert

Over the last 2.5 years I have lived in liberal-land. Seattle and New York City are full of Obamaniacs and while I do not consider myself a maniac I will be voting for him in the coming weeks. That said, this last weekend Taryn and I spent a good day and half in rural Indiana. As we spoke with family and locals it was clear that we were the political minority (the fact that I owned an Obama t-shirt was mind-blowing to most).

As I discussed politics with those "across the aisle" I realized how all of us seek out sources that will reaffirm our positions. I read the NYT and watch CNN. I listen to NPR and read Gladwell. I subscribe to Paste and Wired. I fill my Google Reader with urbanized, socialist, liberals. Without doing so intentionally I have surrounded myself with information that supports my beliefs.

Humans have the uncanny ability to find a positive way to view the things they believe…after they become their own. I believe this is natural but dangerous.

Why dangerous? Dangerous because as we surround ourselves with like-minded people, we see difference (political, religious, gender, city, profession) as inferior. We run into opposition and we hold their facts under greater scrutiny. We ask for more quotes, more examples, and more statistics. We judge others with a larger gavel and lose the ability to think independently.

All that to say, perhaps democrats should watch a little FoxNEWS. Perhaps Bible thumping Christians should be familiar with the Qur'an. Perhaps Californians should take off their sunglasses and consider that happiness can be found in other states. Perhaps all of us should look across the "aisle" and see the faces of others. Sure they believe different things, sure they may not have their facts right (maybe Sarah Palin really does protect us from Russia), but lets at least acknowledge that we have dangerously told our brain to believe our eyes and trained our eyes to affirm our brain.

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Samuel said...

I have found that the south is not an accommodating place if you don't 'fit in' with the majority. It's been strange to go from Seattle, which is a city and area built around autonomy and individuality, to Nashville where everyone strives to belong, to blend in, and be a part of a group.

Just the fact that I spent 2 years in Seattle has convinced my friends that I am an Obama supporter, that I don't believe in the Bible, and so many other labels. All that to say, I love the idea of 'reaching across the isle', but I experience first hand the fear and violence associated with being an 'other' (not just here in the South).

We need more prophetic voices like yours in our lives.

Jarrod said...

I had not even considered the fear involved when being the minority. Why would anyone reach across the aisle if they imagine their hand getting slapped away as they reach? Great insight.

Thanks for your words. It challenges me to find more situations in which I can experience what it feels to be the minority.

Johanna said...

I can fully appreciate what you are saying when it comes to knowing what the "other side" is thinking and believing. That is why, as a conservative Christain, I pay for a subscription to Time Magazine (and read it cover to cover) and watch not only Fox News, but also CNN. However, I think you are bordering very close to the concept of relative truth here, and the Word of God clearly states that there is absolute truth. (John 17:17, John 14:6) While I don't agree fully with either candidate, I cannot justify some of Obama's policy with the truth I find in God's Word. I cannot measure a candidate by social/political ideals that are neither true or untrue, rather cultural preference of the day (which will change by the moment). No candidate will be exactly what I want, but I must define what is important to God according to His Word and vote those issues rather than the issues that make me more comfortable or help society. What does this mean for my vote this time around? I am still praying that through. However, I know for sure that I cannot stand before God and account for a vote Obama when he supports abortion and gay marriage - two areas the Bible is clear on being sin.

Jarrod said...

Johanna, I agree with your approach to voting. I too situate my life around the story of scripture and use that as my lens for living my life…including who I vote for. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said that you couldn’t justify Obama’s policy with the truth YOU find in scripture. We could debate the “absolute truth” of hot topic issues for hours. We could proof text, check historical accuracy, and throw around theologians. I don’t know that it’s helpful. However, I believe that the same God that sent a piece of himself to earth to change the course of the world is the God that wants to see our society restored. I vote for the man, policy, or idea that has this restoration of society in mind.

Johanna said...

I'm not sure I understand where you are coming from. Are you saying the Bible is not the source for absolute truth (no quotes)? You mention historical accuracy - are you saying the Bible is not God breathed, the inerrant word of God?

What do you mean by restoration of society? Restoration to what? American society? Jesus changed society by pointing people toward his father. He was concerned with people's hearts. I don't think God really cares too much about our society compared to how much he cares about our holiness. Can any politician restore a society to what truly matters to God?

Jarrod said...

Who knew that these words would stir such profoud theological questions.

I would love to discuss all of these things with you at the next Thatcher family gathering. :) I do not think that blogs/emails/etc are the proper medium for such lengthy conversations.

However, in short, I believe the Bible was inspired God and written, translated, and interpreted by men. I also believe that man is good and thus we have the ability to bring God's Kingdom to reality here on earth. When I speak of redemption or restoration I am referring to this belief.

The Father knows best. said...

Jarrod, I am curious to know what you’ve seen from Obama to indicate that his plan for reshaping society is congruent with God’s plan for reconciling man.

Also, if you’re looking for a challenge in being the minority, the greatest minority this world knows is the narrow path; only One has walked that path. Take His approach and recognize and denounce sin according to God’s absolute truth, then forgive and love the sinner according to that same absolute truth.

It doesn’t matter which side of the path (or aisle) you’re on, being a minority is just a selling point, not the truth.

stacy pietsch said...


i thankyou for your strength and voice into this issue. clearly, there is a lot of hostility in our country right now surrounding the campaign and i would say even more in our christian circle. we desperately need to be in discussion with those differing from us, not attacking or villainizing each other. thankyou for doing that in this post. obviously, it stirred up some things for us all. keep it up!

alaine11 said...

I'm not going to discuss politics like the others. I don't fall on either side of the aisle. I am one of the oddities you noted that surrounds themselves with people and influences who are starkly different from myself and quite frankly, I appreciate all of them.

Here's my issue. Out of all the fantastic points you made, I'm going to address the smallest one. You were in Indiana and didn't visit? Are you kidding? lol I think I'm offended and I know Conner is. I don't think we've seen you and Taryn since Luke's wedding for pete's sake.

Okay, I'll stop giving you a hard time now. Still love ya. Keep up the great writing. Hope all is well. :)

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