I can feel it in my bones…this is gonna be one of those posts.
You know the ones. Those posts that make people either
- cheer wildly or scream unmentionables at their computer screen
- shake their head in disgust or nod in wholehearted agreement
- quickly find the “subscribe by email” button or hit unsubscribe with great personal satisfaction as if to say ..”I’ll show her!”
- leave comments saying “you make me sick you _____________” (fill in the blank with the descriptive adjective of your choice:[ ] right wing extremist,  religious nut job, [ ] racist, [ ] homophobe, [ ] anti abortion zealot, [ ] bigot, [ ] moron) or simply say with appreciation “I love you Beth”
So be forewarned if you are easily offended by people who think differently than you or you “know” those same people are extremists and it makes your blood pressure rise, or you hate controversy, politics or perhaps simply are only interested in my family traditions, motivational speeches or funny family life posts…you may want to stop reading now….because here it comes.
Tim Tebow, Sarah Palin and the Duggar family are arguably the most hated and vilified people on the planet. You would have to have your head in the sand or live on a deserted island to not know these names and to have heard some diatribe about their lives, beliefs or actions.
But just in case you actually do not know who I am referring to let me give you a very brief “no commentary” introduction (ie: just the facts without any interpretation of those facts)
Sarah Palin is a 48 year old American politician, commentator and author from Alaska. As the Republican Party nominee for Vice President in the 2008 presidential election, she was the first Republican woman nominated for the vice-presidency. She has been married to her husband Todd for 23 years and have five children.
Tim Tebow is a 24 year old football player who is currently the starting quarterback for the Denver Broncos. He played college football at the University of Florida where he won the Heisman Trophy, two national championships and was named the offensive MVP in his final championship game. He is single. (He was raised by parents who were missionaries to the Philippines and homeschooled their five children)
Jim & Michelle Duggar are a couple in their mid 40’s from Arkansas who are authors, real estate agents and television personalities who star in a reality show called – “19 kids and counting”. They have been married for 27 years and have nineteen children. Mr Duggar has also been involved on and off in Arkansas politics for over a decade.
As I learned about each of these individuals over the past several years and began to “follow them” I must say that I felt a strong and warm connection to each of them for various reasons. Despite the vitriol hatred and ugly comments that fly around the internet, social media and even when talking face to face with people…I will admit I like these people and in many ways I “am” Tebow, Palin and the Duggars.
Much like Sarah Palin(though without her good looks, nice figure and ability to shoot a gun), I am a strong-willed, opinionated woman, a political activist, a “working mommy” of more than the “average” number of children who has often toted them around the country as I do “my thing”, and I had a child after the age of 40 to the disdain of some friends, family & the medical community. (I even am very comfortable “carrying on” with life in the midst of being in labor as I taught class, timing contractions on the white board all the way up to a couple hours before one of my children was born, much like Sarah who choose to fly home to Alaska from the lower 48 while in labor to give birth to her youngest child) I am also against abortion even when the child in utero has been diagnosed with a disability, deformity or prediction of a hard life. I too believe in abstinence before marriage and teach that to my children. (even if they choose in the future not to follow my good advice) as well as believing in creation. Yes, in many ways I resonate with Sarah Palin. And had I not been called to full-time ministry I likely would have ended up in politics as a career!
Although I have never been more than a high school field hockey “star” and college athlete, like Tim, I am and have always been an outspoken Christian with a very public faith. As a college athlete I hung posters with scriptures proclaimed on them at various athletic events and throughout campus during my college years, led athletic bible studies for the many women who came to faith in Christ, prayed before games (and after) and boldly stood up to powerful coaches and intimidating professors who wanted to stop me from sharing my faith. I have lived my entire life as a very public Christian who could easily be accused, as Tebow is regularly, of being “too” vocal about my faith. Tebow and I are also both adamantly pro-life and like his mother I too would have ignored the advice of doctors to terminate my pregnancy to save my life. So every time I read pages upon pages of comments criticizing Tebow for praying, (Tebowing), sharing his love for his Lord, or openly professing his faith….I think…”hey he is just like me!”
And then there are the much maligned Duggars – who I relate to as a mommy of many(and would joyfully welcome more!), I homeschool my children….and if you have read my blog you know that my husband and I actually have the exact same basic belief as the Duggars (if you are new to my blog you can read about that here), that God is in control of our family size through either birth or adoption whether that means we have 1 or 21 (which is highly unlikely for most of us “average” fertile couples…I have been letting God be in control for 25 years and I have only given birth to 7 children) And let me say right now that people who leave these “big decisions” to God are not mentally ill, nor are we “hoarding” children or damaging the planet or for those of you opinionated believers, we are also not being “unwise”. (I would challenge any Christian who believes that God has not given us every one of our children, and likewise the Duggars, to prove to me in scripture how giving God control over the size of your family is scripturally incorrect….come on now….show it to me in the Bible if you are going to spout your opinions so freely!) I also want to tell you that we know all our kids names, birthdates (and in our family born again birthdays and adoption days too!), personalities, likes, dislikes, strengths, weaknesses as well as their dreams and goals. Our kids are not damaged, suffering or to be pitied. In fact I would venture to say that the children I know from “plus size” families are better adjusted, more independent, unselfish, mature, productive and happier than their peers from the average “two child” home. So while I only have 42% of the number of children that the Duggars do and I do not have a television show….I can so relate to the plus family hatred that is poured out to them by both Christians and non Christians alike.
So you see, I am in many ways the “spitting image” when it comes to beliefs, philosophies, values and faith as Sarah Palin, Tim Tebow and the Duggars. As far as I can tell the only thing that separates me from being attacked, ridiculed, criticized and hated in the same way as they each are is that I am not a “public figure” with the platform of politics, sports or television. And for that I suppose I can be glad and yet….I must say that this has led me to believe that there must be many within my circle of life, who if they really knew my great similarities to these polarizing figures, would have to admit that they had the same hatred for me.
And yet….even now they are likely shaking their heads and saying…”oh no Beth”….”we like you. You’re not like them.” Ummmmm…..actually the only difference is that you know me better and have a personal relationship with me and have decided that despite our differences we can be kind, respectful and caring.
Wouldn’t it be great to live in a country where people could disagree with someone’s faith, values, philosophies and political ideology without the hatred, vitriol attacks, ridicule and just plain meanness that we watch happening on a regular basis. As we enter into this election year…could we find it in our hearts to stop spewing the hatred…calling people names (just perusing through facebook I found all sorts of ugliness posted about the upcoming political election from both sides of the aisle – words like idiot, moron, bigot, racist and more). Can we not just be polite despite our differences in opinions? Perhaps we could even “like” someone or be gracious and kind even if we disagree with their faith, philosophies or values?
I am an opinionated, strong-willed woman who is pro-life, politically active, adoption advocate, non contraceptive using, abstinence teaching, courtship believing, homeschooling & working mommy of a plus size family who loves Jesus and posts scriptures daily on facebook as well as telling everyone who will listen about the Lord….I must be hated! And while this is the way it is in our world today….my question is should it be? I think not!