Reflections on life, marriage, and a young woman who is constantly learning how much there will always be to learn!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

On Choosing My Battles

The world is full of frays for saber-wavers to jump right into...and so is the blogosphere. Every now and then, when I find myself fired up about an issue and ready to blast off a post so that I can feel like I've done something, I have to restrain myself and ask the this--and should this be--my battle? As my mom used to say, "Is this the hill you want to die on?"

One battle I usually stay out of is The Battle of Boycotts. If a company, service-provider, or other public entity takes a blatant war stance against values I hold dear, I am very likely to avoid doing business with them if at all possible. But the roster of Simply Misguided Companies in a world like ours is too long for me to keep track of. If I tried to make it my mission to boycott each and every one of those, I'd have a new full-time job. I think I'm better off making it my focus to patronize companies whose values I appreciate whenever I can, and leaving the rest to sort itself out. (Although, in some cases if a large and influential company that I patronize frequently makes a misguided move, I may make an extra effort to let them know I think so.)

I believe in equality, rights and respect for women, as I do for all people. However, I cannot align myself with the feminist movement because I either disagree with or don't sense the larger importance of many of their battles. Humane treatment of women in countries like Iraq, initiatives to stop the war against girls in China...these are things I can definitely get behind. But I believe in acknowledging and respecting--even celebrating--gender differences, not blurring them or discrediting them, as many or most of the current western feminist battles seem to be fighting for.

In a societal and political sense, battles range from global warming to illegal immigration to gay marriage. Some battles seem outright worthless; some seem nice but not top priority; still others seem top priority, although they jostle with other top priorities for my attention. I don't have enough time in my life to do full justice to both the Sanctity of Life and the Importance of Preserving Family.

Within Christian conservative circles, there are many battles available, as tends to happen when a group's values largely conflict with the tide of the society in which they live. Unlike the pilgrims, we can't just go get on a boat and find another continent to live on, so we are left with the perplexing mission of deciding how to pick our battles. Should I be spending my time trying to have certain magazines banned from grocery stores? Writing blog posts about how everyone should adopt certain practices regarding dress or blasting off against people who interpret the Bible differently than I do? I think not, if for no other reason than there are more important things to spend my time on...things that will bear more fruit in the long run.

What are those fruitful things? It's a question I ask myself often. I don't always accomplish my goal of seeking for and fighting for the best, in my life, or in the blogworld...that's a cold hard fact. But I want to.

I'll leave you with just these thoughts, for now. I'd love to read any insights you might have on this.


Blogger Samantha said...

I've written many posts when I was all fired about about something only to delete them,completely, when my common sense finally kicked in. I think you summed it up so well in this post, we have to choose our battles.

Sometimes I think that if we spent as much time praying about these issues as we do talking/writing about them we could actually make a difference.

2:54 PM, September 19, 2006  
Blogger Becky Miller said...

The one-child policy in China has been one of my most passionate "hills I'm willing to die on" for a while. The human rights violations that result from the policy (forced abortions, forced sterilizations, sex selection, abandonment of girls, etc.) anger and sadden me deeply. Thanks so much for the article link - I've read a lot on this subject, and that's the single most comprehensive piece I've seen yet. I was ecstatic to read that some Chinese demographers are recommending the government REPEAL the one-child policy! That would be amazing!

What can I do in this battle? I can and will continue to write and talk about it, but I also plan to take a more pro-active step. I am already praying for the daughter we hope to adopt from China in the next few years.

11:35 AM, September 20, 2006  
Anonymous Shelby said...

"Unlike the pilgrims, we can't just go get on a boat and find another continent to live on, so we are left with the perplexing mission of deciding how to pick our battles."

I had to laugh when I read this statement :). How often when something has come up have I exclaimed to my husband,"Can't we just found a "new" New World! :)" I tried the boycotting thing and found that I did save a lot of money ;). Then I read an analogy between Paul telling the early Christians that there was nothing sinful about eating meat that had been offered up to idols as long as your heart wasn't convicted otherwise, and modern Christians shopping at Wal-Mart (Romans 14, I believe). This meat had been offered up to the idols and then other people were able to buy it cheaply. Paul said there was nothing wrong with the meat itself, the only reason to deny yourself would be 1)If you felt convicted by God that for you it was wrong or 2) If you could make someone stumble by eating it (for example, if your friend is boycotting Wal-Mart out of conviction don't drag her in with you when she's out running errands with you :)). This has really helped me make many decisions in this regard. As you say, you have to pick your battles...

9:43 AM, September 21, 2006  
Blogger Erin said...

Samantha, good reminder about the prayer. That's a great way to do battle that I don't usually try as much as I should.

Becky, I replied on your blog. Like you, I truly hope that they repeal that horrendous policy!

Shelby, that's an interesting analogy. I'll have to think about that a little more. You know, I think this issue of choosing battles does come down to focusing on grace vs. law and finding the proper balance between the two...which battles does GOD want us to fight? Which ones don't matter quite so much--and are in fact a distraction--from His foremost purpose for us?

Granted these thoughts are all half-baked. I'm not enjoying my clearest philosophical mentality right now:o)

4:45 PM, September 21, 2006  

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