My lack of writing has been eating at me, so here goes nuthin.
In the comments of my last post one of my friends teasingly called me a "fence-sitter". It was just a joke, but like the best jokes, there was a ring of truth to it. The fact remains that in many of the very volatile areas of debate (politics, religion, money) I tend to sit on the sidelines and find at least something in common with just about every perspective. The more I thought about it the more I realized I've always been that way.
In high school the big deal is which "crowd" you are a part of. Jock, nerd, goth, bimbo... they all have a crowd. I never picked a crowd and instead lived as a floater, a nomad. One day I'd eat lunch with the jocks, next day I'd eat with the brains, then move to the funny table. I was very good at making acquaintances with everybody, but I never had any really close friends. There was always a distance there... I sat on the fence and watched the cliques form.
In churches I've seen huge battles between the "conservatives" and the "liberals". Some of these happened while I was serving in a formal church role, but even then I'd sort of sit outside the debate, hoping we could just love each other and let it go.
Most of the personality tests I've taken (and as a part of business school, I took many) showed me to be a "chameleon", a person who switches among all personality types depending on the setting. Everybody does this at some level, I think, but I can almost reinvent myself from moment to moment, conversation to conversation. It's fun but it always leaves me at the edges, never completely invested in any one social group.
The fact that I'm on the edge, or on the fence, or on the sidelines, doesn't mean that I don't participate. I just participate in my own way, often a very subtle way, so subtle that some people may interpret as missing the game.
I think the world needs people who pick a team and go full-steam ahead with their perspectives. People like that have a way of getting big things done. And the people on the other team, moving full-steam ahead in the opposite direction, have a way of tempering the first group and keeping them from going too far, too fast. Republican/Democrat checks and balances are one example of this dynamic at work.
At the same time, I think the world needs people who don't fit into the main two camps. People who who don't care about picking a team but love analyzing the game and identifying trends in the sport as a whole. That's me.
The two games that I'm watching right now are politics and religion. I'm seeing huge battles in each. And in neither case am I going to pick a team. But I think I still have something to contribute.