A Paradox in Conflict

Is it possible to be proud & embarrassed by the same things simultaneously?

>> I am proud to be an American. Nowhere on earth has the same kind of freedoms & privileges that we do. We are the world’s only real superpower. We have been historically prosperous & generous.

And yet, on the world stage today, we are the ones who started the never-ending war. We put a government in place that cannot get along with each other, be honest to the ones who put them in power, or manage our finances. We generally have no idea what they do once we put them there. We are spoiled, self-righteous, hypocritical & pig-headed. 20% of us can’t even find ourselves on a map. In a very big way, I am embarrassed to be an American.

>> I am proud to be a Christian. I accepted Jesus when I was 12 years old at Church Camp. God has done amazing things in my life & I want other people to experience them too. The world needs more love, more helping-hands, more of what my religion claims to offer.

And yet, politicians use Christianity as a campaign slogan, Hollywood uses it to sell movies, and the rest of the world uses it as a punch-line. And we’ve brought it on ourselves. The most visible & recognizable representatives of our faith (televangelists, talk-radio hosts, politicians, etc.) are generally not the kind of people that I want to be associated with at all. Christianity is often touted in our society as a get-out-of-Hell-free card or a status symbol of some bizarre kind. In an equally big way, I am embarrassed to be a Christian.

>> I am proud to be a human. Residents of earth are truly blessed! We get to experience sunrises, sunsets, ocean breezes & the glory of nature itself. We have free will. We have the capacity for love & compassion. We have the ability to make and appreciate art & music. We have the ability to use our intellect to discover treatments and even cures for diseases & afflictions.

And yet, yoked with the responsibility of caring for each other & for our environment we consistently fail & fall short. We are slowly destroying the very things that sustain our lives. We consistently turn away from our fellow humans while they suffer, starve, hurt, even die. Once again, I am embarrassed to be a human.


I am simultaneously proud & embarrassed to be a man, to be a registered Democrat, to be married, to be gainfully employed, to be heterosexual… to have a full head of hair, dang-it! I don’t know how one is supposed to resolve these inherent conflicts in life. Or maybe that’s just the way it has to be. Maybe the struggle is what makes it all worthwhile, what gives it meaning. Maybe the journey is more important than the destination – the race more important than the prize – the quest more important than the grail itself.

I don’t know. What do you think?

2 thoughts on “A Paradox in Conflict

  1. you know, i had an uncle. name of ben, by the way.

    yeah, he said something profound to me once. he said, ‘with great power comes great responsibility.’ i never forgot that line.

    great post and oh so true.

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