I tend to think of my mom as pretty open minded and accepting. She is the type of person who makes friends with strangers in line, no matter where she is. Every once in a while, however, I am reminded of our generational differences and it usually includes the phrase “not that it matters.”
I took notice during many of our outings and discussions that she often makes an observation, comments to me about it, and then follows the comment with “not that it matters.”
The observation isn’t what it important; it could be a guy covered head to toe in tattoos, a girl with a nose piercing, a gay couple or an interracial couple walking hand in hand. What’s important to me is the comment that follows. When we say “not that it matters,” it seems to me to be the same as saying “I'm fine” or “no offense.” When adding that commentary, I feel we are alerting the person we are speaking to that we mean quite the opposite.
I don’t expect people to not have opinions, or to not make observations, just to look into why it matters to you, because it does. In my mom’s case, she grew up in a vastly different world. She was there for the desegregation busing in Boston in the 70s and for the AIDS crisis in the 80s. It is hard for her to retrain her brain to get rid of the stigmas. She is trying though, and I give her a lot of credit for her efforts.
One Sunday Associate Conference Minister Dom Remick spoke to us about visioning and how to increase the vitality of the church. The biggest take away for me was to set your church up to be relevant in 2060. You do this by being the church the next generations want and need. At the moment I feel like we are a “not that it matters" church. We say everyone is welcome, no matter who they or where they are on life’s journey, but we still feel the need to add those pesky four words to the end of our observations.
I challenge everyone to think about their “not that it matters" moments and find out why it matters to say those words… to get to the root of it and ask yourself, does this or should this actually matter? I think at the end of the day, more often than not, you will be able to say that it doesn't.
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