Can We Talk?

There is a question burning in my mind that will NOT go away.

SOOOO… best medicine for that is to put it here and see if there are answers that reside among the limited audience that reads this. Or perhaps that limited audience will repost, and thus re-ask, and help me find answers from the great and mysterious inter-webs.

What has happened to honest dialogue? What has happened to asking questions, being open to discussion, even argument, and still being able to remain friends at the end of the day?

I ask because it seems as though our society seems to be more content with picking a side, digging in, and vilifying the “other side”.  This is something that has existed for quite some time but has become increasingly apparent in the wake of the election cycle and continues to drive wedges into our culture seemingly screaming at us that our differences must define us, and when I watch and listen it seems that is the sad reality.  Every news cycle tells me this is true, every time I engage with social media it tells me this is true, but I cannot bring myself to believe it.  I cannot believe that voting for someone, that another person disagrees with, makes that person evil. It cannot be true that disagreement is intolerance, or that being intolerant is just a form of dissent.  There has to be a better way.

Especially in and among people who claim to follow Jesus.

Shouldn’t we above all people have the capacity to dialogue? And I mean really have the patience and love for one another as people who are trying to figure it out. To extend grace to those we may disagree with on social or political issues (especially on social or political issues). We must realize that life is messy, right? We must realize that people have passions around something that we may not, and that it’s OK for that to be the case, shouldn’t we?  Perhaps if we would follow the idea of having grace, speaking the truth in love AND kindness, considering others greater than ourselves, being quick to listen and slow to outrage (speak), and even going as far as to ask why people process they way they do (which by the way… this is my attempt). Maybe then, we could come to the table, disagree in love and without division and seek understanding so that we can be united in what unites us and in spite of what we may disagree upon.

Again… these are just some thoughts; along with an invitation to hear yours.

what’s on your mind?


One thought on “Can We Talk?

  1. I almost didn’t believe it… A new post from Justin?! Awesome.

    I think there are several things that make this issue more prevalent than before.

    1) Access to people different from you. The speed of communication, the access to people out of your immediate circle and location, and more lead to people being exposed to more ideas than before. While there are ways to cull your access to ideas you agree with, it usually takes a post or idea you disagree with from someone, before you are able to take the steps to create an echo chamber, and eliminate that person’s views from your life. In the past, these disagreements and such would come out during occasional gatherings by those limited by distance (think: Thanksgiving dinner w/ the crazy aunt or uncle). Now, people can conduct these battles from their own home or phone, with people across the country or world.

    2) A zero-sum approach to life. By approaching life/politics/religion/etc, as a zero-sum game (if someone else gains something, I lose something) then, our natural instincts kick in and we turn to preservation mode… your way can’t be right if I am going to lose something out of it. When it comes to politics, there may indeed be true instances of loss, but by further polarizing ourselves, isolating ourselves in echo chambers that agree with us, we can easily create an “us-vs-them” mentality about everything in life, leading to us putting up our defenses.

    3) A lack of love. You nailed it in your final paragraph. “I mean really have the patience and love for one another.” This just doesn’t exist. We lack love, ESPECIALLY for people who disagree with us. Like in the parable of the Good Samaritan, we’re too much like the priest and the Levite. We construct reasons to avoid truly loving people, especially if they disagree with us. The priest and Levite didn’t want to become unclean, so it’s just easier to pass by on the other side of the street. Loving our neighbor is hard, especially if it’s going to cost us something.

    All in all, there is not enough love and grace. The need to win, the need to be right, and the inability to love others leads to what we have now.

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