Are you ready? Here we go:
- We are possessed with listening to respond rather than listening to understand
- We fundamentally cannot agreee to disagree well. Not only that; when we come upon a differing view we must demonize that person (or group behind that claim) by making them morally reprehensible
- (Bonus point) we all just need a little more Jesus…
I’ll expound only on this last one then make prescriptions (cause diagnosing problems/making declarative statements about “what’s wrong” is damn folly without actually prescribing potential solutions… as Ghandi said, “BE the change you wish to see.”)
So I’m sorry for playing into the really old church joke (the answers always “Jesus!”), but I’m afraid it’s just plain true.
In other words, I believe placing Christ at the center of each and every area of our lives in greater and greater proportion is the very essence of the Christian faith.
So yes, a little more Jesus; 1% more Jesus each day might do us all very well…
At the risk of being redundant, I make this claim because Jesus is the literal complete manifestation of perfect: truth, love, peace, hope, grace, mercy, strength, justice, goodness and life that ever was.
He is life giving; his words and his life (as preserved historically in the Gospels).
Our national dialogue is not very life giving right now.
So do yourself a favor and invite some life into your… life.
That’s prescription #1.
#2 is this: practice.
When you come upon someone, in person or in community or online who has a different view than yours: practice just actually hearing them…
Ask questions-not in order to load up rebuttals-but rather to fully hear and understand.
And keep asking questions until you get to a part of them that’s so personal and vulnerable that you begin to see their humanity.
When you run out of questions, just sit quietly until you think of more.
And then thank them and walk away…
What you do next is critical:
Think about what you heard-compare it to the origins, factual accuracy, logical consistency and existential reality of your worldview and move forward.
This, I think, may present us with a better way to live…