One thing I love, and wish people could do more of, is openly disagree in a civil fashion. Whenever I get into a discussion or debate with someone on a blog or in person I never enter in with the belief that something I will say is going to magically sway them from their side to mine. That is not a healthy way to view discussion because if your goal is to sway them then you will wind up being very frustrated.
I have seen this occur in my blog reading and commenting time and time again. An author will post their views and then anyone who opposes them gets trashed and demeaned. That is not good. I believe that every person has room to be wrong and that every person is at least partly wrong in their positions. Why? Because everyone is imperfect. Opinions are not facts and are not based on facts. Sure someone will quote facts but what they are really spouting is their interpretation of the facts. Everyone should recognize that they have some room to be corrected and grow and be stretched and at the very least take an opposing view and chew on it.
Sometimes bloggers have really healthy interaction with their commenters and when they do it is beautiful. As a church staff person I have always wondered what it would be like to work in a environment where sharing differences on non-essential theology and methodology was not only allowed but encouraged. Too many times I have seen senior pastors either force their staff to agree with them or push them out when their was disagreement. Worse yet I have seen senior pastors completely avoid issues so that they will not get into a deep discussion.
Now don’t get me wrong a public disagreement between staff can be divisive…… but maybe…… what if we modeled it in a Christian way?
What if instead of shutting down or fighting we sought to understand the other side through a different perspective. Not agreeing with the other side but trying to understand the path that got them there so that we can understand the foundation before we judge the conclusion. And all the while we are not bashing or trashing people because they don’t think like us.
And do not misunderstand me to be saying truth is relative and that what one person believes is ok for them and not for me and we just need to accept. Believe me I believe what I believe and if I think you are wrong I think you are wrong but I want to know why you have arrived at the belief that directly opposes mine. I do not want to write you off.
Now consider the impact. I minister in a community with a very diverse group people and pastors. I have church members and other pastors in the community that are Republicans and I have church members and other pastors in the same community that are Democrats. Now we all know how confrontational these two sides can get. But can we say that as Christians we handle our differences any different? One church uses traditional music and one church uses modern “rock” worship and the leaders post blogs essentially damning the other church’s actions. I could go on and on with examples. No wonder people act with such selfishness an hate when the ones who are to love do not model love.
Maybe if we could begin to see where our opposition was right we could work towards a understanding of how to work through and around what we are doing wrong.