Beginning a conversation

The world is changing, and I don’t know anyone who will doubt this simple truth.  In our culture, this “simple truth” elicits a great deal of fear and mistrust between people- many of whom would generally otherwise get along quite nicely if they knew each other on different terms.  Between right and left talking heads and pundits, the news at 5pm, 6pm, 9pm, and 10pm (and that’s just if you don’t have cable!) it is very easy to find yourself entrenched in fear and mistrust of others.

And this  isn’t only in the political realm.

There are groups in the christian space that are just as frightened of one another.  Through careless words  and hasty actions by both sides, we have ceased communication- and when communication breaks down, there is little hope for reconciliation and progress.

Recently I was visiting my parents in St. Louis, and it was on our way back  from the farmer’s market that we were listening to a popular political pundit.  He was interviewing a popular politician. This politician was giving ways to create dialogue and how to begin to heal divides among the republicans and the democrats.  He gave many, in my opinion, solid examples of how to bridge that gap and open conversation.  The pundit rebutted that the other side needs to first apologize for all they have done wrong and admit that his side had the correct views…

Not the best way to initiate a healthy conversation.

This interview, among other events, have begun to spin the wheels in my head.  I have been working through 3 questions that I hope to have your opinion on.

There is a great internal “battle” in the Church, and there are positives and negatives of both camps.  By that, I mean that no one side holds ultimate truth and there are things we can all learn during this truly unique period of history.

My questions for you are:

(For the sake of a controlled dialogue, by conversation with people, I mean other Christians with differing viewpoints from ourselves.)

1.  When we think of “the other side” (no matter what side is that “other side”), how might we create healthy conversation?

2.  Inevitably, when it comes to dialogue, concessions must be made for progress to be possible.  When it comes to Christianity and our culturally accepted doctrine, what concessions CAN be made, and what can NOT be made?  When all is boiled down, what ought to be held as absolute truth?

3.  Equally as important is the need to not always concede, but to find common ground.  If in a conversation with people, views that you hold, would you offer as a commonality with others?

I hope to hear from you!

-Michael

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