Sunday, February 12, 2006

I respectfully disagree.

Okay, introductions are over. What else is there to talk about?

I thought a thematic quotation might be a good place to start. Okay, the writer isn't Anglican or even Episcopalian. He is a Mennonite, but I like Mennonites. My wife is half Mennonite, so I had better.

So, the quote

"Love of enemy must include love of the intellectual adversary, including intellectual respect for the holders of positions one must in conscience reject" John Howard Yoder.

I first read this quote about four or five years ago and realized that this is the way that I want to approach my discussions with other Christians with whom I disagree. Too often, we are so focused on refuting our opponents in the church that we not only stop listening, but we stop treating them like human beings. This doesn't mean that we have to just smile and nod when someone says something we disagree with. It means that we take seriously what the other person says and deal with it, not deal with what we want to deal with.

Time and again, I see people trying to discuss important issues and arguing past each other, wondering why the other side is being so obtuse and so offensive, without considering that their assumptions are not the assumptions of their opponents. They probably will still disagree, but perhaps they will understand each other more.

One can hope.


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