Word-stealing or borrowing, is one of the greatest gifts to come out of the blogosphere. No sooner has someone typed and clicked ‘publish’ than the same phrases wind their way through the online world, circling the literal globe in a virtual minute. Today I unearthed the great line ‘Long story short, you can’t rail about abortion and in the same breath deploy your theology to legitimate capitalism.’ on a blog I read often. Regardless of your feelings on abortion or capitalism, the point I drew from the statement was the penchant we as Christians have of theologizing our choices. Our battle lines are drawn and defended by our interpretation of scripture, tradition, orthodoxy, and sometimes, even orthopraxy.
In yesterday’s post about life’s great mysteries, I linked point #9 to a Nicholas Kristof opinon piece about, among other things, our increasing inability to listen to disparate points of view with respect, and formulate our own opinions. Today, sifting through blogs throughout Christendom and beyond, I was convicted by the ability of people of faith, myself not the least of these, to stand on our soapboxes and shout. Women in ministry. Abortion. Gay marriage. Stay at home vs. work at home moms and dads. Republicans. Democrats. Pre-Trib, Mid-Trib, No-Trib, Left-Behind. The problem is, we have largely lost the ability to listen. To engage in respectful dialogue and hear one another. In college, we were taught that the prerequisite to true dialogue is the openness to be changed. If you’re speaking with another person and holding your own view so tightly you do not allow yourself and your views to be challenged, you’re not really listening.
What does it mean for us to be in community with those who do not and will not ever agree with our point of view? What could it mean to listen and still remain in relationship, even if consensus never comes? How would we respect and learn from one another?