Monday, April 9, 2012

Opposite sides

My heart is pounding, as I sit at the computer thinking of my retort. James and I are debating the latest political scandal. How am I going to say what I think about the issue without him taking it personally?

My friend, James, and I are about as different as they come. He could be my foil. He is  Liberal black atheist, to my Conservative white Christian.  Strangely enough, we like to debate. I am probably the least qualified person to be arguing anything. I don’t like dissent. 

Discussions about religion, race relations, sexual orientation, and oh yes, politics, will always be very emotionally charged, whether we mean for it to or not. Anything that your heart is fully vested in has the tendency to turn ugly. We will almost always get defensive, because all parties involved will feel attacked.

Misunderstandings abound because our minds fill in the blanks of what they are saying, whether they actually are or not. Generalizations and accusations pepper the arguments. Or we just disagree with them, and know there is no sense in defending our case because they’ll never say, “You know I never thought of that. Thank you for opening my eyes.”

Real discussion is still good because there is nothing quite like the free exchange of ideas. But we need to listen with an open mind, while not compromising ours. That’s tricky.

c. 2012

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