Monday, August 25, 2014


An example?  Try inserting your biggest issues into the scene here.  How
relevant and helpful are your concerns in such a context?  Is there
a larger perspective, a broader view that might be helpful?
It's always a surprise to discover that one or another of our firmly held opinions is baseless.

In Spain, my father had come to visit us while we were stationed overseas. In long walks and talks, I'd lectured my dad on a variety of issues from my position of superior understanding.
Years and years later, he'd laughed as I apologized; he said, "I figured you'd grow out of it."  That was him explaining how he'd put up with the nonsense of my 20's. Like most my age, I'd had emphatic opinions on subjects about which I knew little.
A gracious gentleman, he had offered thoughtful conversation on a variety of issues which took root over the years.

Opinions are easy to come by.  Listening to the news will lean you left or right, incline you to panic or protest, or fear.  Listening to friends who agree with you is the least informative of practices unless somehow objectivity is inserted in the conversation. Thoughtful discussion with those who disagree with you can be wonderfully productive.

Experience is an opinion-shaper, too.  The church in America is loved and despised.  The variance is perhaps based on experiences with some particular group or issue.  Criticisms abound, but are rarely heard.  Appreciation rests firmly among adherents.  Both sides have something to offer, so why the boundary between them?  The church is not the gospel, of course.

Facts and opinions are only distantly related.  Preferences for
such vary from group to group. A larger, inclusive context
 can help clarify things. Can we assist the process?
It's much easier to be narrow-minded and judgmental. It takes a larger heart and mind to make a place in our world for the differences among us, to listen and understand.  It's taken decades to grasp that truth, at least for me.  I don't think it has to take that long, though.

Can we learn early?  Can we model such thinking for our children?  And for our friends?