Tuesday, January 29, 2013

How to Speak the Truth in Love

Pundits, commentators, bloggers, and other opinionated people like me have been lamenting the demise of civility and the polarization of public discourse. I believe that that polarization has made humility in our discourse nearly impossible.

And we who decry the polarization offer precious few examples (perhaps because of their scarcity) of those who have dared to speak with humility, conviction and respect. One obstacle to speaking with humility is our aversion to ceasing speech when involved in discourse. We cannot respectfully engage people in discourse if we are unwilling to listen to them.

So here is your high profile example of two men who engaged, listened, spoke with respect, disagreed, and developed a lasting friendship. Shane Windemeyer, the gay leader who spearheaded the boycott of Chick-fil-a for its anti-gay activities writes about his developing friendship with Dan Cathy, conservative head of Chick-fil-a. It is a recipe for disagreeing without being disagreeable. It is a model for those of us who have strong Christian beliefs to engage with those who disagree with us, though they may be Christian as well.

I'm afraid that too often we Christians put such confidence in what we believe to be the truth that we forget the love at the heart of the message. But if we follow the model of these two men, even if we don't change minds on certain issues, we proclaim the Gospel in a manner worthy of the message. Read and learn, people, read and learn.

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