Dialogue Will Be Our Truest Path

There is much yearning for the finger-pointing to stop.  But no one wants to stop at their own expense.  Take the stalemate of Congress….heck, when are they ever not in a stalemate over the budget, or have actually approved a budget ahead of schedule in any given year?  Countless accusations that the “other side” will not budge, or that so-and-so is not holding the party line.  The concept of humility is far from the political arena.

This brings up the incredible courage it takes to have meaningful dialogue.  Krista Tippet’s radio show, “On Being,” hosted a forum about dialog for the second time back in the fall of 2012.  I am asking you to listen to one of the shows in which people from opposite sides of the Abortion debate decide to risk the questions, and dialogue about their stance as well as their concerns about their own “side.”

What I got from the show was this challenge to go deeper than my convictions.  It is easy to know what I believe and explain that to another, but do I have room in my mind to understand the other person’s view?  In this act of understanding, I must move into a place of humility, which in essence, pushes me to question my own believes as not entirely true.  This is the hardest part about meaningful dialogue: to be able to say, “I’m not certain my ENTIRE opinion is correct,” and understand the opposing side, which doesn’t mean to agree with them entirely either.

This process takes courage.  Who would have guess that humility takes courage?  Yet, I know that from a Christian standpoint, there is much riding on how we portray ourselves in conversation.  In fact, it has been more detrimental to have Christians portrayed as close-minded and unfriendly in dialog than Christians want to admit.

I know that it has not been easy to feel confident in proclaiming my Catholic-Christian background amongst strangers.  Many times I have been assumed to be a close-minded individual without even speaking a word if they find that I am a Catholic-Christian.  How am I to proclaim the Gospel if the ears of those needing to hear the message are closed?  Again, it has not helped that some Christians have been uncivil in their speech.

I invite you to listen to the following podcast.  Listen to what humility sounds like.  Listen to what it means to be courageous and engage in dialogue.  Reflect on how you might be able to practice humility while discussing issues that are the cause of deep division in our country.

The Civil Conversations Project (CCP): Prolife, Prochoice, Prodialogue~ Season 2 | On Being

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2 thoughts on “Dialogue Will Be Our Truest Path

  1. Phil Vasquez

    Dear Sir:
    In your article, you question yourself in regards to having room in your mind to understand the other persons view, and question your own belief as not entirely true. I believe that we as Catholic Christians, must always have a open mind, especially when in dialoge with others that have different views from us. That is what helps us to grow in our faith. We can always listen to the other view point, (it helps them to realize that we are not closed minded or so “rightgeous” that their opinion doesn’t matter.)
    I was teaching a class last night and had a discussion about the Pharasees teaching false doctrine, the heritics taking parts out of a mystery so that they sound better , so that the human mind can process them easier. A question came out asking why did the followers of the Pharasees believe them, and the reply was …because the followers did not know any different,
    until they opened their minds to read and hear of the works of Jesus. Then they could know the truth. It was like you listening to others, you have been taught the love, and moral values of Jesus Christ, the others that have different views are just like you, in that they have been taught that what they believe is the truth.
    For myself, it is NOT a question of my own belief, wondering if it is entirely true, its a testimony to the others that I KNOW that my belief is true. Its ok that they have a different view and believe what they believe.
    And who knows, maybe, just maybe, its a opportunity that you have planted a seed in the other persons mind.

    Submitted with Faith,

    Phil Vasquez

    Reply

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