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.
- A dialog on civility (johncashon.wordpress.com)