(Image found at Janus Head.)
Long time readers no doubt that I've reexamining a lot of my previously held beliefs for the past two years. Christianity, it turns out, is not a set of stagnant beliefs, to quote Doug Pagitt. But there is one belief that I still cling on to. A lot of people think I'm a fool for hanging onto this belief, but no amount of deconstruction can make me shake my belief in . . .
Not long ago, everyone was talking about the need for peaceful dialogue. After years of fighting and shouting at each other, we realized that we weren't getting anywhere, so we tried dialogue instead. And it worked for the most part. For the first time ever, it seemed like liberals and conservatives could peacefully coexist with each other.
And then, somewhere along the line, we went back to shouting at each other. I guess dialogue got boring after a while.
Now I've been known to get into a few flame wars from time to time, so technically I should be the last person in the world to talk about dialogue. But do you want to know a secret? I really don't like fighting. It sounds strange, but it's true. I don't want to lose my cool and tell someone to kiss my ass. Flame wars depress me. They leave me emotionally drained and sad. If I could, I'd snap my fingers and have everyone see past their differences and see each other as human beings.
But it's not that easy. Dialogue takes time. It takes practice.
I wish I could give everyone a list of ways to keep dialogue alive and peaceful, but I can't. I'm still trying to figure it out myself!
But I do have a few suggestions:
1). Don't automatically assume everything about the other person. Listen to his/her story first. Nine out of then times, you'll find out that your assumptions were wrong!
2). Don't try to engage in dialogue with someone who doesn't want to listen. If he/she just wants to make you look like a fool, shake the dust off your feel and let him/her be.
3). Dialogue does NOT mean automatically agreeing with the other person. You and the other person may find some common ground, but that does NOT mean you have to agree with everything he/she says.
Any other suggestions?