Learning to Love the Opposition

What We Can Gain By Agreeing to Disagree

Most blog conversations, like most real-life conversations, represent like-minded individuals giving each other feedback.  I love it when a friend of mine posts a comment along the lines of “What you said was awesome!”  I can’t get enough of that.  In fact, the blogosphere might have even more affirmation than real life.  Maybe that’s why we love to be plugged in so much.

But what I really can’t get enough of: respectful disagreement expressed with clarity.  No matter what your religio-political-philosophical worldview, I hope you can agree: we can learn a lot from each other, especially when we disagree.

I want your atheism to help me be a better Christian, showing me the ways in which my faith and practice are lacking.  I want to see Buddhist Katy helping Mary Kay to be more Jewish.  I want Michael Moore to help W. to be a better Republican.  Why?  Because if we’re ultimately concerned with pursuing what is true and good, we help each other in that pursuit, even if our conceptions of truth and good differ as much as our ideas for how to live in light of them.

This is probably easier to show than to tell.  In the coming days I will be co-posting the first in a series of “Dialogs with an Atheist,” courtesy of Skeptigator.  I guess he and I got bored with limiting ourselves to in-depth discussion with those who are like-minded.

Every disagreement is a challenge.  Every challenge is an opportunity.  The bottom line: I don’t want to agree with you; I want to understand you.  If I can do that, I will have truly learned something and, I hope, gained a friend.

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Taoist Wisdom

To attain knowledge, add things every day.  To attain wisdom, remove things every day.” — Lao-tse, Tao Te Ching

I am not Taoist, but man that seems like a good idea.  It’s different from my definition of wisdom (1), but jives well with the symptoms of wisdom (2).  What I love about other religions and view points is that they can give me a fresh perspective on my own.  Taoism reminds me of what should be aspects of my Christianity, but which I forgot along the way.

1: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.”  Psalm 111:10

2: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.”  Isaiah 30:15

I cannot rest by simply desiring to.  But I can rest because of the trust that I put in God.

Published in: on July 10, 2007 at 5:26 pm  Leave a Comment  

Learning to Be

Stillness vs. The “American Dream”

“Greed is good for the economy,” Reagan said, and it was true.  So we rushed to our jobs, to sign up for overtime, to buy bigger houses and bigger toys for our shrinking lives.  No time.  No energy.  No passion for people.

So I poured myself out for others.  But I still found myself rushing from activity to activity, running myself dry.  A life of service can be just as draining and self-defeating as a life for self.

My soul has begun its slow rebellion.  This is a battle I will be fighting for the rest of my life.  I am doing less, resting more, and listening: to others, to God, and to myself.  “In godliness and contentment is great gain,” said Paul.  I had forgotten how much so until reading about Taoism and Winnie the Pooh (*paraphrase from Benjamin Hoff’s The Tao of Pooh, quoting Milne’s original):

“When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”          

“What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh.  “What do you say?”

“I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?”

Pooh nodded thoughtfully.  “It’s the same thing.”

All of the adventure, joy, beauty, and life that we seek are right under our noses.  God, give us the eyes to see it, and the hearts to embrace it!

 

Pooh and Piglet