I’ve mused on sexuality, racial issues, gun law, abortion, politics, religion in the past… issues that often cause polarised thinking and bring division.
Yesterday I read Sarah Phillips’ excellent article ‘5 ways to have a better conversation about abortion’. I’ve borrowed her ‘5 ways’ in a broader application…
1. Don’t be afraid to talk about it… I recently enjoyed talking to Tom about growing up as a black man in the US; here in East Anglia there are firmly held, often unspoken, views about racial issues.
We need to talk more about racial prejudice, legal and illegal immigration, helpless, desperate refugees… balancing compassion with justice and pragmatism
2. Don’t be afraid to see the other side… I’ve listened carefully to pro-lifers talking about the sanctity of life… to pro-choice women who feel that abortion is their only option.
It’s easy to dismiss the alternative to ‘my opinion’ without understanding. I now appreciate better the complexity of abortion discussions.
3. Be slow to speak and quick to listen… A couple of years ago I met Jacob, who’s involved in LGBT+ events. When I knew Jacob previously he was Wendy. He now lives with his son, his son’s husband, and their son.
It was a formative experience for me. I understood and learnt so much by listening.
4. Ask questions… Often, throughout my life, Christian faith has been about right and wrong doctrine and church practice.
I look back on conversations I’ve had with Roman Catholic nuns, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Buddhists, Muslims… I’ve gained understanding and learnt a lot about their faith and my faith by asking questions.
5. Pray… I pray that my opinions, will be consistent with my Christian faith, not separate from it.
I pray that I will discuss difficult, complex matters, boldly but with sensitivity and compassion… I pray that when other Christians have different opinions to me, I’ll have humility both to change my opinion if necessary, and to disagree in a Godly way.