Thursday, January 5, 2012

Redeeming the Conversation

'Conversation' photo (c) 2009, Search Engine People Blog - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

Sunday sucked.

Sometimes we need to get that junk out. To shake our fist at the sky and try to make sense of a faith that (no matter who we are) excludes us. To voice our concerns about the trends that we see and to ask if maybe, just maybe, we need to rethink the message that we're sending to our brothers and sisters.

But after our fist shaking and question asking and concern voicing, I think we also need to step back and remember that we're on the same team.

I was angry on Sunday. But the pastor wasn't trying to make me angry. I'm absolutely certain that he doesn't hate women and I seriously doubt that he thinks they're less important than men. I'm sure that he knows that God loves men and women equally.

I think the biggest problem that he faces - that most of us face - is that we're limited by our experience.

I got married when I was 22 and had my first child when I was 23. Because of this, I didn't even think about how those comments would be perceived by someone who was single. This isn't because I don't care about my single friends, my experience just keeps me from hearing it through that lens. I think I'm getting better at practicing empathy, but I still need people to remind me that my experience isn't the only one.

So even though I'm tired, I will still try to engage.

Not with everyone. Some folks aren't interested in conversation, and I'm getting too old to fight.

But I don't want to fall into the trap of assuming that everyone is looking for a fight. I think a lot of people simply aren't aware of how the things that they've grown used to hearing and saying affect those around them. They just need someone (or several someones) to say, "Hey, maybe that's not the best way we can say this. Let's grab coffee and talk about this through."

I want to make sure that I'm looking for ways to redeem the conversation.

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