Learning in Disagreement

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Criticism, confusion and false conclusions are an unfortunate byproduct of living in a fallen world. The internet isn't helping. Pure text--what should be the realm of ideas and ideas alone--is too easily misunderstood. We read intention, inflection and inference into structure, grammar and the ambiguity of connotation.

Worse yet, we can post our position to our fans and ignore the raving lunatics on the other side. They, of course, are doing the same thing by ignoring our inane drivel. We never have to actually hash out a debate with someone. We do not need to address their concerns before raising our own. And if all else fails, we can always point out how our opponent's views lead to death or damnation and we win!

How, then, do we have a meeting of the minds? How do we communicate if we have a fundamental disagreement about truth? If you are convinced--even rightly so--that I am dimwit, and I feel that you that you are ignoring my irrefutable argument, we're not going to get anywhere.

In light of recent events, I've started to wonder: How do we hope to be "winsome ambassadors for Christ" when people who fundamentally agree with one another can't reach common ground? As far as I can tell from briefly reading both sides, the disagreement comes down to: You said something mean and you shouldn't have/I merely told it like it is.

How do we judge such a situation?

That is crazy hard to do. ...if not completely impossible.

Over my years here at Sonlight, I have witness numerous such exchanges on the Forums and in emails. It's so easy to get defensive, to lash out. The harsh words of others burn. Still, the nagging question is always: How do we learn in such situations? Why don't we? And how do we tell when someone is simply clearly mistaken about us? And how do we help them see the truth?

Please continue to pray that Christians everywhere would be wise in how we speak, gracious in how we respond, and grow from the points of tension. May we never use the frustration and pain to dig ourselves deeper into our resolve to continue believing we are right at the cost of seeking truth.

The question I've never heard answered is this: If you and I disagree about truth, how do we find it?

What do you think?

 ~Luke Holzmann
Filmmaker, Writer, Empty Nester

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