Occasionally, via some easy-to-throw-out-a-politically-charged-topic channel like Facebook, a discussion will come up amongst otherwise thoughtful friends that will digress into meaningless banter arguing political talking points and no real engagement on the issues. It seems like such a missed opportunity, especially since a slower (as opposed to in-person debate) online discussion provides the perfect format to actually share legit facts from legit sources with each other and try and come to meaningful conclusions that effectively show both parties where we have misperceptions and where we get it right.
Now, if you think I’m about to bring you some brilliant solution to this conundrum above, I hate to burst your bubble, I don’t have a great answer. It only sparked my interest again recently as a situation like the one above happened recently on Facebook and made me realize that I have the opportunity to engage in some of this dialog over a longer period of time that I hope would be effective in opening my mind as well as others.
Why is this sort of dialog so rare in the church? We are so willing to get together on a weekly basis for hours long Bible studies, often repeating lessons we’ve heard before several times over. Why isn’t thoughtful factual discussion of the societal landscape and our misperceptions more often a part of our dialog? As just one example, how we perceive the poor vastly affects how we tend to engage them. Though Jesus put no qualifiers on what kind of “Least of these” we should help, we have a tendency to. A discussion of Why are the Poor Poor? Is definitely in order and it will bring up all the tough subjects like race and oppression, critical looks at capitalism and perceived democracy. Is there a way for Christians to come together from opposite ends of the political spectrum and have constructive dialogs on these topics? I’d like to be a part of that conversation if it’s possible.