tension and paradox.
recognizing valid points on both sides of a complex issue.

When I agree with someone about a point they make,
it does NOT follow that I agree with EVERYthing they say or believe.
When I DISagree with someone about a point they make,
it does NOT follow that I disagree with EVERYthing they say or believe.

If you know me, you know I read and research a lil’ bit. 😉
I often say that I “eat the chicken and spit out the bones” and I’m not talking about barbecue.

I can honestly say I don’t limit my searching and learning to align with my own “latitude of acceptance” as it’s called in communication theory. I have books written by atheists organized alphabetically along with theologians in the apologetic section of my bookshelves. Doesn’t make me a heretic.

I research all sides of an issue because I’ve come to understand that dismissing, ignoring or ridiculing alternative viewpoints doesn’t invalidate them or strengthen my own beliefs.

Very often, this kind of research puts me in the position of recognizing valid points on both sides of a complex issue. There’s tension in that place. Paradox. Conflicting thoughts, opinions and ideas don’t fit together easily. Doesn’t mean the ones we don’t agree with are invalid.

Like I said. Tension and paradox.

But accepting that tension and paradox is what makes it possible for me to agree or disagree with someone about SOME things they say/believe and NOT agree or disagree about EVERYthing they say/believe.

It’s also why I can respect a person who disagrees with me about something without inferring from that disagreement that they are ignorant, hateful, intolerant, “brainwashed” or that their character is severely flawed.

People and issues are complex and understanding is hard work.

It’s worth the effort.

Don’t forfeit your opportunities to influence others.
part 2: doxing and terminating are easy.

Saw a comment by an HR professional in which they condemned someone for posting a link to a story and then strongly disagreed with people commenting on the post, calling them “disgraceful and dishonorable.” They ended by saying:

“I hope the people you work with have access to some of the hateful comments some of you have shared here.”

My first thought was, wait.

Did an HR professional just promote doxing and termination?

This person’s entire career centers around employee development and training. They are a professed Christian and appear to have a lifelong passion for helping people find and reach their potential. Doxing and termination seemed counter to everything they work toward. They had an opportunity to influence and not only did they miss it and waste it, they intentionally threw it away.

It nagged at me. Like, “couldn’t sleep till after 4am” kinda nagged at me. I prayed about whether to reply and if so, what to say. Nothing seemed right. So, the next day, I went back to the post and replied, ditching all the possibilities I had considered and just straightforwardly asked:

What do you mean when you say “I hope the people you work with have access to some of the hateful comments some of you have shared here.”

I was genuinely hoping I was wrong and that if I wasn’t, that there might be an opening for dialogue.

Within an hour, they replied:

“The message above is very clear.”

For a fraction of a second, I thought about responding. I prayed. And this thought popped into my mind:

I’m not responsible for the outcome of the conversation.

My responsibilities are, at the very least, to:
1. respond to opportunities to have conversation and
2. ask the Holy Spirit to equip me for the conversation so I can respond instead of react
3. do my best to respond respectfully and humbly.

I genuinely believe part of my calling is to put stones in shoes, and leave the work up to the Holy Spirit to soften hearts and open minds. What that means to me is that, if after a conversation with me, someone is thinking more deeply about something than they were before, then I’ve been a good steward of that particular opportunity.

and I need to let it go so I can get some sleep. Because I need to be alert enough to recognized the next opportunity.