On Discussion

While scholars debate if Martin Luther actually nailed his 95 theses to a church door (or if he instead “mailed” them), no one debates his intention: to start a discussion about the abuses he saw in the church of his day. His purpose at that moment in his life was not protest or reform. He was hoping to simply start a conversation (little did he know what he was really starting).

In the world of Martin Luther’s day, the opportunities for discussion were limited. In today’s modern world the opportunities for discussion are many. Yet, in today’s world we greatly fear discussion. And mostly because we fear disagreement.

This fear of discussion is often driven by our fear of disagreement. We want to be liked and to avoid being put outside our comfort zone. These fears show how flimsy our faith often is.

Now, the danger of not fearing discussion can be hubris. In this case, we go into a conversation with a desire for disagreement, so that the conversation might be “won”. In reality, this is no longer a conversation. And this too is flimsy faith.

To avoid getting overtaken by either of these scenarios, we decide to only participate in conversations with people that share our viewpoints. Again, another example of flimsy faith.

Rooted faith does not fear discussion and disagreement. Just the opposite: it encourages both. Furthermore, rooted faith provides open ears, knowing that through our conversations with others we see different perspectives of the human experience and thus unique glimpses of God.

So, we go into conversations with open ears, with great respect for one another, and a great amount of civility, because we are all children of the same Creator.

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