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Friday, August 1, 2014

Fight Fair, Listen

I mentioned earlier that I am preparing for a Sunday school on a controversial topic, the Sovereignty of God verses the free will of man.  Thus far it has been an interesting time of preparation.  I mentioned this earlier when I shared my experience on a website that was essentially taking up the free will side of the argument.
How do you approach someone with whom you disagree?  Thoughts at DTTB.
On that site one book in particular was repeatedly referenced.  I obtained the book.  As I have read through the first part of the book, as I mentioned in another post, there are multiple factual errors.  Errors crediting positions to people who did not take those positions, as well as getting historical events radically out of sequence.

I have been in conversations about this topic many times over the years.  The errors in the book are duplicated in the conversations.  I have made some of them myself.

Personally, when a position I have developed over years of study is challenged I find I have to fight to listen well.  Especially when I have heard the argument previously.  This is not limited to this particular theological arena.  It is true of political and social views as well.  I tend, and it seems others do as well, to get into a, “I have already thought that through, and I do not care what you think,” mode.

I impatiently wait for the other person to finish their spiel so I can dazzle them with my brilliant response.  But they are usually in the same mode, so it falls on deaf ears.

Deaf ears.  That is the problem.  We do not listen – well I don’t – well to those with whom we disagree.  Further, we do not take time to understand how each side is using key terms.  There are some people with whom I have debated that when they said the words, “Jesus Christ,” they meant something entirely different than my understanding of what those words describe.

To fight fair, to be in the same arena, we have to listen well.  We have to be able to articulate accurately the position with which we are taking issue.  Not to do so raises the probability, if not the certainty, that we will address issues that are not even being stated.

I must learn to listen better.

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