The Chick-fil-a debate has sobered me.
It reminds me what it was like last election season, when I felt so alienated from most family and friends who seemed to think so differently on issues that I was passionate about.
Last week I was so discouraged. Even surprised, I suppose, at the amount of people and people that I respect that took part in it all. I just couldn't comprehend how so many people.... yeah.
It's coming again. Every month as the election nears, the news and blogs and opinions will get stronger and louder, and I will again feel aghast and sometimes pretty alone and horrified at my tribe.
I've been trying to think about the basics of civil dialogue. I don't want to be so burned that I just stop talking. I think all of these issues are important and the ability to talk about them is important. I also don't want to be easily pushed into emotional reactions or push people away with my own opinions or anger.
I need to remember:
1. I could be wrong. So... listen, and honestly analyze others' opinions with openness. Have a learning attitude.
2. When someone has a different opinion than I do, it will be okay. The church will survive, the country will survive, and our friendship will survive. Differences of opinion are inevitable and healthy. Keep a little perspective.
3. With social media and the election season, the rush of information and discussion is constant. So, take intentional breaks to keep from being overwhelmed or losing perspective. Jump off the net, turn off the TV, and stop engaging at key moments when I know I need to take some time off.
4. People are more important. And lots of people aren't comfortable with intense discussion. So... don't overwhelm them. Engage with those who are willing, and let it go when people are uncomfortable.
5. Don't be afraid by differences of opinion. I'm a people-pleaser. It's hard on me that I'm in the minority within my own crowd. I wish to, once I have decided where I stand, stand there calmly but without ducking my head, unable to handle the scrutiny and critique.
6. Enjoy life. It's absolutely ridiculous if these discussions take away from the simple beauty, joy, and worship in my life.