I keep trying to converse with differing perspectives, and I keep failing at it. I was reading this blog for awhile, because a profile in The New Yorker and a new book made the author seem like someone who had some important things to say, things I was likely to disagree with. Disagree I did, but also shudder at the tone of contempt.
I’ve read this pastor’s blog off and on for the past eight years. He and I were presbytery colleagues before he led his church out of our denomination. Staying connected to his blog once seemed like a helpful way to maintain a relationship with a perspective on ministry and the gospel that is markedly different from the establishment mainline Protestant one I’m in most of the time. The tone there, too, is contemptuous of disagreement. It makes me feel like garbage.
I need to develop thicker skin for engaging with whip smart people who think me and mine are arrogant infidels who wish only to gratify ourselves the the strains of cultural accommodation and the death of the church. That’s not me, and it’s not the people I know. So why does that tone land? I can stop it.
I’m not giving up on listening to people I disagree with. The respectful, humble ones are the best. Those are in short supply, though, so I’m going to have to grapple with the contemptuous ones. I need all of you for emotional inoculation.