this past weekend we hosted in the denver area our friends jim henderson and matt casper for a series of conversations. jim is a committed christian (small “c” on purpose, his preference) and matt is an atheist. together they collaborated on a book project, Jim and Casper Go to Church, and in the process they became friends. what a concept.
participating in these conversations over the weekend, i felt something familiar to me, that instinct when someone does not see the brilliance of our position and how we tend to react. it really does not matter if it is an atheist, republican, democrat, or most commonly just my poor, sweet wife–my instinct when someone disgrees tends to be the same.
here’s what i consider the anatomy of a fight:
1. i present the undeniable facts or truth
2. april does not respond by acknowledging my superior intellect
3. i assume she did not hear me. if she heard me, she would just say “thanks, you are so smart”
4. so i end up saying the same thing, but a bit louder
5. april makes it clear that she can hear me, but she disagrees with me.
6. i repeat the volume step (#4), but with more volume
7. april now seems to be not repenting out of spite
8. i assume that if i ridicule her, then she will somehow see how smart my idea is.
you can see how this will end. i am hoarse and april is no closer to my reality. it happened each day this weekend as matt and jim listened to what was supposed to be questions from the audience. every time, someone could not believe that matt or jim saw life or the bible or faith differently, and of course all they need is more volume. or perhaps if we ridicule the atheist or progressive christian, then they will change. of course, this was played amongst many wonderful, thoughtful & sincere other questions as well, but the volume ones really struck a chord.
i loved the weekend, the conversation. i am trying so hard to turn down the volume so I can actually hear what those who see life differently have to say. what do you sy? what are some of your perspectives on the conversation?