Community in Conversation

2015-07-08 06:01
PHOTO: supplied

Reverend Andrew Manning.

PHOTO: supplied Reverend Andrew Manning.

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WHEN I read a book, I spend at least the first three chapters arguing with the author.

His or her choice of words his way of thinking, who does she think she is - trying to change me to think her way, anyway.

Maybe I don’t like being challenged by others. And yet, it is in our daily interaction with others, as we rub shoulders and learn from each other, that we are formed.

It is through our disagreements and differences of opinion that we are able to shape our own thinking.

When someone agrees with us, shares our point of view, we continue unaffected, unchallenged.

But when someone “rubs us up the wrong way” then we have to think about it, we have to defend our position, we have to challenge back.

This is all good, but as a wise man once said to me: “God gave you two ears and one mouth, and he expected you to use them in that ratio.”

How much of our conversation is trying to get people to see things our way and how much is trying to hear their point of view.

How much is trying to force our opinions upon others and how much is about getting others to reconsider their own.

Are we prepared to change the conversation in our own circle of influence?

Are we prepared to “seek first to understand”, are we prepared to meet each other where they are. These are things that we have to decide for ourselves.

In our own lives we can choose what we read, whom we visit, what we use as our own guides.

If we are to learn from these guides we need to learn the art of listening, seeking to first understand before being understood.

Until we are willing to be challenged by life, until we are willing to have our point of view examined, until we are willing to learn from unexpected places, we will never discover the truth.

Others are only as different as you make them through the walls that you build between you.

Let’s be a community that seeks to learn from each other, grow together and become the change we want to see

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