I have two competing characteristics that create quite a dissonance. I really love to be right. It’s one of my favorite things. I also think of myself as having an open mind, even about the topics where I have a strong opinion – which is (see characteristic one) the right one.
A story in today’s newspaper indicated that as we listen to those around us with like opinions, we become more firmly set in those opinions. As the news cycle transitions from the Republican convention to the Democratic convention this principle is perfectly illustrated by the thousands of delegates in their respective arenas. (Talk about a giant information bubble!) Both groups are hearing what they like to hear and will go home more dedicated to their political views.
In another century when I was in college, my information bubble included talk about God making the world ready for the end times as the Scripture indicates. (Wasn’t imminent; didn’t happen.) Thinking back to those college days, I am embarrassed that I allowed my view of God’s world and my purpose to be distorted by not getting more information. When you hear only (or mostly) one topic it becomes the focus of your imagination and energy.
What to do?
Recently at the Adult Education committee meeting we looked at the calendar and said a collective “Oops!” when we realized that there was but one offering for October. (We like to have two or more.) I chimed in and said, “What I really want to do is sit in a room with other Christians and talk about the election. Not argue, but talk, and listen.” we’re going to try it. I hope lots of people with strong opinions come to do those things.
Doesn’t that seem like the way it should be? No need to scurry back to the protection of an information bubble to feel safe. Let’s just talk. Let’s just listen. My new goal is to look at those I disagree with as loved by God, someone to listen to, and possibly right.