Talking It Out

Note: This thought is a little late today. I was up and at my computer at 6am listening to a press conference in German (fortunately translated or I’d have only understood about 25%). Three more followed. I’ll follow it up with a 2-hour soccer referee training session this evening. I “should” be in Hannover, Germany, but, well, you know how travel is these days. Perhaps by fall, I’ll be back attending in-person conferences.

I appreciate Nicholas Kristof’s thought pieces and reporting in The New York Times. The article I linked to discussed how two sides of the lumber industry in an Oregon town came together to solve a problem–whether or not the town would survive due to the closure of the last sawmill and the end of logging.

No, they didn’t all smoke something now partly legal and sing “Kum Ba Yah”. They didn’t group hug and decide to love one another. But two bitter enemies–loggers and environmentalists–sat down and discussed the problems at hand. Each discovered that the other was not evil, just that they had disagreements. And they could work out an acceptable, if not joyous, resolution.

They said that food and alcohol didn’t hurt anything. They’d talk and have dinner.

There’s something about a meal and breaking bread.

This should happen in Christian circles, too. In fact, shouldn’t these be the example? But sadly, they are not.

I have been a long-time member of the (now) DisUnited Methodist church. Since I’ve moved, I probably won’t be again. But I’m grieved that some people bring a theology and then the politics break out. No one can agree. The whole idea of being a disciple of Jesus and following his command, the last one he gave us, “Love one another as I have loved you,” seems to have been lost in translation into action somewhere.

But it’s not just the Methodists. The Southern Baptists have been skating around issues for some time and now have a public division. Presbyterians divide (I know of three denominations). Roman Catholics have their own problems. And getting Catholics and Methodists and Baptists and Independents and the rest together remains a huge problem.

But those lumber people in Oregon. They could figure it out. Perhaps Christians could take a lesson. It’s not easy work. It’s not all soft love and gentle songs around a campfire. But it is possible as humans.

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