Vigil of All Saints
My boy Antony's talking about blogging and conflict. He prefers to avoid it, and I obviously don't. See, I'm a bit introverted. Really. I'm also deeply introspective. I think about myself all the time - wouldn't you, if you were me?
Folks deal with bent toward introspection in different ways. Some people keep their own counsel, while I craft a public persona (and what a persona it is!). Introspection can be a kind of self-obsessing, or it can be helpful for our growth, depending on what we do with it. It has become a very important tool for me to practice examining my presuppositions. Say that I did think that conflict and disagreement (as such) were Bad Things. What would I have to believe in order to think that disagreement and controversy are bad? I don't know your answers, but mine would be:
1. People don't respect people with whom they disagree
2. If people really disagree with me, they won't love me
3. I have to say the right things in order to belong
4. People only find me interesting because they agree with me.
Again, those would be my answers. So I have to ask, are these things true?
Roger Jasper is one of my best friends. (photos here) Roger is clever, spirited, and well read. He is fiery, and as Anabaptist as anything. I'm certain that he respects me very much, but he's never afraid to say, "Kyle, that sounds like a lot of bullshit to me. Where is that in Scripture? Come on, now." We're close together on "baptist" things, but farther apart on "catholic" things. We're each exploring the catholicity of the Church in our thinking and reading, in our own contexts. But we talk about this stuff, and agree on things and disagree on other things and ask and answer and listen. It's great fun. I try to have him and Jessica (and the genius baby) over for dinner every couple of weeks.
I can name all kinds of issues about which I disagree strongly among my closest friends. But they're my closest friends. We have to be careful when we talk about these things so we don't hurt one another, but it doesn't mean we can't or don't talk about them.
That takes out #1-3 in my little list. As for the last, I know I've got a lot of blog readers who disagree with me, but think I'm interesting and hilarious (Come on, you know you do). Do they "totally" disagree with me? Probably not. But if we all knew and thought the same things, we'd be quite bored with one another. The conversations on my blog rarely get ugly these days, and not because of an absence of disagreement and contradiction. I think part of it is the tone I try to set as well as being a good moderator.