Over the past couple of days, I’ve watched footage from town hall meetings on the topic of health care reform. Though you can never tell how the media source is telling or not telling you the whole story, these clips have featured lots of angry people yelling at each other and their congressmen, senatorsand even the President. It has been disturbing to to watch!
The worst have been the name calling and the chanting of negative slogans toward one side or another. Above all showing unrest on what government run health care might mean for the future of our country.
I have to say that as I’ve watched, I’ve thought about what the church might have to say about all of this.
Not necessarily topic of health care (good for a discussion in a different forum), but on how we speak to each other as human beings, as citizens in the global community that we call the United States of America.
In my corner of the church, we are a close knit group. We often act like any family unit would. We sometimes don’t agree on everything . . .
When I talk about conflict, what I always come back to is this: it is only natural that we as unique human beings are going to fight from time to time and are going to think someone we are in community with has gone crazy because of something they say or do. But, the DIFFERENCE in a community of faith is how we handle it.
Or, otherwise stated as: how we learn to listen to each other. Or, how we learn to say “I’m sorry.” Or, how to confess that maybe we don’t have all the answers and do have something to learn from those most disagreeable from us. Or, how we deal with an issue and then move back to the task of being a community together.
This morning at a church meeting such was the case. There were folks with strong opinions about different issues. Passion was ignited.
But, what happened was that we all kept talking. And kept talking until we all got to a place of consensus. We talked until we all felt good about the conclusions reached. And, no one left the room mad or throwing things at each other, or even name calling. We greeted each other warmly at the door.
At least from my perspective, it seemed what happened to me was that we modeled was the best of what it means to be human and followers in Christ’s way.
Logistically, this meant that not everyone got what they wanted. Personal preferences were laid aside. And, it was hard work!
But, it was the best I think of what the church can offer in times like these when shouting matches and name calling is what makes news. There is another way. There is a better way of dealing with conflict. And, it can happen in groups full of diversity on average Tuesday mornings like today.
Let’s keep working together on this, church– our culture needs us now more than ever.