Listening with respect and then deciding with wisdom

Is it really worth it to stir up the hornets?
Not sure how long ago I drafted this tiny post, but, given the events of recent days (like Chick-Fil-A, Romney/Obama, Tea Party, etc), it seems appropriate to dredge it up from the draft folder.

Too often, discussion (many times, diatribe) begins inside of our own heads, rather than among sundry voices. The end of such things is a deepening of the positions held at the beginning. Don't get me wrong, dialogue need not utterly transform one's view--especially when one's view corresponds to the way things are (truth). On the other hand, dialogue should always result in a deeper understanding of the position and person of another and of one's self.

Such dialogue has two movements. Dialogue begins with listening. We have nothing to say about another position until we have heard and understood it as it is held. We arrive at such understanding by keeping our trap shut (mouth as well as mind, good luck there) and our ears and mind open. We arrive at such understanding by listening to ourselves (sometimes we don't know what we think until we express it).

Dialogue about disagreements ought to end with each person deciding with wisdom. It is important to note that wisdom is not smarts, but righteously applied knowledge. The righteous application of knowledge is a skill that takes a lifetime to learn--and as a skill, it is learned through practice, not books. We need to start practicing the wisdom we have.

So, what's the end of the thing? In the disagreements that will surely continue, especially in this election year here in the USA, let us listen to each other, understand, and then make decisions and evaluations with wisdom. And in all this, let us have respect for one another as persons, for this is something that has been in short supply of late.

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(C) Laura Springer
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Laura's Writings by Laura Springer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States License.

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