Misunderstanding Disagreement

In my post yesterday, I suggested that triangulation is not a healthy way to approach disagreements. When politicians disagree, their exchange is public. We all get to witness how they handle it. In the case of my recent post, the disagreement was between several elected officials. All are citizens of the U.S. They are President Trump, and Representatives Tlaib, and Omar.

In response to my post, someone named Allene Elder responded, “These two people are not Americans and they should not represent anything.”

I assume he meant U.S. Representatives Tlaib and Omar. Respectively, their constituents elected them to Michigan’s 13th and Minnesota’s 5th congressional districts. So, Mr. Elder is incorrect. This an object statement and is not intended to impugn Mr. Elder in any way.

Since this is a theological blog, I turn to the Bible for a basis in addressing disagreements.

At the end of Philippians, there are several exhortations. It says:

“I urge Euodia and I urge Syntyche to be of the same mind in the Lord. Yes, and I ask you also, my loyal companion, help these women, for they have struggled beside me in the work of the gospel, together with Clement and the rest of my co-workers, whose names are in the book of life.”

Philippians 4.2-3

People should be able to discuss different ideas. People should be able to disagree. Discourse and dialogue move us forward, not backward. Tlaib and Omar might have a political position with which one disagrees. That’s okay. State their position on an issue, and state why you disagree.

Euodia and Syntyche had a conflict. The exhortation is to find common ground. The verses extend their conflict to the others who are around. It says, “Help them.”

Tlaib and Omar might not be Christians, but they are Americans. We should encourage our elected officials to exercise substantive dialogue. We do not need to shy away from differences. But, we can discuss them and be honest with one another in constructive ways.

Disagreements are not bad. False statements and objectifying the other is bad. ‘We the people’ can do better. We can lead our politicians and demonstrate healthy disagreement.

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