Scott's Weekly Greeting ...
Today is the first day back in the office after a few days off. One of my activities during the brief stay-cation was spreading topsoil in the backyard of the parsonage. (Thank you, Dan Carter, for the dump truck load of soil!) Apparently, the individual that built the house skimped when it came to the fill for the yard. Sand. I am not one of those lawn fanatics, but I would appreciate a yard with something resembling grass growing in it. The sand seems to be a great medium for growing weeds. Sand also makes mowing even more fun! It is like trying to push a lawnmower across the beach. I suppose I could wear flip-flops and a Hawaiian shirt to get in the spirit!
Enter the topsoil. I am hoping that a good layer of soil will provide a good foundation. Of course, there is still much more work to be done. There is still about a half truckload of soil to be spread, and then I will "sweeten" the soil with some good, old fashioned manure or other organic material. Not to mention the work that needs to be done in the front lawn.
My time in the dirt pile gave me a chance to think about what messages might be found there. The most obvious was the parable of the sower. I also contemplated the state of our national conversation.
There is at least one Facebook meme that shows a pie chart with the title: "The percentage of people that change their minds after a Facebook conversation." And the image reveals the answer ... 0%. Zero percent.
The sad truth is that meme, which is intended to be funny, also reflects our reality. Many people have made up their minds. They know what they know and you cannot convince them otherwise. I read an article in a theological journal that suggested that we not even bother trying to have conversations with people on the other side of the argument (whatever the argument may be). The author's point was that we will not change their mind and we will potentially damage the relationship.
So ... that is it? We go back to talking about sports and the weather? Oh wait ... we cannot talk about sports. Puppies! We talk about puppies! Do we avoid the awkward or difficult conversations because it is easier? Safer? Less painful? But, then how do we grow as individuals and as a community?
We have to be willing to engage the conversation. We have to be willing to consider that the other person, the other "side," has worth, and that their voice should be heard. We have to be willing to admit that we might possibly be wrong. And then perhaps we can find our common ground.
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