Friday, February 24, 2017

Talking about differences

I was saddened today by the news that Alan Colmes has passed away. Colmes was the liberal half of Hannity and Colmes on Fox for a number of years before the channel gave Hannity the program by himself. Colmes remained a political commentator on Fox providing liberal insights on the news of the day.

Although I seldom agreed with most of Colmes' views, I deeply appreciated the way he conducted himself as he debated with the more conservative commentators at Fox. I seldom heard Colmes interrupt a speaker or try to shout over those with whom he disagreed. Frankly, I've stopped watching most of those who debate political and social issues on television because of the way they approach their debates. Most seem to think if they interrupt and talk louder it makes their points stronger. Colmes did not approach his discussions like that. He spoke in even tones, presented his views, explained why he believed as he did, and listened to opposing views. I admired him very much, and from the comments that have appeared today, so did many others.

Colmes provided the type of civil discussion that is often missing today. Many in our culture no longer know how to carry on civilized discussion. Rather than trying to explain their views many begin to personally attack those who disagree with them. We talk at one another rather than talking to one another. We gather in mobs and riot to get what we want instead of engaging in civilized discussion.

Unfortunately, the church is not immune to such activity. Church business meetings can become intense when opposing sides begin to engage in personal attacks rather than discussing the actual issues that have caused the division. Church members begin to form alliances in order to do battle with those with whom they disagree. Parking lot meetings become the order of the day, and gossip and dissension creates division within the body.

As the body of Christ, the church must set the example for civil discussion. Even when protests and civil disobedience is called for they should be done in a way that honors God. As I stated in a recent post, Rosa Parks protested by refusing to give up her seat on a bus; she did not set fire to the bus. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. led numerous protests in an effort to get civil rights laws passed, but he insisted on peaceful protests. The ones he led only became violent when officials made them violent.

I did not know Alan Colmes personally, and any opinion I have of him comes only from watching him on TV, but I found him to be a gentleman who held to strong beliefs about politics and social issues. He defended his positions well and in a way that was decent and honorable. Even his critics have said today that he was a kind and caring man, a decent human being, who will be missed. May that be said of each of us when we pass.

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