Demetrius and I attended First Friday at the local Unitarian Universalist church last night. On the first Friday of every month, there is a potluck followed by several choices of speakers, discussions, and activities. The main forum this evening was about the appropriateness of churches being involved in matters of public policy. There were four speakers, and what you see below are some of the remarks from Gary Lankford, president of the Ohio Restoration Project. He kept emphasizing that we need to really listen to each other, and learn to disagree, without being disagreeable. That quickly becomes difficult, for me, anyway. Part of his talk below...
The reason I'm here instead of at a high school football game on a Friday night, is because I think community forums are important, and I think we're in danger in our society of losing our ability to disagree without being disagreeable. I've heard three very different perspectives, and I agree with all three of you on some points, and disagress vigorously with some of you on other points, but I'm happy to say that I consider you brothers in Christ, and hope we can find some point of commonality. Not only within the Body of Christ, but with other Americans who don't count themselves as part of our faith tradition. So, what I'd like to offer tonight is something that I've learned in dialog with what I call "liberals of good will". You know, there's a tendency in America to polarize and to demonize people who think differently than we do. I've heard lots of angry rhetoric on both sides, and yet when I sit down and talk with real people who disagree with me vigorously, I find that once we get through the initial friction, we're able to talk about some things and work on some things, and accomplish a little something, at least relationally, and find some points of commonality. And that's what I want--to help share with you some of the things that I'm learning, and maybe help you understand what it's like on the Evangelical side of the aisle.
There's more, but I'm still working on it. I really appreciated hearing Eric Williams, who spoke first, and was one of the main people behind the IRS complaint that was filed against two major churches that were practically endorsing Ken Blackwell. I'm hoping to write up some of what he said next.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
Posted by Renee in Ohio at 3:31 PM