Emotions are running high at St. Timothy’s, as well as other places. I call us together, in Christ, to find ways to come together, heart to heart, soul to soul, and person to person, to speak to each other as members of the One Body. We have been talking for some time about initiating Living Room Conversations, and I call upon those interested in leading that effort to be in touch with me directly.
I speak to you from my heart, as a priest. I have watched ordained church leaders over the years try and “be neutral” when it comes to politics. I myself try to conduct myself in a way that respects all sides of a debate. And, yes, I am human, and have my own opinions. Instead of guessing what my opinions are, please engage me in conversation. Ask me who I voted for. I will be happy to tell you and will ask you in return, and then we can have a respectful conversation. Please do not interpret me, I would rather do that myself, as I know you want to do for yourself.
I have heard from a number of you, criticizing our bishop’s public statement about our recent election. And I have heard from a number of you criticizing me for not taking a clearer stand on the other side of things.
The ways we speak to each other now says EVERYTHING about who St. Timothy’s is as a community and a spiritual home. If there was ever a time for St. Timothy’s to practice respectful, civil and direct conversation, it is now.
This is a time for deep humility and introspection.
Here are some practical tips:
- Assume the best about the other.
- Believe that the other wants the same thing you do.
- Pray to enter conversation with an open heart, ready to be changed (and if this causes you to roll your eyes, return to #1 above and repeat the sequence until eye roll disappears.
A long time ago, I learned the term “fake it till you make it” in a 12 step meeting. There is a lot of wisdom in this adage. It says to us “even if you don’t respect the other’s opinion, pretend that you do.” Trust me, it works. And if you don’t agree, tell me and we will talk.