I am guilty of not talking politics with those that disagree with my perspective. Mostly because my opinion on government and politics differs wildly from the people I hold most dear, my family. I admit to blocking and unfollowing A LOT of people since the election, and if we are being honest since before the 2016 election. You really can’t blame me, the rhetoric on social media surrounding politics is deplorable (intentionally used) from both sides. I can’t march for a cause without being called radical, although it’s a small way of showing my faith and trust in standing up for my values. I can’t agree we need to reform our immigration system without looking like a traitor. But I’m a multifacted woman who chooses to march for all women as a woman without kids with a career and support women who choose to be mothers and stay at home. And I can support asylum seekers and still agree in updating and improving our immigration policy. Because I can.
When I was accepted into the Book Launch Team for I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) I wasn’t sure what to expect. Unlike most people on the team, I was not a long time follower of the podcast, although that has since changed. This book isn’t for the left or for the right, it’s for all voting adults. We have got to learn to shut up and hear the other side. And while they are talking don’t be formulating a response. Just listen. Please.
I Think You’re Wrong (But I’m Listening) a guide to grace-filled political conversations is a great place to start for those of us who want to engage with people who disagree with our view of politics. Shouting at one another via facebook or twitter is useless, no one ever saw a tweet and immediately thought, “OMG, I’ve been wrong about everything!” Instead, we argue back even with facts and figures these are useless online. We need to regain the art of political conversations face to face because it’s here that we remember we are all human and have our feelings because we care.
Sarah & Beth provide a basis for learning to leave your team jersey behind you and discover what issues you thought were black and white aren’t so much. Our politics have become very us vs them when in fact it’s much more us together and there is no them when we are together. The real fear here is the win/lose vocabulary used in politics if our team loses then we haven’t won. But what if we won but really we’re losing?
“Unity is diversity embraced by an infinitely generous love.” Richard Rohr
Sarah & Beth show readers how to discover why these issues matter because when we leave our why to politicians we lose our inherent values to them as well. While our whys maybe the same our hows may still be different. But “when we lead with the values that inform our faith – compassion, forgiveness, love – we enter into even the most emotionally charged discussions with a new perspective.” (pg 69)
Sarah & Beth are clearly using their knowledge and passion for politics and faith to gracefully navigate the conversations surrounding us in our current political climate.
At the end of each chapter, the authors give readers a series of questions to grapple with. Nothing to hard more thought-provoking than write down an answer like. These provide the reader with how to understand their own positions before moving to the next topic.
“When our feet are grounded in our values, there is no room for bitter partisanship.” Michael Wear, former Obama administration official
We should do what we can, not to defend the party line but that we considered what we had to offer and offered it humbly and without expectation. We ought to see that though we may disagree on how issues like immigration, trade deals, and global warming should be handled we still ought to be able to look across the aisle and see people with concerns and values. Through grace-filled listening and meaningful discussions, we can learn we are all people who care in different ways. When we can see that we all do care about these issues we create new ways of problem-solving together.
So, the million dollar question. Do I recommend this book? Yes.
Yes, sometimes it’s easier to not talk about the hard things but you’ll surprise yourself and others when you genuinely care about other positions.
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I was provided a copy of this book by through the Launch Team. All opinions are my own.
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