I love this comment. Anna, a fellow grad assistant from the University of Amsterdam, now PhD left this comment when I announced my new job as executive director of Georgia Life Alliance, the Georgia affiliate of National Right to Life.
Dutch people know how to dialog. Americans do not. Americans are good at taking a position and firing it off like a shotgun and then running away while the target is ducking.
One of the primary goals of GLA is to create a dialog about the value of human life and pro-life issues. Sure, we can power through and pass legislation, but how do you encourage people to open-mindedly think about life and its importance. How can we change hearts and minds if we don’t learn to dialog? No one truly changes their minds when on the defensive after being attacked. Minds can open to change when they feel safe, listened to, and engage in dialog.
I “read” (listened to) an amazing book last week, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert. The book is by a queer studies professor who becomes a born-again Christian and it is about her journey. But my very favorite part of it is her comments on dialog and the underlying theme of open conversations through out the book. I highly recommend this book. It goes a bit off course for part of a chapter near the end, but gets back on topic before the end. Of the nearly 500 audiobooks I have read, I would put it in the top 25.
When we are talking about things we feel passionate about it is easy to feel personally attacked when people disagree. We must learn to answer with flowers, not bullets, with kindness, not a slap. We must learn to engage and listen, to admit when others have a good point and dialog with them about another viewpoint. We must learn to defend our viewpoint with wisdom. It’s easier to throw a grenade than convince someone to join your side. Let’s learn to take the hard road and converse with love.