Many members of my family have been exchanging views about the result of the U.S. election, and asking what we can do about the geysers of hatred and resentment that seem to be gushing up around us.
One of my sisters reminded us of what we call our family “Table Discussions” which characterized so many of our evening meals. My father was a lawyer and during these discussions he taught us one of the most important things I’ve ever learned – that to win an argument, it is important to understand the opposition’s argument from their point of view. So we would often assign ourselves to argue for a position that, in truth, we thought was wrong. It helped us realize that the point of view of those who disagree with us sometimes makes a lot of sense.
So about half an hour ago, our door bell rang. It was two Jehovah Witnesses. I confess I could not resist the temptation to engage in what I’d learned around that family dinner table. In response to their reading to me from the Bible to illustrate just how selfish and materialistic people are today, I quoted the Bible back to them to support my reasons for seeing love and care for their families and communities reflected in the unemployed who had voted for Trump in the States and for Brexit over here.
Very friendly and respectful, but quoting the bible back to them in support of my disagreement was not a strategy they were equipped to deal with. When I told them I thought the solution was love, she stumbled and said but there was something more — and then to her credit said “well there really isn’t anything greater than love, I guess.” “Yes, God is love,” I said, at which point the mail man showed up at the door. I think they were hugely relieved to say thank you and use that as an excuse to depart.