WHEN WE DISAGREE

I think all of us agree that there are times when we disagree. And we disagree on many things ranging from our favorite place to eat to our political preferences to what we believe about religion. There’s nothing out of the ordinary or wrong with disagreeing. The challenge for us is how we disagree and our attitude when doing so.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been reading a book about Catholics and Evangelicals–what they have in common and their differences (Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic by Chris Castaldo). Chapters 10 and 11 have been especially encouraging to me not just in discussing differences between Catholics and Evangelicals, but in all kinds of differences.

One of the most important things the author relates concerns a ride to the airport he gave to a well-known leading Catholic. It took just over an hour to get to the airport and Castaldo writes that they talked about a wide range of issues. I was personally convicted by Castaldo’s words, “We disagreed seriously on a lot of things; however, we could still speak with mutual respect” (p. 148). I asked myself, why can’t all of us treat those with whom we disagree with respect?

Later in the chapter Castaldo hit me with three other observations that gave me a lot more to think about. He confessed, “It makes me uncomfortable when people assert their beliefs in an absolute sort of way” (p. 151). He went on to suggest, “The problem is when we insist that others believe just as we do” (p. 151). Are there any two people you know who believe exactly the same about anything that can be controversial? His conclusion also forced me to do some thinking: “it’s just not right to impose your view on everyone else” (p. 151).

It was also somewhat refreshing to me to read Castaldo’s affirmation in chapter 11, “While there are many important doctrines that divide Catholics and Evangelicals, there is also much on which we agree” (p.163). I fear that too often in many of our disagreements we ignore what we agree on and focus too much on those things we disagree on. Although I know I’ve been guilty myself, I love his wisdom: “While we must agree to disagree in some places, courteous dialogue is a much more Christian approach than throwing polemical hand grenades over the ecclesial fence” (p. 168).

Some of our harsh demeaning disagreement in a variety of discussions is an indicator of pride. I know I need to show more humility in disagreements. Castaldo again shares some wisdom when he notes, “Being humble doesn’t mean that we have compromised our conviction of what constitutes truth any more than being meek suggests that one is devoid of strength” (p. 168).

For those who may be interested, Holy Ground: Walking with Jesus as a Former Catholic is a very readable and helpful book about Catholics and Evangelicals. Remember also that the wisdom of author Chris Castaldo is not just about the differences between Catholics and Evangelicals. I’ve tried to highlight some principles and ideas that seem helpful for dealing with our disagreements with others if we will apply them.

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WHO ARE YOU MOST LIKE?

Generally speaking most blog posts are serious, but in this one I want to lighten things up and have some fun. I don’t know why, but for some reason earlier this week I started thinking about the seven dwarfs – strange, right?

The seven dwarfs were characters in the Walt Disney animated feature film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs originally released in January 1959. Prior to the Disney film the story was a classic fairy tale about a princess who is cursed to sleep for a hundred years by an evil fairy, where she would be awakened by a handsome prince.

Even though I have never seen the movie (or read the story), I am somewhat familiar with the dwarfs. In terms of the movie, I’m pretty sure they are good guys. But most of all I am intrigued by their names: Dopey, Sneezy, Bashful, Doc, Happy, Grumpy, and Sleepy. While their names are suggestive of their personalities, in my research I have found some additional descriptions (and shortened them):

Bashful is shy. He’s not afraid to blush and bat his eyelids. Bashful is sentimental and pensive.

Doc is bossy. He’s a born leader – if something needs doing, Doc’s the one coming up with a plan. That’s because he has a fast mind. Doc is the excited one whose words come out quicker than he forms sentences.

Dopey is bare-faced and bald. He is the youngest of the gang and sometimes behaves rather childlike. Dopey doesn’t speak, and he never really tries to.

Grumpy is a know-it-all. He says no to everything. And he’s just plain miserable! His stubbornness and resistance, though, is what helps the dwarfs come to the princess’s rescue.

Happy – don’t we all love Happy? He’s so jovial about everything. Happy stays happy. In fact, the only time he loses composure is when the princess takes a bite of the Witch’s apple and quickly falls into a sleeping death.

Sleepy is well named, really. He’s just as hardworking as the rest of the clan in the mine, but he never falters to keep that relaxed, laid-back working style. Even though Sleepy is forever yawning and exhausted, he always seems to have his wits about him.

Sneezy – you cannot miss Sneezy. You also cannot have any doubt about where his name comes from. He just can’t control those sneezes and they seem to have terrible timing, too! Of course, the other 6 dwarfs help their buddy out whenever they can.

Based on the descriptions, it’s obvious the seven dwarfs are different, just like us. We have different strengths and weaknesses. No two of us are exactly the same; that’s how God made us. And aren’t you glad? If we were all the same, how boring families and friendships would be! Different as we are, however, we are all valuable and have something to offer to others and this world.

Here’s what I thought might be fun: pick the one you are most like, the one you are least like, and your favorite. And if you’re so inclined, share your choices with your spouse or a friend.

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Image by <a href=”https://pixabay.com/users/blickpixel-52945/?utm_source=link-attribution&amp;utm_medium=referral&amp;utm_campaign=image&amp;utm_content=656147″>Michael Schwarzenberger</a> from <a