There’s always another side to the story

US-00010-One_Cent_(1974)_AluminumAlong the lines of yesterday’s post, I need to say that every story has at least two ways of telling it. I hear elders talk about ministers that were lazy or manipulative. I hear ministers talk about elders that made decisions for no good reason. I hear church members say that leadership has chosen to abandon the Bible or chosen to appease complainers. And I know that there is another side to each of those stories.

Few ministers set out to shirk their duties or destroy the church. It’s rare that an eldership decides that a ministry is doing too much good for the Kingdom and must be stopped. The vast majority of those in church leadership want to do what’s right and best for the church.

There are evil people with bad intentions. Even good people can do things for the wrong reasons; I can look back and see times when I was motivated by jealousy or selfishness. But many times, conflict results out of a lack of understanding between the two parties involved, not any desire to cause harm.

If you set up a website asking women to tell how they’ve been mistreated by men, you’d have no trouble filling it with anecdotes of woe. If you asked men to tell of times when women have done wrong by them, you’d get an equally long list. Ask members to complain about ministers, ministers about elders, elders about staff… you’ll have no trouble determining that lots of Christians have grievances.

But don’t forget that there’s always another side to the story. If you hear it, you just might see things differently

Sometimes the other guy is right

surpriseNobody holds a position because they believe it to be wrong. We think we’re right, and therefore think the other person is wrong.

But we should remind ourselves on a regular basis: sometimes the other guy is right.

So before we vilify, before we question motives, before we ridicule, we’d do well to stop and say to ourself, “They could be right.”

Links To Go (August 8, 2016)

When a Generation of Church Planters Only Reach White People

The majority of our modern church growth strategies are primarily targeted toward the hospitable interests of cool affluent white people. If there is an interest in being “multi-ethnic,” then there is a secondary target for people of color who can navigate well within the affluent white culture. People who are on the margins economically, ethnically, racially, and culturally have to do the cross-cultural, code-switching work to be a part of a community that is designed for the cool affluent white aesthetic.

Few Clinton or Trump Supporters Have Close Friends in the Other Camp

In an increasingly contentious presidential campaign, just a quarter of voters who support Donald Trump in the general election say they have a lot or some close friends who are supporters of Hillary Clinton. Even fewer Clinton backers (18%) say they have at least some friends who support Trump.

How Racial Threat Has Galvanized the Tea Party

White participants in the darkened Obama group were significantly more likely to support the Tea Party, with 22 percent supporting the right-wing political movement compared with 12 percent for the lightened Obama group.

Nearly 1 in 100 worldwide are now displaced from their homes

More than 60 million people are displaced from their homes as of the end of 2015, the highest number of displaced people since World War II, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This group accounts for 0.8% of the world’s population, or nearly 1 in 100 people globally, and represents the highest share of the world’s population that has been forcibly displaced since UNHCR began collecting data on displaced persons in 1951.

How Unfair Police Lineups Land the Wrong People Behind Bars

Unsurprisingly, the authors say, unfair lineups were very effective at getting witnesses to select the desired target. But they were also good at encouraging people to feel good about blaming innocent men; the volunteers shown unfair lineups were more confident than others, even when they were wrong.

Burglars mistakenly deliver stolen items right back to victim

Police said Jeremy A. Watts, 30, of Franklin, and Jessica F. Heady, 24, of Nashville, tried to pawn stolen items at the same pawn shop where the victim works on Tuesday.

The difference between political posts and religious posts

electionAfter publishing a post where I encouraged people to stop posting about politics, I got into a discussion about the merits of such posts. One friend suggested that these people were merely doing with politics what I do with religion. It was a point worth considering. And rejecting.

The point would be valid about political posts in general, but not about 99% of what I see. I don’t see reasoned arguments. I don’t see posts explaining the worth of a certain position. I don’t see explanatory posts which detail the plans and policies a certain candidate is proposing.

The political posts I see are attacks on the other candidate. I see people explaining why they won’t support Hilary or why they won’t support Trump. They don’t explain what good they hope their candidate will do.

The political posts I see are often based on distortion and mistruths. Facts fall by the wayside in an effort to promote fear and distrust of the other candidate.

The political posts I see almost always come from a biased source. Granted, there aren’t a lot of unbiased sources out there. But when your source is Liberal MediaSite or Conservative Mouthpiece, I’m really not interested in reading their attack on the opposing candidate.

There are religious posts like that. I try not to create them myself nor repost them. I don’t care for them when it comes to religion any more than I do when politics is the subject.

So maybe I’m not against all political posts, in a theoretical sense. I’m just opposed to the ones that are currently being put out there by people I know.

I wish I could say that I think things will get better after November, but experience says that the next election cycle begins even before the current one ends. It’s a never-ending circle of hysteria and fear. Every election is the most important one ever. Every election is critical to the future of this country and the entire world. Or so they say.

Can Facebook posts change your mind?

facebookI posted on Facebook the other day, discouraging my friends from sharing their political posts. Someone asked me what the difference was between me sharing religious thoughts and others sharing political posts. In the discussion, I and others pointed out that Facebook discussions almost never sway people to leave their previously held views. I don’t try to convert people to Jesus via Facebook posts. I don’t expect people to switch from one party’s candidate to the other because of political posts on Facebook.

Fact is, people mainly read what they already agree with. Facebook’s algorithm’s encourage this; when you hit LIKE, they show you more posts that are similar to what you have endorsed.

But I’m willing to be corrected. There has to be some value in public discussion of issues, be they religious or political. What do you think? How can Facebook (and other social media) be used to persuade and change? Is it possible? Or are social networks only good for reinforcing previously held views?