A few weeks ago I blogged over at RevGals about a local facebook kerfluffle about free lunches for kids at schools. You can read the first post here.
Someone ‘tagged’ the person who was not a fan of this lunch program when they shared it on Facebook. He responded in a similar manner as he had the first time, accusing me of taking his words out of context. Someone tagged me in that post so I’d see it and suggested we should get together and talk. I wrote back that I’d love to get together.
Here was my reply to the idea about getting together, followed by his response.
So, we had lunch today. And I was more than happy to pay for it. And it was delightful. And while we certainly hold different views about how problems should be solved, we both agreed about what a lot of the problems were. He may be opposed to much government action, but he was in favor of Adding the Words. See–we had things in common! He clearly cares about this community and hopefully we reached some level of understanding so that when we have differences in the future, we could talk them out.
I’m glad for a redemptive experience with someone with whom I had disagreed online. Disagreeing in person is a much better way to do it. I don’t always get the opportunity to sit down with the people who call me names online. And I confess I often just delete their comments when they post on my blog. I try, in good faith, to engage if they seem to be truly asking questions.
But so often, they make pronouncements, they yell in ALL CAPS, they call me names, they question my faith and my love of God. None of them have persuaded me with their methods.
I will try to have more lunches and conversations with people who see the world differently than I do. As our world seems to be growing ever more fractured, we need to stop emphasizing our differences, real as they may be, and start seeking our common values.