two words
There are two things we all know not to talk about in public: politics and religion.

A couple weeks ago I did both.

Nicole and I were out to eat lunch one day and somehow got on the topic of the rapture. Totally random, I know. So there we are, talking about Jesus coming back while eating burritos and queso. As we’re going back and forth, I realized pretty quickly that our opinion on the subject as different. We questioned each other, genuinely interested in what the other believed, and went about eating the burritos.

A little while later we started talking about what’s been happening recently in politics. Again, we disagreed. And we kept talking and asking questions while genuinely listening to each other.

We didn’t agree.

We didn’t get mad.

We didn’t raise our voices.

We talked, asked questions, and agreed to disagree.

On the drive home from the burrito place, I started to process the conversation. How were we able to fundamentally disagree about things but still talk about them? I was looking for a giant existential revelation about how smart we were and how we were better people than most. Instead, it came down to two simple principles:

We love each other.

We respect each other.

With those two things guiding our conversation, we could disagree and not get mad. We could think the other person was wrong without thinking they were stupid. We could separate our ideas from our identity.

We’re in a weird time right now as a country. There are controversies surrounding us in every arena of our lives: politics, church, and entertainment. We have an obligation to discuss them. If we want to have a legitimate impact on the world around us, we have to talk with people about these things. Even if they’re controversial.

But we have to do it through the lenses of love and respect.

We can’t sit around in our bubbles waiting for the issues to go away.

We can’t be jerks on social media.

We can’t assume someone who disagrees with us is inherently wrong.

Ferguson was a tragedy on many levels.

Eric Garner’s death was horrible in every sense of the word.

Tonight’s news story about whatever tragedy happened today is just as bad.

This is called real life. It happens every single day all across the world. It’s messy, uncomfortable, and unfortunate. For it to stop happening, we have to love each other a whole lot better than we do right now. We have to start respecting each other’s opinions and experiences more. We have to give each other the benefit of the doubt.

We need less jerks and more nice people.

We need less hate and more understanding.

We need less yelling and more conversations over burritos.

Say your prayers and take your vitamins.

Have a nice day.