An alternative to confrontation

A Different Perspective » The Farcical End of the American Dream

Alan over at "A Different Perspective" has written a piece about torture and abuse by Americans in the war on terror. But he has an interesting twist to it. Of course, he decries torture as deplorable, but instead of railing against the current administration, he turns it ito a call to action for conservatives. He's not confrontational. He's not trying to change anyone's opinion about the rightness or wrongness of the war. He's just calling on conservatives to oppose torture, which hopefully we all agree is evil and un-American. He recognizes that, as someone who is basically a liberal, his voice is unlikely to be heard directly by conservatives.

He may be on to something.

I've been writing about not knowing how to be an effective agent for change. I'm even more liberal than Alan, but it's important to realize that those on the opposite side of the political spectrum are not bad, evil people. For the most part, they truly believe in the causes they champion, just as liberals do. I expect that a country controlled completely by liberals would be no better than one completely controlled by conservatives. The problems would be different, to be sure, but I have no doubt that there would be problems. We need opposing views to keep us on track.

I don't know - maybe this doesn't make any sense. We certainly have to speak out against policies that we see as wrong. But maybe we can find ways to do so without attacking the people who agree with them. Because, even between the most radical of liberals and the most reactionary of conservatives, we have more in common than we have differences.

In some ways, it seems to relate to the tension between traditional church and the emergent (emerging?) church movement. Many on the traditional side see the emergent movement as minions of Satan, undermining the foundations of the church, while many on the emergent side see the traditional church as no better than the Pharisees that Jesus condemned as hypocrits and no better than whitewashed tombs. But fighting and name-calling isn't going to accomplish anything. It's in honest dialog that we can learn the strengths and insights of the "other side," and the weaknesses and blind spots of ours. And they can learn the same from us.

But before that can happen, we have to be willing to expose our weakness. We have to be willing to say, "I don't have all the answers. Please help me to understand your perspective, and I'll try to help you understand mine.

Well, i went rather far afield with this post. Thanks for sticking with it so long.