Higher Ground: A Call for Christian Civility
As we near Election Day, the volume has gotten louder, hasn’t it? Voters, even Christian voters, have divergent views. A lively conversation about issues is critical to our political system. But at times, our zealousness can get ahead of our manners and ethical standards. And if we claim to be followers of a loving God, our witness is harmed. I’ve recently heard about a bumper sticker that reads, “Have you noticed have many born again people make you wish they’d not been born a first time.”
Each month Body Oak Cliff, which seeks to see the congregations–the “body” of Christ–in Oak Cliff work together to see the Kingdom of God more visible in the community, hosts Lunch & Learn. Recently Dr. Russell Dilday spoke to the topic “Christian Civility in an Uncivil World.” Dr. Dilday is a renowned teacher, speaker, and former President of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. He’s recently written Higher Ground: A Call for Christian Civility. (You can read much of it online here.) Dr. Dilday shared some firsthand experiences and great insights. Here are three or four statements I found "quotabIe."
- “Sometimes people who are civil don’t have strong convictions. And sometimes people who have strong convictions aren’t very civil.”
- “Being civil doesn’t mean having to give up our strong convictions.”
- “You don’t have to give up strong, persuasive language or the salty tang of personal experience to remain civil.”
- “But rudeness is a weak man’s imitation of strength.”
Some simple guidelines he suggested:
- Think and do simple research on the facts (www.snopes.com, for example) before you forward an email.
- Consider using fewer words to make your point.
- Stand by your point but don’t attack the person.
Just yesterday I was forwarded two emails, so full of flagrant error to say nothing of hateful tone, that I needed to respond to the senders, though they are close friends.
In the final approach to the first Tuesday in November, I’m seeking to make myself available to be used by God to say what He wants, how he wants me to say it, when He wants, to whom He wants, about what He wants….or to be quiet if He wants that!