How To Talk About The Hard Things

I am an avoider. If the conversation takes a turn towards controversy, I’m the first to try and lighten the mood. When it comes to a “fight or flight” response, I’m already on a bus halfway home before anyone has time to ask my opinion. Yet, I somehow find myself surrounded with friends and colleagues who enjoy challenging each other in a hearty discussion on theology, social justice issues, or any number of hot button political topics. They thrive under scrutiny, and truly find joy in these spirited debates. They love to dive into the deep end and look for God in these areas the world tries to keep us Christians out of. I have learned that these conversations are not only unavoidable in this day in age, but they can be healthy and healing. Here are some tips I’ve picked up as a long time observer and recent (albeit, cautious) participant:

1. Ask good questions

Image via Flickr

Image via Flickr

When you ask meaningful questions, and then pointed follow up questions, you allow the other person to express themselves and really think about why they hold the beliefs they do. Sometimes this is the only role you will play in the conversation, and it is enough. You get to know the person and their opinion more, and you get to challenge their thinking process, all while not saying a word of your own stance. Asking questions diffuses tension and gives way to depth.

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