From the experience of living, one cannot help but learn that people do not always agree. Whether the focus of that disagreement is their beliefs, the reasoning for or cause of a recent event, ways to raise children, a call made in a sports game by a referee or the particular importance of a band in music history, we all have seen that differences of opinion occur all the time. In a world full of billions of people, how can we help but to approach our lives with differing views based on what we have experienced. There is nothing inherently wrong or derisive about this fact. However, in some instances these disagreements can escalate to raised voices shouting over one another, shutting others out, or even violence. It is important to look at how we have and how we can navigate these discussions in a way that will not incite anger but rather promote open dialogue through which we can listen and learn. Consider that through this you may not change your mind but your mind might be changed.
In the following excerpt from Penny Lernoux’s book Hearts On Fire, Sr. Luise Ahrens discusses inter-religious dialogue, which she formed a strong commitment to during her mission work in Indonesia.
“‘Most people involved in dialogue with the great religions of the world understand dialogue in many different ways. Scholars generally recognize three modes of dialogue: of word, of collaboration, and of life.’ The dialogue of word involves the verbal exchange of views and ideas with the effort to arrive at a higher level of mutual understanding. The dialogue of collaboration promotes mutual respect through the commitment to a common task — the welfare of the community, or the wider pursuit of peace and justice. In the dialogue of life, understanding is the fruit of a witness rooted in everyday experience; rather than proclaim that Christianity is a religion of love, for example, one communicates this point by being a loving friend and neighbor. All three approaches have their place in the Sisters’ efforts.”