I have mentioned David Dark's excellent book, The Sacredness of Questioning Everything on this blog a couple of times before. I simply can't recommend this book enough. The health care "debate" has re-ignited a climate of mud-slinging and rancor that I thought was reserved only for presidential elections. I already posted McLaren's call for civility from Christians. I also wanted to post a few quotes from Dark's book, that speak to such an ethic. As always, I welcome your thoughts and comments.
"...no one gets to insist on the right to not feel silly. We will treasure one another's testimony, even past the point of feeling offended. We'll risk it in the hope of truth. And we might even go so far as to confess that actual conversation, genuine listening, and authenticity aren't states toward which many of us tend. Instead, we ought to seek out the company and conversation of folks who'll dare to disagree with us, people who will tell us (perhaps with our encouragement) when they think we're wrong, confused or hateful. The risk of feeling offended comes with the territory. It's worth it." pg. 52-53
"To keep it all simple and safe, we often become selective fundamentalists. We know where to go to have our prejudices explained as just and sensible, our convictions strengthened, our group or party reaffirmed. We process whatever already fits the grid that is hardwired (or re-hardwired) in our heads. It's difficult for anything else to get through." pg. 57-58
"If we've deluded ourselves into thinking that our angry mass emails or conversation-stopping talking points serve as a ministry or carry out the purposes of God, we need to slow down and take a breath...Perhaps our big ideas (religious, economic, political) take a murderous turn when we think they're more important than people's lives--the lives of those who aren't convinced of the rightness of whatever it is we get all trembly about. When we're ready to hurt someone, if only in our minds, for not getting in line with what we take to be our values, we need a gadfly (a Socrates, a Jesus, a Stephen Colbert) to make fun of our vanity, our arrogance, and our pretensions toward Godlikeness." pg. 60
"To confess that I play Tetris religiously isn't to say anything pro or con about religion. But to do it more than once a day, visit the Drudge Report every hour, check my cell phone every three minutes, and listen to Rush Limbaugh more often than I listen to any other human voice and then to claim that these things have absolutely nothing to do with my religion is to be, to some degree, delusional. My religion is my practice. It's what I do." pg. 34-35