Do you ever wonder how we will ever bridge our differences in this country, whether they be political, religious, class, economic, racial or any other form? It seems to me that we do a lot more shouting at each other than listening these days.
For that reason, when I heard about this TED talk by Megan Phelps-Roper, I just had to listen to it. I was deeply moved by her story of growing up in a hate-filled family and hate-filled church—and then learning to move beyond that hatred to love and listen. Her message is all about really listening to people with whom we strongly disagree. And it seems that's what our world needs right now: the ability to listen even when we don't agree!
It hit home with me particularly since I experienced the hatred of her family and church when as a religious journalist, I attended a church convention where the inclusion of gay clergy was under discussion. When the convention broke for lunch and my staff and I walked outside to find a restaurant in which to eat, we had to walk through a gauntlet of members of that church. The assembled protesters ranged in age from toddlers all the way up to the elderly. From the children to the grandparents, they were all yelling at those of us exiting the convention hall, shouting things such as, "God hates you" and "You're all going to hell." The hair on the back of my neck stood up at being surrounded by such deep hatred. So I can only imagine what her life was like until she reached a turning point.
Take a listen and see if you aren't moved to listen more deeply to those with whom you disagree!