Friday, August 17, 2007

heat and light

i have been having a conversation with a friend via email where i used the term "more heat than light". she asked me to explain it and as i typed out my answer i thought it might make a good blog post - and because they are so few and far between lately i'll take anything i can get! :)

i used to be quite the scrapper in groups of people - eager to state my views and beliefs and argue theology left and right. i think it was one of my ways of dealing with my misbelief that i was an "extrovert" as my social discomfort was soothed by making everyone else in the room uncomfortable... sigh.

i now judge my participation in conversations by whether they are generating "heat" or "light" - if it's a debate I want no part of it any more - (i used to think that every time there was more than one view in the room it had to be a debate or an argument) - now i know that different views can be in the same room without it escalating into chaos and anger. it's been one of the best gifts emergent has given to me. not having to CORRECT everyone's theology before the end of the discussion. gosh it's tiring being the holy spirit! :p

so if people are there to argue i want no part of it - if they are there to speak and listen i'll gladly join in. i want light - not heat. does that make sense?

it's how i judge conversations with people of other faiths too (especially those of the "old time religion" i used to participate in) - i used to try to argue them away - now i'll gladly talk if there is a real conversation happening. i don't live in fear that they will pollute me or my beliefs - or that I AM THE ONLY JESUS THEY WILL EVER SEE... sigh. it's exhausting being jesus too! :)


Sarah Louise said...

this issue can tear or mend friendships!!

thank you for being a light to this heated issue, bobbie!!

(and yes, it is a gift of the emergent movement.)

onionboy said...

It's always a fine line isn't it, sharing our understanding of a particular theological position and having to be right? Sometimes even when we have no intention of trying to be right but are merely sharing and thinking through as our other is also doing there will be those who misunderstand (especially in the limited medium of e-mail and blogs) and take offense even to the point of closing us off from them. What I try to remember in this case is that I am not in charge of another person's response or attitude nor need I take on their offense.

I've also learned, as I think you were saying the other day, that it is OK for me to share my understanding and experience without having to try to please everyone (given that I am not intentionally being offensive) and I need to stop or hide just because someone else thinks me narrow, or closed minded, or as you say here that I have to be 'right' all the time.

Interesting that you have found this gift within the emergent movement whereas I have found it most clearly within the Catholic Church. To me this only points out that we find God's people everywhere and so as we read the living letters that we are to one another we may also find God everywhere.

O | |

Patchouli said...

Well, thank al of you for my daily inspiration. Truly, this is a life lesson that will be passed on to my children.

bobbie said...

sl - you inspire me! :)

hey o - after you wrote that i wondered if it was a 'life stage' or 'growth stage' thing instead of a 'i found this in this church movement thing' (or else for me in was the ec and you catholicism) what do you think? - keep 'living the letters' (really like that!)

thanks patch - i'm trying to teach it here too. much love!

Candy said...

I couldn't agree more and I love the way you put it. Light is always good.

bobbie said...

thanks candy!