With the holidays coming I figure people won’t have time to read my blog, so that is a good time to write my most controversial stuff. I think controversy is when people disagree about something and talk about it. Controversy is good. At its best, it gets people to either listen to points of view different than their own and risk being swayed by them or to articulate more deliberately their own point of view in order to persuade someone else.
Controversy also implies extremes. Extremes can be good. Jesus was an extremist. He carried simplicity, generosity, and pacifism to their enth degree. Because of the respect he holds, most of his followers downplay his words. “What? Give away my coat? Turn the other cheek? Look at my faults instead of the faults of others? You must be misunderstanding the words of Jesus,” they might say. Or “He was speaking figuratively.” Christians like to be selective about what passages from the bible should or should not be literally applied. People like to know folks on the opposite extreme, too. What would we do without Hitler or Charles Manson to reference when someone is criticizing our behavior?
Controversy can be uncomfortable. It is for me. Maybe discomfort is good. I like it when people can get along and arguing sounds to me like not getting along. I rarely have heard people discuss controversial issues where different sides were actually trying to become more enlightened. Before Minnesota citizens voted against the marriage amendment I watched a video on how to share your views with others respectfully. I would like the ideas presented in that video to be applied to any controversial issue.