As a research center, we come up with a lot of new ideas. And many of those ideas rub people. Sometimes it is because the ideas are wrong. Sometimes I explained poorly. Sometimes it is just that they are new. Sometimes they are half baked potatoes that need more time in the oven.
Regardless of the cause, there are always going to be people in the Tribe who react to something I teach.
Some who disagree attack me. Others explore the disagreement productively.
Below is a real exchange between me and someone from the Tribe, on a real issue. I post this here for you to see how to disagree PRODUCTIVELY.
Read the interaction, then I will draw out the principles of fighting right.
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Good day Arthur
Thank you for all the wisdom in An Epic Season it helped a lot, but there is something I do not understand.
You say this virus/epidemic is from God but then you say also there is no one that can go into a hospital and heal everyone that have the virus.
That is what I do not understand.
If the virus is God's will, may any person then even think to go against His will and heal everyone in an hospital or other place (the people will all be strangers) will it not be rebellion against God's clear will?
And if someone you know gets it - does the same rule then apply- hands off because it is God's will!??
Sorry for the dumb question, you are welcome to ignore it
Thank you and blessings
* * *
I very much appreciate the tone of your question. This kind of clarifying pursuit of perspective is very welcome and refreshing.
Try Numbers 16.
Clearly a plague sent by God. Clearly the people were not terribly repentant. One man had the authority and the strategy to stop it AND HE DID.
I absolutely think we should be fighting tooth and nail to grow into the spiritual authority needed to heal COVID in our loved ones and for strangers.
I was simply saying it is a terrible indictment of the Church, with all our talk about signs and wonders and miracles, that we were not ready for this.
But we can still dig out. Look at the book of Judges. People were born and raised into slavery to one or another of the “. . .ites” but at some point in time, they found their fight and rose up and pushed back the enemy and broke the season of judgment.
We should too.
Is the second blast of COVID, in part, the result of the church not having fought to learn the lessons it needed to learn in the last six months, so God is raising the pressure for us to step up?
Don’t know. Just wondering.
Finally, would you permit me to post your question, unedited, and my answer on a blog? I think a lot of people could benefit from this dialog.
* * *
Thank you, Arthur
Yes you may post it.
* * *
Now here are my observations about why this was a highly productive exchange.
1) She wrote!
So many people form an opinion of what I was saying, sit in judgment on me, and proclaim my errors to their social media followers.
For Sally to write and confront was an honorable act, not a threat to me at all. She extended to me the option of clarifying.
2) No psychoanalysis
I am well aware that everyone and his puppy dog is a pop-psychologist these days. Nonetheless, it is hugely unhelpful to include in your confrontation an explanation of where you think I am wounded, demonized, or lacking character, and how those things shaped my perceived theology.
Just stick to the theology of the situation. It makes for a better exploration of issues.
3) She responded
Most attackers are just like the Pharisees of old. They challenge me, pointing out where I am wrong. I present a passage in Scripture and ask them how this passage fits in their theology. I don’t tell them they are wrong, I invite them to a dialog around a bigger view of Scripture.
And then, like the Pharisees, they ghost me. That is simply childish.
Be adults. Don’t start a rumble unless you plan on staying for the end. We may not agree. That is fine. I don’t need a concession speech from you. Just don’t vanish in a cowardly way.
Now from my side, here are some principles I employed.
1) I defined the objective
“This kind of clarifying pursuit of perspective is very welcome and refreshing.”
I made it plain that I was not defensive, and this was not a win/lose proposition. It was a pursuit of perspective.
2) I assumed competence on her part
When I gave her the chapter where the Biblical story lay, I didn’t break it all out and drill down to the specific tense of a Hebrew word that proved my point.
I assumed she was a competent Bible student, gave her just the chapter, and allowed her to partner with the Spirit to see what she could see there that applied to the question.
3) I framed it as a journey
Rather than drill down on the specific right/wrong of one real or imaginary situation, I painted the picture in broad strokes of a nation or a religious stream that had choices and could go this way or that. Presenting choices is so much more edifying than presenting dogma.
These kinds of discussions are healthy, helpful and a delight.
My creating confusion and tension with new ideas is inevitable. How you respond to that confusion and tension is up to you.
I would love to explore them with you fluidly, using these parameters.
Copyright by Arthur Burk
Healthy discussion, which some see as confrontation, is a valuable part of life. It was refreshing to see a healthy dialogue, not in the context of someone needing to be right, but the sharing of how to look at a situation and then open it for the give and take of adult dialogue. thank you for sharing both parts of it.
Many arguments grow out of the situation that two sides have a differing observation point of an event, kind of like the witnesses of a car accident see different details and come to different conclusions depending on their individual observations and from which angel they got to observe the crash.
So very often I see the other side lacking a big junk of information to see the whole picture. But just presenting the information is often met with resentment, because they don't want to be wrong.
To get around that I try to ask questions rather than making statements and thus get the other person to consider something they have not thought about before.
Sally did ask questions in her first response.
And of course Arthur always broadens my horizon. Thank you.
You REALLY ADD VALUE by opening it up like this... I would sometimes respond wrongly BECAUSE of MY VERY DEEPLY INGRAINED presuppositions ...
I plan to change!!!!
Thank you Arthur for this strategy of developing perspective by asking questions we don’t understand. Sallies question made sense and your biblical view is informing us and clarifying a seem to be a contradiction. I learn so much from you.
God bless you and your family from SA
Thanks for the clarification, Arthur.
This is awesome! Fighting right is more important than just being right. One leaves room for discussion and growth, leaving room for dignity of each as a person. “Being right” creates a breeding ground for offense and someone being left in the dust. Nobody wins. Thank you to both of you for a simple and clear example of how to do this well. Growing myself. Learned a better approach today on asking questions when I may disagree and how to respond when disagreed with. I am choosing to grow in both. Blessings.
No comment....just a thank you for your investing, using every situation to teach us something
Thank you Arthur this is truly a life skill. Coming from a broken home with a lot of fighting this was not modeled. I need to ask Father God how I can remove the damaged model that has become part of me/ default setting. I realized the principle you reap what you sew. I need to stop the sewing.
Thank you for your gracious exchanges with others and how it indeed opens our perspective.
I have been off facebook since early February, so have missed much of what you have shared. Perhaps you have already spoken on this.
As I read your comments, I am wondering about the role of repentance in all this, and this meaning the repentance of believers, or the church as a whole, a true godly sorrow, not just an action. I am reading Jeremiah, and in chapter 7 God has Jeremiah proclaim that they should not pray for the people nor plead with Him. Interesting statement. Throughout the book there is a continual call for them to return to Him, to repent, and then He speaks of the future blessings. This is of course a message to Judah and Israel and reflects Deuteronomy 30. Yet, are there not some principles given for us as believers today?
Where are we as noble subjects in the midst of this pandemic regarding being truly right before the Lord? As you mentioned, we were not ready. Is this not key to our being able to regain ground and pray and fight for those suffering today? Should we not be searching our hearts with Holy Spirit continually so He can continuing His perfecting work, and we can do those good works He has prepared in advance for us to do in these days? What is that godly sorrow really? I’m journeying through all this as He leads me through a big transition. I guess I just want to be ready moving forward.
If there are any of your teachings or articles you can point me to, that would be beneficial. I thank you in advance, and again thank you for your testimony and ministry.
Replied by : Arthur Burk
Kudos to Sally for engaging with a good question, and double kudos to Arthur for not only answering the question well, but opening up the tool box for all of us to look into and learn from.
Most of us have only learned to fight to win, leaving a path of destruction behind us. But very few of us have learned to fight to build, leaving things (and people) better off for it. I remember being challenged by earlier teachings about learning to fight productively. Also, about developing a reconciliation model, with mindful intentionality for a redemptive outcome. I have failed often in trying to implement those tools, but I also think I have (mostly) failed forward.
Thank you both.
Great dissection of a conversation.
The communication skills you exhibit, are ones we all should have learned by middle school.
How sad, that most of us have much narrower thought processes.
Questions and discussion should never be seen as a personal attack, but rather a great opportunity to stretch our minds and imagination.
Not unlike a friendly sparring session.
Thanks for posting this exchange! I love the teaching opportunity. We can all grow in this area of fighting fair, at least I sure can.........
I hope to apply this in all aspects of my own life at work, in church community and at large. I stay off deep discussions, even shallow discussions on social media for the reasons you pointed out.
I also thought a great title could be; “Simple Ways to Destroy a Reality Show’s Popularity.”
Thank you for publishing the email and your response. It was a refreshing exchange. Thanks for modeling it. Sound reasoning and biblical truth.
Replied by : Arthur Burk
I enjoyed reading someone's comments that could explore in a healthy way and your response Arthur. Both of you walked in humility in the exchange and it was filled with beauty and virtue.