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What we've got here is failure to communicate...

"What we've got here is failure to communicate," the famous line from Cool Hand Luke (or "Civil War" by Guns n Roses, if that's your pleasure), is more apropos in America today than it has been in a long time. Not only is it seemingly impossible for Democrats and Republicans, Methodists and Baptists, conservatives and liberals, males and females, and other opposing groups to have civil conversation about their differences, but political parties, religious denominations, and social philosophies are also having so much internal tension/division that they are tearing themselves apart. And the matter of the sexes? Well, that's its own set of dueling trebuchets.

I guess I have a hard time understanding why it has to be this way. Why have we turned into such a contentious and thin-skinned society? Personally, I find it rather easy to have a logical and balanced discussion with people of different political, religious, and philosophical persuasions. I'm a Christian, but I've had many wonderful conversations with Muslims, atheists, Buddhists, Jewish, and others. I'm more conservative in my political views, but I have many friends who are liberal-leaning and even some who are far left of center. I love them all! I am a baseball fan, but I can talk football. I hate rabbits, but I have a friend who loves rabbits. In other words, I don't limit myself to people who think like me. I value all people!

Maybe I can love my rabbit-loving friend, my Jewish neighbor, and my liberal colleagues because I realize that we are all alike in one very important way: we are image-bearers of God. And when I think of them in that light, I find it hard to write them off or treat them with disdain or even stay mad at them for any significant amount of time. Sure, I have my convictions about things, and some of them are very strong ones. But these convictions don't lead me to hate others or become a snarky, disrespectful jerk around those who think differently than me. If they are image-bearers of God, then I should treat them as I would...God!

So, could it be that our "failure to communicate" is not about communication at all but is the result of a jaded anthropology (i.e., doctrine of man), or, worse yet, an immature theology (i.e., doctrine of God)? I don't decide.

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