Yesterday was a day of robust conversation. And I wondered about a lot of it. I have always been one who has tended to jump in and say what I think needs to be said. This is a great act of hope and sometimes, even often, unfounded hope. Because I assume that others want to do this too, but so often they don't.
My youngest daughter and I waged a war in which she continually questioned everything I was saying. On the face of it this is a good thing. But part of what was happening is that she would not enter into the substance, and so just challenging became the name of the game. At this point I asserted that there is indeed a power and indeed authority imbalance between father and daughter, which she would not acknowledge. And so the content of what we were talking about became irrelevant and she moved (in my opinion) into the area of wilfull disobedience.
She failed to understand that it was for disobedience that she ended up being punished and not for disagreement! Still doesn't.
Then there was the pastoral encounter in which a person decided to tell me (again and again) a few home truths! And when that was over when I invited her to look more honestly at herself she found that outrageous. So often we give it out but we can't take it.
And the regular meeting of quite a lot of local Christians, once again concerns were not heard and put to one side. Inconvenient truths were swept to one side, and more importantly our stupid politeness meant that many things just simple went unsaid...and grumbles went on over coffee or as people drove home.
On one level it would be nice to think that people are sufficiently mature to listen to difficult stuff, and indeed to invite it. But, increasingly, experience suggests that we don't do this.