Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Thought for the Day

As delivered on Breakfast with Steve le Fevre this morning:

That's a great idea, but...

Our enthusiasm collapses when someone says the word 'but'. Sometimes you sense it is going to happen. It can be deflating.

The idea of the Christian church as a group of people who agree is grand. Hopeless. But grand. We are about to celebrate eight days of prayer for Christian unity. Different denominations will be getting together for united services.

We celebrate unity in Christ and there is a lot about which Christians disagree. Lucy Tegg's show had an item last Sunday about Anglican clergy and robes. This programme has featured discussions about women bishops, same sex marriages and even where the new Bishop of Bath and Wells should live.

Disagreement. Where two or three are gathered together in my name, Jesus didn't say, there'll be a bit of a barney.

Our life, our news, our politics all operate on an oppositional model. Disagreements are set up. This show would be much less fun to listen to if that wasn't the case. We need to be reminded that not everyone shares our point of view. Opposition helps us to make up our minds.

And yet, the future might lie in the best of your ideas and the best of mine. As long as neither of us gets too precious about having things our own way.

I don't want to advocate bland and wishy-washy niceness. Lord preserve us from that. But today, for a change, why not stop yourself every time you are going to say no and say, maybe. Or 'How could we make that work?' And if you were going to say 'but' try saying 'and' instead.


RuthJ said...

I had a counselling course tutor once who always said 'and' when she meant 'but'. It was totally grim, as her meaning remained unchanged. Myself, I'd try to go for 'however' - which more says 'I would like to mention and alternative viewpoint' rather than 'I wish to be confrontational.'

Steve Tilley said...

Agreed. 'And' should not be a substitute for 'but' without changing the meaning.

I think though that instead of saying 'But it wouldn't work...' we might say 'And I'm sure we could give some time to investigating that further...' or something that delivers a willingness to engage with possibility rather than say no.