I expressed my intention to resume my verse-by-verse scripture study, but something came up, and I need to go over it this week. The verse-by-verse study will begin next Monday.
What came up was a stressful and anxious conversation at work. It was pronounced enough to make me stop and consider what was going on, and what it all meant. The conversation started innocuous enough, my coworkers and I were discussing the new Hogwarts Legacy game that recently released. Everything was fun and light-hearted until one of my coworkers expressed disappointment that this otherwise appealing game was tied to a “transphobe” like J. K. Rowling. Another coworker challenged that statement, defending Rowling, and the two had an extremely awkward and tense exchange.
Their discussion was by no means insulting or disparaging. In fact, both of the coworkers spoke very deliberately and haltingly, couching their statements in all manner of caveats and disclaimers. I imagine that the two of them were trying to filter anything out of their speech that might escalate the disagreement. I assume so, because I was also doing that very thing. I wanted to express my own strongly-held opinions, but I was also terrified of ruining our work-friend relationships. Combing through every possible statement was mentally exhausting, and I only ended up making one small contribution to the discussion. As you might imagine, such a self-conscious and labored conversation quickly fizzled out. In less than a minute one of the other coworkers threw out a change of topic and we all clung to it like a life preserver. The tense exchange was over.
Or at least, it was over on the surface. My mind was still firmly on the experience we had just had. Why had it gone down that way? Why had it been so hard to speak? Is it really impossible to express our passionate and contrasting opinions in a way that doesn’t ruin relationships?
I know they say that politics and religion are the two things you must never talk about if you want a friendship to last, but something inside of me balks at that notion. Are we really expected to muzzle ourselves around the most important discussions of our day? Would it really be better that we reserve these conversations for flame-wars with complete strangers on the internet that accomplish nothing? No! We need to be able to have these hard discussions face-to-face with the people we have the most influence with.
Because, make no mistake, we do need influence and persuade. “Hot topic” items like transgenderism, racial differences, and abortion are the exact things that our society needs to work out today. Every society throughout all time has had their own controversial issues that they were responsible to give an answer to. Some of them handled it well and history looks at them fondly. Some of them handled it poorly and history looks at them disdainfully. Some of them completely abdicated their responsibility, turning the decision over to a select few who used that power to execute horrifying agendas. This led to the massacre of millions and decades-long regressions until the common people were finally willing to take back their voice and demand something better.
So no, these can’t be conversations that are reserved exclusively for the internet forums, or the debate halls, or the chambers of government. We, the everyday people, need to be able to engage in the conversation face-to-face, or else our chances of making the right decisions drops precipitously. If there is any takeaway from the conversation I had with my coworkers, it is that many of us are not able to talk about these all-important issues, and this is a very disturbing fact. We should all be very concerned for what it portends.
Over the rest of this week, I want to discuss this situation in more depth, and hopefully provide inspiration for us all to do the hard work that is ours to do.