There is nothing new about this idea: “People who have a different point of view need to sit down, listen, and talk to one another.” Simple enough? Maybe not so much these days.
It appears that dialogue (listening and talking) with a person who has a different point of view from you or me is becoming a lost art.
We hear the Conservatives (Fundamentalists) blame the Moderates (Liberals) for all that is wrong in politics and religion. And vice versa. There is no innocent party here.
The truth is you and I do it too on many issues, maybe without realizing it.
So I challenge you to “take the other to lunch,” anyone who has a different view of religion, politics, sports, homosexuality, race, global warming, abortion, Evangelical Christian, Catholic, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or any issue you choose.
It starts with you and me. Be upfront with the person why you are inviting them, promise you will not to try to convince them of your viewpoint but you want to listen to them. The goal is to get to know one person from a group you have negatively stereotyped (or have strongly disagreed).
Elizabeth Lesser suggests three rules for taking “the other to lunch.”
- Share some of your life experiences.
- What issues deeply concern you?
- What have you always wanted to ask someone from the “other side?”
I promise I will have this conversation with someone from the other side. And I will write about what I learn.
Will you take the other to lunch? Please let me hear about it through your comments below.
Elizabeth Lesser gave an interesting 11 minute TED talk on this subject (see video below).
“Elizabeth Lesser is the co-founder of Omega Institute, the US’ largest lifelong learning center focusing on health, wellness, spirituality, creativity and social change. She’s the author of Broken Open: How Difficult Times Can Help Us Grow and The Seeker’s Guide: Making Your Life a Spiritual Adventure. For more than 30 years Lesser has worked with leading figures in the fields of healing—healing self and healing society.”