Recently I heard a fascinating quote (and I beg forgiveness that I do not remember where I heard it), it went something like this, “We do not have a problem with anger in our country, we have a problem with contempt.”
Friends, we have to do better. Instead of starting from positions of contempt, we need to embrace the strength of people expressing different thoughts. I have a great many women and men that I respect and admire. I can do that without the necessity of agreement on all issues (or sometimes any issues!).
I am motivated by the friendship of Chief Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and the late Chief Justice Antonin Scalia. On any issue, they were the most likely to be at odds on the subject. They seemed to be opposites in every way – but they were the closest of friends. They took meals together, vacationed with each other, and truly enjoyed one another’s company. They did not agree with each other – but that didn’t stop them from respecting and admiring each other. The best part was that they each recognized that the opinions of the other made the Supreme Court stronger.
In our United Methodist Church as well as in the United States – our progress is being stymied by the contempt we possess toward those with whom we disagree. Differences and diversity make us stronger. We are better together even though it is not always easier together. Let us try to lay aside our contempt and embrace an appreciation for the freedom we have in our church and our country to disagree. We are better together.