Truth: I don’t always agree with everything I read. I read anyway.
Truth: there is no one on earth I always agree with. (People, I question Jesus. Seriously. Some stuff he says is insane. I eventually believe it, but I’m being real. I question and disagree before I get there. Turn the other cheek? Love those who hate you? Insane.)
Truth: I don’t always agree with myself. For real. Sometimes stuff that comes out of my mouth, (or keyboard) surprises me, too.
So, I read things and listen to things I don’t agree with. I have to, cause there wouldn’t be anything left to read, if I didn’t.) In doing so, sometimes my perspective changes and I learn. Other times, I’m even more convinced that I’m right.(I prefer the later.)
Here are Tracey’s tips for reading something that irks you: (I mean: that you disagree with.)
1) be aware of language issues. Try reframing the point in a language or tone you are more importable with. There are some great works of fiction and non fiction with language I’m not a fan of. I edit them in my brain. Words can be triggers. Don’t let them distract you from te point.
2) When I disagree with a point, I try to put the writer/speakers point into my own words, whether I agree with it or not, it assures I’m not missing the point. (Sometimes I am.) okay, often I am. Whatever. I have issues.
3) take what you can. Toss the rest. Sometimes great treasures are hidden in dung heaps. I make it my goal to find the treasure of truth even if I have to clean it up and dig around to find it. The rest? I’m not afraid to let go. Truth is worth looking for. Always. And sometimes the places I find it- surprise me. I bet the disciples were surprised, too.
3) translate. Translate. Translate. Sometimes the context or verbiage used is foreign to me or hold negative connotations. Lots of good (Christian or otherwise) books use weird words I have to translate in my brain. Partly, because, due to my experience and background they have a different connotation or meaning to me, and partly because some ideas need to be translated before I get them. I’m slow. Like: gardening references or analogies (I don’t get, or do dirt, so I do t get these analogies.) math analogies (hate math, don’t bother trying to get them. Golden ratio what? Is that a color?.) etc. I practice trying to find something similar I can relate to and translate it to that. It helps.
Should reading or listening to speakers really be this hard? Well, if we all shared one hive brain, one context, one background, educational level , beliefs and set of hobbies, no. But if we want to learn from people who are different from us: yes.
The truth is: I get bored of learning from me. I get bored of reading and listening to people who talk, think and believe like me. That’s not learning, it’s repeating.
Learning is taking in new information and assimilating it to your context. I.e.: a book about long term illness can teach me to empathize with my husband even if it’s not about cancer. Or, a book by someone with different doctrinal beliefs can still teach me deep gospel truth, regardless of our doctrinal differences.
Some call this critical thinking. Others call it open minded. (I try to keep my mind closed, it tends to wander, duh.) it’s best for everyone involved. I try to find a happy balance where I open and close the gate of my mind, sometimes tossing weeds over the fence when necessary. Ha! A dirt reference! One that makes me look like a bad neighbor! Awesome!
I call it: learning. Which: is mostly why I read or listen. Except for most zombie movies and books. Those are pure mind numbing trash. Hey! I bet “zombie” was a trigger word for someone reading! I just irked you! Just pretend I said “Amish fiction.” K? K. Thnx. Is never read or watch zombie stuff. Even if technically since Jesus came back from the dead…let’s not go there. Even I know better.
Questions for you:
Do you read things you disagree with parts of?
Do you read them to argue better? (Oops, sometimes I do that. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer…. Something like that:p or I’m just immature and like to prove myself right.)
Do you learn from them?
How? Translate? Ignore parts? Find common ground?
Any tips and tricks?