Sunday, January 28, 2018

Arguing 101

A few years ago, I remember having a conversation with a 4th grader about how deeply unfair it was that her friend would play tag with her, but then refuse to acknowledge that she had been tagged. This was a 20 minute conversation that was honestly one of the most passionate debates I'd ever witnessed.

We like to think of "arguments" as this specific visual we get from the movies: with people screaming and throwing things and crying in the corner. But I also remember standing in the classroom of a bunch of fifth graders who were begging me to teach them how to argue. 

It was hilarious.

These guys got the idea: arguing is the presentation of ideas. And it's particularly important to understand that your ideas might not get adopted by the other side. (THAT point was a little harder to get the 5th graders to understand, but hey, there are a lot of us who have a hard time with that...myself included.)

Today, it's assumed that we argue about things that carry a little more weight. And that's what we covered tonight: arguing for the right causes. Arguing the right way. And arguing with the resolution to learn something - about others, about ourselves - is the right way to argue. live.

Strengthen your resolve, guys. Argue with those whom you love: in order to discover things that will help us all be better people. And always remember that this is what we're here for - to make each other better, and to be better ourselves.

"Let us then pursue what leads to peace and to building up one another."
~ Romans 14:19

Much love,
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist

Sunday, January 14, 2018

The Great Debate

I like having you guys debate things. It's always interesting to me to see how people do when told to research the opposing side. Especially if they are vehemently opposed to the side they're researching.

I know being staunchly on your side is all the rage these days, what with anyone and everyone getting offended about everything (and, let's be real, some pretty offensive stuff going on out there), but there's also that crazy little notion of asking "why?"

Why does the other side think this? Why aren't they budging? Without focusing on what it is they're saying: why are they saying it?

There's a great quote floating around out there for all your writers who love a good villain. It goes something like this (paraphrasing): "You'll never understand a villain until you know why he is the hero in his own mind."

Everyone is going to see themselves as the one who is right. The more informed one. The more compassionate one. The more intelligent one. Whatever it is - just about everyone you meet is going to feel this way about themselves, particularly when dealing with those really deep dark issues that no one seems to be able to agree on. There's a whole lot of finger-pointing and pontificating and backstabbing and mudslinging, and a lot less actual conversation or change than we would like to think.

Because to our side, the other side is villainous. But it's doubtful they're over there just wringing their hands, cackling, and hoping the world goes up in smoke. Whatever misinformed or untruthful stance they have, it's because it's rooted a deep conviction - a belief system that it's very likely we know nothing about. And within that belief system, it's actually us who are the villains.

If we never take the time to understand why they do what they do, how can we expect them to change? By wagging our finger at them a lot until they're so guilty they break down and conform? Doesn't seem to work very well. But seeing where they come from - not as a means of overhauling our own beliefs, but as a ways to understand them as our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ - THAT is what will change the world.

Much love,
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Jiminy Cricket

Thanks for that, Jiminy.

The confusing thing about today's day and age is that our consciences are guided by those whose consciences have been formed by society. And ask anyone what their opinion is of "society" these days and you're sure to get a pretty eye-roll-y answer.

So how can we be sure that our consciences aren't being grown the wrong way?

There are truths we just know: killing is wrong, stealing is wrong, animal abuse is wrong, etc.

And there are issues that aren't quite so black and white: like killing in self-defense, stealing to feed your family, hurting an animal that's attacking someone... who are we to decide the rightness and wrongness of some things?

A while ago, I was watching Daredevil on Netflix, which is a hilarious show from a Catholic perspective because they get a lot wrong. And isn't that just one of those things we as humans love? To find mistakes so that we can gloat about how we found them?

But, at one point, the priest is having a conversation with the main character, and the main character admits that he feels guilty about something. And the priest says something to the effect of, "Guilt can be a good thing."

And I was like "YESSSS!!!"

Let's be real: that's not a message that we get very often these days. These days, guilt is seen as the ultimate evil. Any time anyone is made to feel guilty, you can find any number of people who will jump to their defense and tell them not to feel guilty. And, of course, there are definitely things that people should never be made to feel guilty about - like the color or one's skin. But a lot of times, we forget that guilt is a mechanism that can highlight an improvement we can make in our lives.

Let your conscience be your guide. Listen to Jiminy. And if he's being super confusing, don't worry: there are those of us who have gone through all this before. And we'd love to help translate his annoying chirping, if it helps.

"...let us approach with a sincere heart and in absolute trust, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed in pure water."
~Hebrews 10:22

Much love, and welcome to a glorious New Year!
Ceci Galvin
CYM, St. John the Evangelist