Camping trips are some of the best times to have deep conversations on topics that you wouldn’t have otherwise.
It’s like the environment is structured to encourage such conservations.
You’re sitting around a fire with four to six other friends. It’s relaxing. It’s calming. There’s no distractions to provide an easy escape route for the timid or faint of heart. You can’t escape the serious conversations that ultimately arise around campfires (sucks for you).
Before you know it, the group is talking about a recent theological or political topic.
The camping chairs provide a comfortable sitting area. While the fire warms you up, and offers you a place to gather around and chat.
One of your friends asks a general question and one by one opinions are shared. You share your viewpoints, your knowledge, your wisdom with each other.
Beliefs are sharpened against each other like steel is sharpened with steel.
This is How it Was For Me
I went camping with a few friends from college recently. It was a blast.
Despite the cold and the wind, we managed to have a fun relaxing time together. No school, no due dates, no need to wake up early.
We camped. We hiked. We ate. We slept. We took pictures. We hung out.
But we also talked…. A ton.
And even though we were relaxing around a fire, the weightier matters of life were not brushed aside.
One of the main issues we talked about was homosexuality. It was a combination of past class discussions, a college lecture two months ago, and random tidbits of information we had heard throughout the week.
It Was Constructive
Instead of ranting and tearing down each other, we had a purpose.
A purpose to A) know what each of us thought on the matter, and B) discover the path that made sense Biblically and logically, and C) keep an open mind with one another.
To put it simply, the goal was to think and contemplate the issue.
We disagreed at some points, and agreed on others. All the while, searching for the truth, or at least something that made sense.
This is the Power of Discussion
Too many Americans ditch constructive conversations for yelling back and forth at one another. Sometimes it turns into name calling bouts where the first person to cry or walk away loses.
Is this how it’s supposed to work?
Is this how Americans should go about their lives? Walking through life always on the lookout for someone to pounce on.
“If you have differing beliefs then watch out, ‘cause I ain’t here to be Mr. Nice Guy.”
You won’t get anywhere in life acting like that. You don’t make much friends that way either.
In the end, you become one of those snobby, foul mouthed, pessimistic old grouchy people. Striking fear into the hearts of the local grocery store staff every time you walk in
If you’re like that then you’re doing it wrong.
You don’t reach people by being an old grouchy jerk. (Click to Tweet)
You don’t create change by constantly yelling, screaming (bloody murder), cursing; being self-righteous, prideful, hurtful or snobby. Or by playing the race card, the “you hate poor people card,” or the “you’re a statist card.”
No One Wants That
No one wants to be verbally abused for sharing their opinion on a subject. Most people would prefer to participate in simple and quiet conversations (unless you’re incapable of such things… such people do exist).
No one wants to live their life in constant aggression. The next stranger doesn’t have to be a potential enemy. The next stranger doesn’t have to be a threat to your worldview and livelihood.
Once you learn how to properly interact with people of differing beliefs and viewpoints you’ll find out how powerful it is. (Click to Tweet)
How do you “properly interact” with people you disagree with? Here’s a little something to help you…
- Come with a mind ready to listen
- Come with a mind ready to learn
- Exchange ideas
- Don’t debate
- Don’t be emotional
- Genuinely care about understanding where they’re coming from
- Ask questions
- Be respectful
It’s That Simple
No yelling, crying, name-calling, or fist pumping. Think of it as keeping an open mind. I’ve been working on it lately, and I’m happy to say it makes life simpler…
Not to mention less confrontational. That’s not to say that I don’t like confrontation (wink, wink).
The Power That Comes From Discussions…
Is a power that tears down hostilities. It destroys walls that would otherwise keep you from having a worthwhile connection with someone.
It has the power to help colleagues, friends, and fellow students understand where you’re coming from.
It can open minds to new ideas. Or, help persuade someone to join your side.
It lays a groundwork for you to develop a friendship that will have the potential to change hearts and minds.
And that’s the most important part of this article…
Discussions have the power to change hearts and minds. Debates don’t win your opponent over.
Discussions breed trust, friendship, learning, and an openness to hear another person’s point of view. (Click to Tweet)
That’s the power of discussions.
That’s the power you get when you stop and listen to a friend’s viewpoint. Whether it’s around a fire or not. With seven friends, or one stranger in a coffee-shop.
Keeping an open mind will get you farther than any aggressive self-righteous chest thumping ever could. (Click to Tweet)
It’s the power of discussions.