People of faith have a right to say what they believe in the public square—but they should respect other peoples’ opinions, show kindness, and be a good listener.
That’s the advice of Lorna Dueck, a Christian TV host from Canada who has those kinds of conversations for a living. She has a rare and highly respected role in the secular media, as the host of a program called Context: a weekly faith-based TV show that explores current affairs from a Christian viewpoint.
Lorna said Christians shouldn’t feel intimidated just because their opinion on a topic is different to the mainstream views shared in the media. She encourages people to simply “be authentic” to who they are—a rule she tries to stick to on her show.
“Remember as Christians, as Christ followers, you are a citizen also,” Lorna said. “Your rights, your expression of yourself, is as welcome in pluralism as anyone else’s.”
Lorna pointed to the example of a famous police chief in Canada, Devon Clunis, who was “ripped apart” by the media for calling on his city to pray.
Journalists and commentators attacked his faith with statements like, ‘Oh, how unpractical that a police chief believes in praying for the safety of his city’, Lorna explained.
In an interview after his retirement, Lorna asked Mr Clunis how he felt in the midst of that media storm.
“I said to him, ‘Do you have any regrets for being the police chief that went down for asking people to pray?’ And he said, ‘Never.’ Because that is authentic to who he is. And I think that is such a great advice.”
Responding to others with differing views
When it comes to having tricky conversations with friends who disagree with you on ethical and moral topics, Lorna said kindness is the key.
“I think those difficult conversations can be navigated if you’re a good listener,” she said. “It takes time to listen, and sometimes your opinions change as you listen and you hear what reality is for people. Respectful listening gives you then a platform to be able to say, ‘Well, here’s how I look at this.’ Or, ‘Have you ever thought of it this way?’ Or, ‘What if we tried it this way?’”
This article was originally published on Hope1032.com.au