This morning I was shaving and brushing my teeth as I was listening to CBC radio - as is my habit most mornings. Yes, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation - yes the left of centre publicly funded bunch (or if you are an American the socialist communist bunch). Well, it is either that or country music to listen to in our area! Anyway, there was an interview with some fellow from New York, whose name I have forgotten, who was discussing how we tend to watch and read news from people with whom we agree. We like to have our points of view validated and reinforced. It is like we put blinders on so we do not need to see any other opinions or ideas that do not match our own.
This is not anything particularly ground breaking - but he was noting how this is increasing exponentially with the Internet being the main source of our information and how easy it is to customize and personalize the information we receive. We can tailor it to receive only what we want from whom we want. The problem with this is we are rarely, if ever, confronted with another way of looking at the information or are rarely challenged in our way of thinking. He called it "The Daily Me." Clever indeed.
I have often struggled with this as a Lutheran. And not just any Lutheran but one of the Lutheran Church-Canada (LCMS) stripe. I tend to read materials published by Concordia Publishing House - especially the biblical commentaries (which are excellent by the way!). I tend to buy and read books by authors whom I already trust. I read Logia. I read Concordia Journal. I read Concordia Theological Quarterly. I don't always agree with what I read in those books and journals - but more often than not I do (except on the Office of the Holy Ministry - but don't get me started).
I recognized this a long time ago. So, a long time ago, I subscribed to Touchstone - a wonderful journal that has writers from Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Anglican, Baptist, and more backgrounds. I have truly enjoyed it and have grown in reading it. I am at times challenged. At times I really disagree with what I read in it. That's the way I like it. However, in Touchstone I know what I am going to get. The writers in Touchstone are all coming from the "conservative" side of the Christian Faith. I also used to subscribe to Christainity Today but I grew bored of that. I also used to subscribe to Modern Reformation which was also a good journal - but it is just so "reformed!" I had to make some choices financially and also time wise - and I stuck with Touchstone.
So, as I was brushing my teeth I made a decision. Partly out of curiosity, partly for an experiment, and partly out of conviction - I am going to find and read a blog or website daily from the ELCA/ELCIC. Either a pastor's blog or from the church body. Yes, I could go and read one from the United Church of Canada to really go "out there" - but I think I ought to keep it within the realms of what I know. In doing this I endeavour to:
1. Be confronted with points of view I may disagree with as they are expressed within the Lutheran context and seek to converse and/or consider them.
2. Always, in every circumstance, remain absolutely 100% civil, never losing temper or expressing anger. One must be able to discuss issues over which one disagrees with civility and respect. I must grow in this.
I will begin tonight after doing some searching around for some blogs to read.
Finally, as I was listening to the interview on the radio I had one thought that kept coming back. "Yeah, I know what I am going to find when I listen or read people from that perspective. I don't like it. I disagree with it. I find it useless and hopeless and agitating. Why should I bother?" Part of me still thinks this. However, I realize this is a prejudice. Let's see what I find. I may find I am completely justified in this feeling and after this experiment (I have no set time limit as of yet) I may never ever, ever, read from that perceptive again. Or, perhaps, I will find my prejudices clouded my perspective and what I will find will be helpful. We will see...