Guest Post: Are We Just Preaching to the Choir?
by Taylor Berlin
Taylor Berlin is a senior at BYU studying Theatre and enjoys running, knitting, reading, and all things nerdy.
(Admin note: Taylor left this comment on the recent “Call to Reaction to Boyd K. Packer” post. She raised some great questions, and we’d love to get some feedback from Exponent readers.)
Bertolt Brecht was a 19th century, German playwright who fiercely believed in the cause of Socialism (I promise I have a point to go along with this). He even pioneered a new type of theatre in order to best promote his beliefs and educate people. Despite his efforts to convert others to the cause of Socialism, the majority of the people who viewed his plays were also Socialists or people who had Socialist sympathies.
I have found so much comfort in reading and commenting on sites like The Exponent that promote frank discussions of taboo topics in order to increase awareness and hopefully change of the landscape of a church I am sure many of us deeply care for.
But when I read comments made by certain people (on this site and others), I get depressed and wonder, what’s the point? Besides making us with feminists tendencies feel a little better about ourselves, I mean? Validation is wonderful, but even online people denigrate the sincere expression of emotions and ideas. Despite the best efforts and intentions, differing views are still mocked and thrown aside.
I wonder, are we–like Brecht–just preaching to the choir? Will we ever be able to help people at least understand our views, even if they disagree? (I say “our” views, but I don’t want to suggest we all think the same–just that we seem to all want our perspectives to be treated seriously and respected.)
I try to understand the perspective of others. I can see how some might feel threatened, confused, or even angry at the dialogue that is currently taking place in the Bloggernacle. But I can’t see how we can ever make significant headway with others if they don’t already harbor sympathies towards our argument.
Commentators like Jules give me a little hope, however. To me, her tone is respectful even though it appears she disagrees with many of us. Thank you, Jules. I appreciate it. I wish more people were more like Jules. I don’t care if people have wildly differing opinions, I just wish more people had the mindset of, “well I think you’re crazy, but I can see why, based on your experiences you might feel that way–and that’s okay.”
So I’m wondering what you think about this–if it’s alright if I pose the question. Are we making headway? Can we made headway? Can we have productive conversations without both sides feeling attacked?