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Christian author explains how to talk politics with family at Christmas

via Kris Vallotton on YouTube
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Denise Gitsham’s book, “Politics for People Who Hate Politics,” encourages Christians to engage in politics without succumbing to divisiveness.

She emphasizes the importance of maintaining relationships and valuing humility when engaging in political conversations, advising individuals to approach discussions with curiosity and a willingness to learn.

“We have become not just people that believe something, but instead of saying ‘You’re wrong, and I’m right,’ we’ve started saying that ‘You’re bad, and I’m good.’ And whenever our political identities become what we associate ourselves with the most, instead of a mother or a friend or a neighbor or a teacher…it becomes existential to us to be right. And that’s what causes this division in America,” she said,

“Whenever you’re involved in a divisive conversation, really think about what your motivation is for actually engaging in this conversation,” she suggested. “Generally, it’s not, ‘I just want to destroy this human being,’ right? Especially with someone you love, especially over the holidays, it’s somebody that you value that relationship and that is something you want to maintain past the next election cycle.”

“So just when you are clear about what you want to actually come out of this conversation with, then you’re less likely to veer off into really dangerous territory,” she advised.

The second tip she gives is to practice humility in these conversations. You can do this by staying “curious” and receptive when talking with those on the other side of the political aisle.

Gitsham also stresses the significance of speaking truth with love, drawing on biblical principles and the example of Jesus to prioritize valuing individuals over issues.

She advocates for wisdom in choosing when and how to engage in discussions, highlighting the futility of fruitless arguments and the need for discernment.

“So I think when we engage with humility, we recognize that we have a perspective on the truth that’s shaped by our experiences, our childhood, our upbringing and our environment. But we don’t necessarily have the whole truth, which is why we’re constantly evolving on positions that we thought we were rock solid in a year ago, three months ago. So when we’re curious and humble, we learn a lot more and asking, ‘Why?’, instead of just rushing to judgment, often reveals that there’s more to somebody’s anger about an issue than what meets the eye,” she said.

“Oftentimes he [Jesus] had the wisdom not to engage directly with people when he knew that his efforts to defend himself or defend the truth would be futile. I feel like we need to pray for discernment. We need to be able to read a room,” she said.

“If you see that this is just going to be a fruitless conversation…. Maybe now’s not the right time. Maybe wisdom says later. Also recognize that nobody has ever changed anyone’s minds from arguing. It just doesn’t work…That has never changed a single heart or mind on any issue, much less in politics,” she said.

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