This week on the podcast we had a discussion with Bishop Thomas Dowd of Montreal. To suggest that it was an eye opening conversation would be a grave understatement. The Bishop’s open and honest dialogue about the state of the Church and the life of a Bishop was incredibly insightful and we believe you’ll benefit greatly from watching and listening to the conversation. We wanted to dig into something that the Bishop talked about in relation to social media and dialogue as we think it’s something that many people could stand to hear.
Bishop Dowd was very clear that he believes that social media provides a previously unavailable platform for dialogue and exchange and that if we’re to move forward on this earth and beyond, we need to use that platform to truly engage in those conversations. We need to be honest and thoughtful and we need to listen to what people are saying.
But what about toxic conversations?
What about when the people you’re talking to are in such anguish that they lash out, ignoring reason, patience or logic?
There are a couple of answers that we see in practice.
First, you can lash back. Sometimes, this is a natural reaction. When we feel attacked, either personally or institutionally, we often get our back up. We ignore the very logic and reason that we thought was the foundation of our conversation.
Second, you can walk away. We see this all of the time. Every app in the world has some version of mute, block, ignore, hide, or some other measure designed to put a permanent end to a conversation. We believe that because there is no way that we can win a conversation or change a heart, we should just walk away.
This is where Bishop Dowd recommended a change of tactics. We think we can’t change the mind of THAT ONE PERSON, but who else is listening? Who else is watching? Who’s on the fence? Who is misguided and just needs a little help. On the fence is a pretty common place to live in this world and when we walk away from difficult conversations, we’re letting the wrong people control that conversation. That fence sitter, who’s been listening intently hears the anger and rhetoric of one side of the conversation and then…silence.
By engaging, respectfully in these conversations, we can work on changing the hearts and minds of those people that are watching and listening, genuinely interested in our answers.
When we hide from toxicity, we’re doing a disservice to those that want a way out. We’re doing a disservice from those that are listening intently, yearning for a solution.
These are not easy conversations. They will challenge our patience.
Being challenged is good.
You will be tested.
Being tested is good.
See every conversation as an opportunity to prove your passion, your faith, your resolve, and your humanity and you will change the hearts and minds of the people on the periphery of these conversations.
Make sure to subscribe to the podcast so that you don’t miss out on conversations such as these.