Over the weekend, my wife and I attended a party that was organized by one of my tennis buddies. The families came together to celebrate the end of a tennis season. The party hosts are from another country. They love to talk about controversial topics, such as religion and politics. It is interesting to address these issues with someone I have been playing tennis with for so long without ever saying much more than a hello, or... "see you next week" while on the tennis courts. It is surprising to see such different points of view.
Our party hosts are getting ready to celebrate Bastille Day next month and invited me back. They host friends from many different cultures and backgrounds, often entertaining until 3:00 in the morning. Religion and politics, part two, will be mixed in with ping pong, pool volleyball, and Bocce Ball.
Before getting too embroiled in controversy during our conversation, I looked for areas of common ground. This made it easier to go into the deep end, a place I have not entered since my high school years. The party was a warm-up, a time to plant seeds. The next party will be an experience I will never forget.
The last time I remember debating like this was in high school. There was a group of us who studied Spanish for four years. Our teacher would pick a topic and we would have "platicas", or conversations. They became so heated, that one of the guys would switch to English in order to get his words out faster. He was the son of a preacher and ended up becoming a preacher. Those "platicas" are unforgettable, even to this day.
The lesson I learned from attending the party, is that you can get along with people who have opposing points of view as long as you respect their positions and listen. All of us are searching for answers, we just need to be careful not to attack others because they think differently.