getting shirty

Taste is a funny thing. Two people can put the same food in their mouth and one may respond, “Yum” and the other, “Yuck!” Someone can tell a joke and some of their audience will LOL or ROTFL and others will remain unmoved.

Today my wife Sally has shared a shopping experience with me. I need some new shirts. It seems that several of my current stock have worn out almost at the same time, and a couple of shops in town are having sales at the moment. Now I know what I like. If it was up to me my wardrobe would have a selection of relatively ‘safe’ shirts in it. But Sally has a more adventurous eye and I am happy (ish) to allow her to suggest something that I would not normally select because I have found that she is usually right about these things. I need her different taste to look beyond my conventionality.

Different tastes make the world such a wonderfully interesting place to inhabit and makes conversation with others so engaging. We are encouraged to be tolerant of people who have different tastes to us, but where do you draw the line?

At what point does taste and preference turn to dogma? And how do we accommodate those whose preference / taste / dogma is not only different from ours but is in opposition to it? Good British decency encourages us to smile sweetly and say nice things while not being confrontational. But is it possible for us to disagree with someone and not impose our views on them?

I have to believe that it is. There is a paradox that true tolerance cannot tolerate intolerance. But can’t we say, “I disagree with you but I respect you,” or, “I prefer to do things differently to you, and while I won’t impose my views on you, please don’t impose yours on me”? And while listening to one another we may learn from one another even if we will not be persuaded by one another. There’s nothing to be gained by getting shirty with those who disagree with us.

It’s not tolerance, it’s respect, it’s love. I wish that people would elevate the latter two above the former because they are based on getting to know one another and relationships.

Be blessed, be a blessing.

And whatever you think of my new shirts, remember who helped me choose them…

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