Danger! Skewed Narrative Ahead.
So often in the Church, indeed in life, I see people taking sides, getting polarised, creating division. More often than not we hear false equivalence or other logical fallacy as the basis of this - stuff like "if you're liberal/conservative/whatever you can't believe/do x" or "if you're Christian you can't think y" or the joy of "if you really cared about y you can't do x"
What this so often stems from is a failure of imagination, an inability to see a different way of thinking or doing from your own, or a lack of empathy with others. Chimamanda Adichie describes this as the danger of a Single Story and it is the basis of racial and cultural prejudice and misunderstanding, a cause of division, and a barrier to progress and co-operation.
We have such issues in our church communities all the time. With regards to sexuality and gender identity I so often hear "if you believe in the Bible you will think...." With regards to social justice advocacy or social action we are told "if you're part of the church you'll only do 'spiritual' things". Even within individual spiritual communities we find ourselves trapped into single narratives with each side unwilling or unable to hear or understand the other. We have something of this in a current situation in my community with a group of people saying 'if you don't do this thing, then you are showing you don't care' - without considering that there is working going on already by people who care deeply, who working hard to create a solution - but that there is more than one story going on.
So often a narrative becomes dominant and pushes away any attempt at listening, at reasoning, at seeing through a different lens. It is at times like this that structures break and communities split. It's actually much harder to listen, to respond, to empathise, and to commit to working in community even if there is disagreement and discord.