An accusation can be made, I think, that spiritual formation is all about emotional, "fluffy" philosophical ideas. Meditating on God's love. Celebrating in gratitude and joy. Knowing we have value in Christ above all things. It can lead people to think we're just spinning details to help people feel better about themselves but ignoring the key issues of life.

Let me point out one of those thorny, gritty, human issues:

We desperately need to develop a spirituality of fighting.

I don't mean war between nations, and I definitely don't mean some hyper-masculine "Fight Club for Jesus".

What I mean is the very natural and frequent time when we find ourselves in agitated disagreement with each other - how do we dialogue without getting defensive? How do we disagree and call out what we see as inconsistent and even dangerous while still remembering that we're just as susceptible to being wrong as our brother or sister in Christ? What about for those who aren't followers of Jesus - are there different "rules of engagement" for those who don't share our convictions?

I don't know that there is a magic bullet or a list of steps to more Christlike fighting, but there is one thing that is abundantly clear to me:

If we are not grounded and rooted deeply enough in Christ to concede defeat, surrender the outcome of the debate, and simply listen from the start, we will engage in divisive and spiritually-destructive conversation with others. Guaranteed.

I do believe one practical principle holds true, however. We should not hold court on issues via the Web. I have yet to see hope, love, and transformation come from an exchange done online.

Think about your most recent argument, disagreement, etc.: Did you fight from a place where you surrendered the outcome because of your value and identity in Christ?

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