Dan Dick — whom I consider consistently spot-on — has posted today on United Methodeviations regarding civil discourse between Christians even in the midst of strong disagreement. My favorite bit follows:

Disagreement is one of the best places for us to witness to the grace, love and peace of God that comes through relationship with Jesus Christ.  To treat one another with civility and respect is truly counter-cultural.  To maintain patience and calm in the face of conflict is a powerful testimony to the power of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  I have a hard time believing someone has the love of God in his or her heart when hateful and hurtful words flow so easily from their mouths.  Attacking those who disagree with us is not a sign of our conviction, but purely evidence of our spiritual retardation.  Spiritual maturity results in a grace-filled and loving response — no question.

I have to agree with Dan here. When someone who proclaims themselves a Christian jumps easily to slander me or gossip about me because we don’t see eye to eye on things, I have enormous difficulty in believing that they really have the Holy Spirit residing within them. What do you think?


UPDATE: Dan Dick has a follow-up post, One Indignation Under God, in which he details some rather interesting responses to his initial post.