The latest Trinity Forum Reading, (always stimulating stuff), featured G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), and a short Father Brown story: The Oracle of the Dog. In a foreword P. Douglas Wilson writes about Chesterton's literary and Christian influence. Perhaps you know the story of when The Times newspaper invited him (with other authors) to submit essays on the theme "What's Wrong with the World?" he replied;
Dear Sirs, I am, Sincerely yours, G.K. Chesterton.
But then the foreword comments:
"Tellingly this deep confidence in his own faith was expressed in regular and robust engagement with people of all stripes and worldviews. His ongoing debates and conversations with the likes of Clarence Darrow, H.G. Wells, Bertrand Russell...George Bernard Shaw, illustrate the ease with which he was able to navigate, challenge, and unsettle the intellectual and literary world of his day.
Like William Wilberforce (seventy-five years earlier)....both men were willing to engage cheerfully and confidently, without pre-conditions, with others of differing and opposing views. Both believed that one must engage with a person to influence them - and further, that such engagement does not entail surrendering core principles.
Our day, by contrast, is characterized by the reverse: too many of us refuse to engage anyone who does not already share our worldview. And we suspect those who do engage in dialogue with their ideological opponents of capitulation or compromise."
Do you think there is less robust engagement, cheerfully and confidently engaging with others today ? And how might we do it?