The Christian tendency to rush to judgement to soon or too often stifles dialog. In David Cape’s book Slow to Judge, he shows that if we listen, we may be given a chance to speak. However, if you are listening in order to fulfill your agenda of hoping to speak and be heard, you miss the point.
David Capes, a professor at Houston Baptist University, discusses love, forgiveness, phobias, and problems with the cultural view of tolerance. While the book starts off slow, most of the substance is in the last third of the book, especially in examining the definition of authentic tolerance and exploring when it is acceptable to judge and when it is not.
The sub-title of this book turned me off at first: “Sometimes it’s okay to listen”. Isn’t it ALWAYS okay to listen? Isn’t listening a way to express kindness or love? But Capes points out that sometimes there are things that are not worth listening to. If it is too offensive and injurious, we should not waste our time on toxic thinking – racism, facism, terrorism, etc. Sometimes it is okay to judge. We need to speak out against evils like human trafficking, not be tolerant of it.
Authentic tolerance intrinsically means handling things that make us uncomfortable, requiring us to practice a tolerance based on humility, an open heart, and love that gives the other person dignity and respect. Because of general revelation, any culture enlightened by truth can be no other than truth revealed by our God and Father -- not promoting relativism but truth that is common for everyone because it is real. We can all learn from each other.
We don’t have to just join hands and talk about all we have in common. We can discuss our differences as well, and listen, and learn from each other, even when it makes us uncomfortable. I highly recommend this book, especially the last three chapters.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book from BookLook in exchange for my honest review.