I once hear the book “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus” quoted in a church setting. I have very serious critiques of this book, but I think that one thing which comes up when gender is discussed is the idea that we are different from each other. The descriptions that are usually given of gender specific descriptions of behavior rarely resonate with me, which could be because I am a typical. Either way, I do think that it is important to recognize on a higher level that each of us as individual human beings are different from one another, which brings up a serious need for us all to learn how to more effectively communicate with each other.
In a beautiful talk W. Craig Zwick described this by telling a story of miscommunication between him and his spouse, and it was fascinating to hear him describe how it is important that we as human beings start listening to each other. He said that “There exists today a great need for men and women to cultivate respect for each other across wide distances of belief and behavior and across deep canyons of conflicting agendas. It is impossible to know all that informs our minds and hearts or even to fully understand the context for the trials and choices we each face.
Nevertheless, what would happen to the “corrupt communication” Paul spoke about if our own position included empathy for another’s experience first? Fully owning the limits of my own imperfections and rough edges, I plead with you to practice asking this question, with tender regard for another’s experience: “What are you thinking?”