So our story started several years ago,
when my wife and I got a complaint letter in the mail
from an anonymous neighbor.
I'll never forget the way my wife transformed before my eyes
from this graceful, peaceful, sweet woman
into just an angry mother grizzly bear whose cubs needed to be protected.
It was intense.
So here's what happened.
This is our family.
This is my wife and I and our five awesome kids.
We're pretty loud, we're pretty rambunctious,
You'll notice, though, that two of our children
look a little different than Mary and I,
and that's because they came to us through adoption.
Our neighbor, though, saw two different-looking children
playing outside of our house every day
and came to the conclusion
that we must have been running an illegal day care out of our home.
We were really angry to have our children stereotyped like that,
but I know that's a relatively minor example of racial profiling.
But isn't it sometimes what we all tend to do
with people who think differently,
or believe differently or maybe even vote differently?
Instead of engaging as true neighbors,
we keep our distance
and our actions towards those
are guided by who we think sees the world as we do
or who we think doesn't.
See, what my neighbor suffered from is a condition called agonism.
And sometimes we all suffer from the same condition.
It's not a medical condition, but it is contagious.
So let's talk a little bit about what agonism is.
My favorite definition of agonism
我最喜欢的 “争胜主义” 的定义是
is taking a warlike stance in contexts that are not literally war.
“在非战争的情况下采取好战的姿态。” [ ——黛博拉·坦纳（Deborah Tannen） ]
Agonism comes from the same Greek root word "agon"
“争胜主义（agonism）” 与 “痛苦（agony）” 这两个词
from which we get "agony."
How very appropriate.
We all tend to show symptoms of agonism
when we hold on to two deeply held beliefs,
first identified by author Rick Warren.
这个说法最早由作家 里克·沃伦（Rick Warren）提出。
The first one is that if love someone,
we must agree with all they do or believe.
And the second is the inverse,
that if we disagree with someone,
it must mean that we fear or we hate them.
Not sure we really recognize the agony this way of thinking brings to us,
when our relationships die
because we think we have to agree or disagree
no matter what.
Think about the conversations we've had around Brexit,
maybe Israeli settlements or perhaps impeachment.
I bet we could all think of at least one personal relationship
that's been strained or maybe even ended because of these topics,
over a topic much more trivial than those.
The cure for agonism is not out of reach.
The question is how.
So might I suggest two strategies
that my experience has taught me to start with.
First, cultivate common ground,
which means focusing on what we share.
I want you to know I'm using my words very, very deliberately.
By "cultivate," I mean we have to intentionally work
我说的 “培养” 是指我们要有意识地
to find common ground with someone.
Just like a farmer works to cultivate the soil.
And common ground is a common term,
so let me at least explain what I don't mean,
which is I don't mean by common ground that we were exact,
or that we totally agree and approve.
All I mean is that we find one unifying thing
that we can have in a relationship in common with another person.
You know, sometimes that one thing is hard to find.
So I'd like to share a personal story,
let me tell you a little bit more about myself.
middle class, evangelical Christian.
And I know, as soon as some of those words came out of my mouth,
some of you had some perceptions about me.
I know that not all those perceptions are positive.
But for those who share my faith,
know that I'm about to cut across the grain.
And you may tune me out as well.
if you're having a hard time hearing me,
I just gently ask that you reflect
and see if you're buying into agonism.
你是否相信 “争胜主义” 这个概念，
If you're rejecting me
simply because you think you see the world differently than I do,
because isn't that what we're here talking about?
So I've been thinking a lot about how to find common ground
in the area of gender fluidity,
as an evangelical Christian.
For Christians like me,
we believe that God created us man and woman.
So what do I do?
Do I throw up my hands and say,
"I can't have a relationship with anybody who is transgender
That would be giving into agonism.
So I started looking at the foundational aspects of my faith,
is that of the three billion genes that make us human --
造就我们人类的 30 亿个基因——
and by the way, we share 99.9 percent of those genes --
顺便说一下，这些基因中的 99.9％ 是我们共通的——
that I believe those three billion genes are the result of an intelligent designer.
而我相信这 30 亿个基因 是某一位智能设计者的杰作。
And that immediately gives me common ground with anybody.
What it also gives me ...
is the belief that each and every one of us
have been given the right to life
by that same intelligent designer.
I dug deeper though.
I found that my faith didn't teach me
to start relationships by arguing with somebody
until they believed what I believed,
or I convinced them.
No, it taught me to start relationships
by loving them as a coequal member of the human race.
some who share my faith draw a line
and refuse to address somebody by their preferred gender pronoun.
But isn't that believing the lie that in order for me to honor you,
I have to give up what I believe?
Come back in time with me --
let's say it's 20 years ago,
and Muhammad Ali comes to your doorstep.
And you open the door.
Would you address him as Muhammad Ali
你会称呼他为 穆罕默德·阿里（Muhammad Ali）？
or his former name of Cassius Clay?
还是他的曾用名 卡修斯·克莱（Cassius Clay）？
I'm guessing that most of you would say Muhammad Ali.
And I'm also guessing that most of you
wouldn't think we'd have to immediately convert to Islam,
just by using his name.
To honor him would cost me, would cost any of us
and it would give us the common ground to have a relationship.
And it's the relationship that cures agonism,
not giving up what we believe.
So for me to honor my faith,
it means rejecting these rigid symptoms of agonism.
Meaning, I can and I will love you.
I can and I will accept you,
and I don't have to buy into the lie
that if I do these things, I have to give up what I believe
or chose to fear and hate you.
Because I'm focusing on what we have in common.
When you can find even the smallest bit of common ground with somebody,
it allows you to understand just the beautiful wonder
and majesty of the other person.
Our second strategy
gives us room to (Inhales)
To have the kind of relationships that cure agonism.
And how to keep those relationships alive.
Our second strategy is to exchange extravagant grace.
Once again, I'm not mincing words --
by grace, I don't mean we should all go sign up for ballet,
that would be weird.
What I mean is not canceling everything over one mistake.
Even if that mistake personally offended you.
Maybe even deeply.
Perhaps Holocaust survivor Corrie ten Boom put it best
我认为二战大屠杀幸存者彭柯丽 （Corrie ten Boom）的形容最为贴切，
"To forgive is to set a prisoner free,
only to realize that prisoner was me."
My faith teaches me that we humans will never be perfect,
myself very much included.
So we need the grace of a savior,
who for me is Jesus.
And while I define grace in the context of my faith,
I know there's a lot of other people who have defined it differently
and in different ways.
One of my favorites is radio broadcaster Oswald Hoffmann, who said,
我最喜欢的一个定义是电台主播 奥斯瓦尔德·霍夫曼（Oswald Hoffmann）所说的：
"Grace is the love that loves the unlovely
and the unlovable."
And I just love that picture of grace.
Because I know I am,
and maybe a lot of you can think of a time
when we're just pretty dadgum unlovable.
So it would be the height of hypocrisy,
dare I say repulsive to my faith,
for me to accept
the unconditional, unqualified grace and love from God
and then turn around
and put one precondition on the love I give you.
What in the world would I be thinking?
And by extravagant, I mean over the top,
我所说的 “奢侈”， 指的是做到极致，
not just checking a box.
We can all remember when we were kids
and our parents forced us to apologize to somebody
and we walked up to them and said, (Angrily) "I'm sorry."
We just got it over with, right?
That's not what we're talking about.
What we're talking about is not having to give someone grace
but choosing to and wanting to.
That's how we exchange extravagant grace.
Listen, I know this can sound really, really theoretical.
So I'd like to tell you about a hero of mine.
And the mother of a murdered son is in a public square.
The man who murdered her son is also in that square,
on a chair of some kind,
a noose around his neck
and a blindfold over his eyes.
had been given the sole right under the laws of her country
to either pardon this man
or initiate his execution.
Put another way, she could pardon him
or literally push that chair out from underneath his feet.
I can't picture the agony going through both Samereh and this man
at the time.
Samereh with her choice to make,
and this man, in the account that I read, was just weeping,
just begging for forgiveness.
And Samereh had a choice.
And she chose in that moment to walk up to this man
and to slap him right across the face.
And that signaled her pardon.
Right afterwards, somebody asked her,
they interviewed her, and she was quoted as saying,
"I felt as if rage vanished from within my heart
and the blood in my veins began to flow again."
Isn't that incredible?
I mean, what a picture of grace, what a hero of grace.
And there's a lesson in there for all of us.
That as theologian John Piper said,
这正如神学家约翰·派珀 （John Piper）所说的：
"Grace is power, not just pardon."
And if you think about it,
grace is the gift we give someone else in a relationship
that says our relationship is way more important
than the things that separate us.
And if you really think about it some more,
we all have the power to execute in our relationships,
or to pardon.
We never did find out the identity of our anonymous neighbor.
But if we did, I'd hope we'd simply say,
"Can we have coffee?"
And maybe there's somebody you need to have coffee with
and find your common ground with them.
Or maybe there's somebody you're in a relationship with
and you need to exchange extravagant grace.
Maybe go first.
These two strategies have taught me
how to exchange extravagant grace in my relationships
and to enjoy the beautiful design of my neighbors.
I want to continue to choose relationships over agonism.
Will you choose to join me?