For the Sake of Argument

“Why shouldn’t we quarrel about a word? What is the good of words if they aren’t important enough to quarrel over? Why do we choose one word more than another if there isn’t any difference between them? If you called a woman a chimpanzee instead of an angel, wouldn’t there be a quarrel about a word? If you’re not going to argue about words, what are you going to argue about?”

G.K. Chesterton’s MacIan in The Ball and the Cross

My kids seem to have a great propensity for arguing about really stupid things. Not just my kids at home, though… I have a couple guys in my youth ministry who love each other like brothers. And by “love each other like brothers” I mean they “feel obligated to disagree with anything the other guy says.” Seriously these two are good friends, but they argue incessantly.

For the first few hours of any trip, I usually just laugh at the arguments. I’m a patient guy, but usually the rest of the van is ready to trade them for the next bit of roadkill within the first hour. I’ll often step in just before someone opens the door to push them out with what seems to me should be an end to the argument (it never is).

Usually, it’s like this: “Guys, you both are saying the same thing! Shut up and listen to each other.” I know “shut up” is not proper youth minster etiquette, but sometimes, it’s just the most appropriate phrase. It amazes me how often these guys will escalate an argument where they both are saying THE SAME THING because they’re not really hearing each other. They’re ignoring the words each other are saying with their eyes set on winning some imaginary argument trophy. Sometimes I just throw out something really contradictory to get them to realize they’re on the same side.

Some arguments aren’t worth having. But some are. What is something you’re willing to argue about? What’s something you currently are in the middle of arguing? Is it worth the quarrel?

4 Replies to “For the Sake of Argument”

  1. Hey Mike. A fellow McManus fan here and native Nebraskan (transplanted to Kansas). I appreciate your heart for God, for reaching students in His name, and the time you put into your blog! I just started one recently to reach and encourage university students and I know it takes time and effort. Keep up the good work (and challenging your students!). Dale

  2. Thanks Dale. Sorry to be so late in responding (I’ve been away at camp for a couple weeks). I just checked out your blog a little bit and am excited to see how things develop for you. I love what you’re trying to do to help people connect with God in your environment – it’s a much needed gap we need to fill in the church. Do you have any connections with anyone at MCC? I have a few friends there and one of my students is heading your way in a couple weeks.

    Brian – tell Dad that some chickens aren’t allowed to play with ketchup packets in the car!

  3. Mike, I have a good friend who will start teaching at MCC this fall. Other than that I can’t say I have any good connections there. But it is a prominent presence in Manhattan, right across from the K-State campus. Let me know if I can help your student get oriented to the “Little Apple”!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.