Understanding the Other

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24 Responses

  1. Nonnie says:

    How do you “flesh” out sharing the feelings of baby killers, pedophiles , people who rape and torture children?
    How do I go about “sharing their feelings? ” How does that work?

    I understand how God can forgive….but how do I share their feelings?

  2. Jim says:

    Really good post.

  3. Michael says:


    Most of us will never have to engage with those kinds of people.
    We all have to associate with people who deeply disagree with us on issues such as immigration, abortion, war, homosexuality, and the other divisive issues of the day.

    People don’t disagree with us because they are necessarily stupid, immoral, evil, or unregenerate.

    They disagree because the way they feel about these issues is as deep and convicted as we are.

    To find common ground for solutions and a healthy society we have to enter in to what they are feeling and why…and they must do the same for us.

    What we’re doing isn’t working.

  4. Michael says:

    A lot of people wonder why Trump and Sanders are doing so well in polls.
    It’s because they are tapping into this…they are expressing for others the feelings that they cannot express themselves.
    They are bringing to the table stuff that has been buried…so whether you agree with them or not you need to listen.

  5. mk says:

    Good words, Michael.

  6. Michael says:

    Thank you, mk!

  7. Em says:

    “To truly understand them well enough to write about them, he had to enter into their feelings with them.
    That exacted a heavy price on him, because he discovered that all the evils he chronicled existed in some form within himself…within all of us.”

    there but for the grace of God go i … to coin a phrase … trouble is that we are all different as well as the same and the heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, who can know it? Jeremiah 17:5-9

    taking nothing away from the late Charles Bowden, we need to focus upon Christ, Who lifted up, draws all men… sadly, maybe we focus on our position in Christ and think that somehow we are not different, but something better than … the world of depravity is definitely,as Michael noted, not a place to go too far in

    i wish that i could stand among lost souls strong and humble, reflecting Christ and drawing men to Him … but otherwise …?… i’m apt to get myself into a situation where i need to run like Joseph did from Potiphar’s wife (not a good analogy, since i’m female, but…)

    good post to ponder and a good reminder – sin can destroy us all; that’s what defines it, isn’t it? the destroyer?

  8. Michael says:

    “sadly, maybe we focus on our position in Christ and think that somehow we are not different, but something better than”


  9. Ryan Ashton says:

    Michael, this is beautiful.

    One thing I am dying to know now: Where is this link? I want to hear more!

  10. Michael says:

    Ryan, I’ll post the page when I get home. I was up all night listening…

  11. filbertz says:

    In a related vein, so many of our troops have come back from Afghanisan with troubled hearts and minds because they witnessed the widespread culturally accepted sexual abuse of children and were instructed to do nothing–to stand by and tolerate it because ‘they were our allies against the Taliban.’ It greatly eroded the morale of our soldiers and blurred whatever political/military motives were given for our presence there. I have spoken with my son, an Afghanistan veteran, and he verified the practices and cover-ups. To understand ‘them’ is an especially difficult step toward turning an entire culture inside out or right side up–a task only accomplished with divine empowerment.

  12. JoelG says:

    This is great. The more you talk about Bowden’s grasp of our common humanity with all of our potential for good and evil, the more I see he was a special dude. I’m fascinated and need to listen to these recordings. I listened to the “Intro to Boden” recording that was posted in the “Links!” several weeks ago. Great stuff. You’ve probably said this elsewhere, but what’s a good book or two to start with?

  13. Michael says:


    He’s not for everyone.
    He writes at times rather graphically about human desires, including his own.
    This isn’t “Christian” material.

    I would suggest “The Charles Bowden Reader”..a collection of some of his best essays on a variety of topics.

    If you survive that…I’ll give you some others to consider. 🙂

  14. Michael says:

    Some people don’t get Bowden at all…and that’s ok.

    He shakes me to my core.

    His magnum opus was “Down By The River” … a book that took him seven years to write and left him bankrupt and broken.

    If you want to understand Mexico and “the war on drugs”…it is the best.
    This was his last work…the one that wrapped up his lifes work.
    It is free to read online.


  15. JoelG says:

    Ok thanks for the warning and the suggestion. I will start there and let you know if I’m ready for more. 🙂

  16. Michael says:


    I had someone I recommended one of his books to call me in a state of near hysteria because she couldn’t sleep at nights after three chapters.

    I’ve learned to slap a warning label on him… 🙂

  17. Michael says:

    My close friends and family wish I’d never found him…I carry his books around like Baptists carry Bibles on Sunday… 🙂

  18. JoelG says:

    Understood. No worries. I try to live outside of the “Christian bubble” and recognize that the Bible itself is rate R in places, as much as we’d like to sterilize it.

  19. Michael says:


    It is more like rated X in some places…and what we don’t get is that all of that is in us.
    We’re not good, we’re redeemed.

    Thank you for asking about CB…I get a little over enthused about him as I regard him as a prophet from the fringe…

  20. JoelG says:

    Well I’m glad you found him. He found El Pastor and, to me, El Pastor is a role model, from what I’ve read about him here and other place I’ve tried to find info on him.

  21. JoelG says:

    #20 Yes I completely agree. Rated X. And yes, in all of us. CB has the balls to say it. Can’t wait to read more.

  22. Michael says:

    There is a new documentary out on El Pastor and Chuck.

    “Dead When I Got Here”…
    I haven’t seen it yet, but hope to soon.

  23. JoelG says:

    Sweet. Gotta find it.

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