On Having Opinions
"Wow, you have lots of opinions," a friend once said to me. I'm not sure if this was a simple statement of fact or a tactful critique or a mild compliment. I do indeed have lots of opinions, though I try--for the sake of integrity--to only opine on matters which I have endeavored to research thoroughly in order to arrive at (what I believe to be) a cogent position. The thing is, I consider it a responsibility to have, and express, informed opinions. We're all in this thing called life together and each of us only sees small pieces, obscured by our own ignorance and presuppositions and assumptions and projections and cultural conditioning.
One of the things that being a Quaker has taught me is the value of group discernment; that by giving space for everyone's voice and listening to one another respectfully we can come to a far greater understanding than we ever could have on our own. So, for me, giving my opinion, my little piece, (for example, on my blog or on social media or in a discussion) is an offering to the collective whole.
We live in a time and place of great privilege, where we can express what's on our minds without being silenced or persecuted by the powers that be. So to carefully cultivate and respectfully express one's opinion is, it seems to me, a bit of a sacred obligation. And to tug and pull and wrestle and (as the Quakers would say) labor together to arrive at points of agreement and discover ways forward is a beautiful human endeavor.
At least, that's my opinion.