Matt Mikalatos is one of my favorite people that I’ve never met in person. His online presence exudes love and he’s always kind, but that doesn’t mean he’s a pushover or lacks conviction. While most social media spaces can be toxic, Mikalatos has created a great space for dialogue and Loving Disagreement. Listen in as Josh and Matt talk about how to disagree and how to move ahead united despite disagreements.
The Conversation | Matt Mikalatos and Josh Olds
This transcript excerpt has been lightly edited for content and clarity.
Josh: So how exactly did this project come about?
Matt: So my one of my publishers, which is NavPress—who I had done two books with previously—reached out to me and said, “We are looking to do a book about kind of how Christians can get along when we disagree. And we’ve watched the way you interact on social media…” Which, particularly on Facebook, I have a diverse friend group. So Christians, non Christians, people on various political sides, US are international. And we talk about pretty thorny things sometimes. And people generally have been trained to be kind to each other as we disagree.
And they said, “What if you cowrote it with someone?” And I said, “Well, that would be interesting. Like, we could actually model some of these things maybe.” And they said, “Well, it’d be great if it was someone like this woman, Kathy Khang”—who is a Korean American naturalized citizen in the US, obviously has a very different experience than me. I happen to know Kathy, she’s a dear friend of mine. I reached out to Kathy and asked if she would be up for writing the book with me. And she said yes. Which I was delighted to discover, because I thought she would say no. And that’s how we got started. We basically pitch to the publisher, what if we did a book about the fruit of the Spirit—that when we’re in disagreement, we’re supposed to be showing things like love, joy, kindness, peace, gentleness, those things, which is a much more difficult thing than just civility.
The Book | Loving Disagreement by Matt Mikalatos and Kathy Khang
What does it look like to love someone you disagree with?
Fighting, disagreements, hatred, dissension, and silence. These things seem common in the wider Christian community today. Politics, theology, and even personal preference create seemingly insurmountable rifts. It’s hard not to see ourselves as “at war” with each other.
We’re not doomed to be stuck here, though. There is a twofold path out of this destructive war, out of seeing our brothers and sisters as enemies―and into a spacious place of loving each other even as we disagree.
In Loving Disagreement, Kathy Khang and Matt Mikalatos bring unique insight into how the fruit of the Spirit informs our ability to engage in profound difference and conflict with love. As followers of Jesus are planted in the Holy Spirit, the Spirit grows and bears good things in our lives―and relationships and communities are changed.
The Author | Matt Mikalatos
Matt Mikalatos is an author, screenwriter, and speaker. He’s the author of Journey to Love and the YA fantasy series The Sunlit Lands, writes for the show Going Home, and cohosts the Fascinating Podcast.
He has written for Today.com, Time Magazine, Relevant, Nature, Writer’s Digest, and Daily Science Fiction, among others. He also has a long-running series on the fiction of C.S. Lewis at Tor.com. Matt’s work is often focused on his belief that all human beings are worthy of love.