I love Scotland. (Truth is, I love the British Isles. Period.) I love the tea, really like the breakfasts and enjoy the weather. And I truly appreciate some of the nuances of their culture. The local pub thing (perhaps without the alcohol) is a great idea. I dig all the hedges (they make for good neighbors). And the winding country roads make me slow down and that’s a good thing too.
So this week an article about a tiny little Scottish island grabbed my attention. There are some 30,000 lakes in Scotland (I have visited a few) and many of them have small islands dotted in their waters. Loch Leven, in the central part of Scotland has an island called “Eilean a’ Chombraidh,” the “Isle of Discussion.”
It seems that for hundreds of years, the chief of the McDonald clan would send arguing men out to that small island. They would take a supply of oatcakes, some cheese and a jug or two of whiskey.
When they finished the food (and drink), fully discussed their issue and settled it, they would row back to shore, sign an agreement and get on with life!
Watching our world for the last year or two, I am thinking we need a few of these islands in our communities. The issue isn’t that we disagree, the issue is we don’t know how to disagree.
The scriptures are like those oatcakes. I am thinking we ought to stock up on a few. Prov. 15:1 urges us to have a soft answer (hard to do that when we are shouting at the top of our lungs or screaming through gritted teeth).
Col. 3:13 sets the standard: we are to be bearing our brothers burdens, forgiving their failures. Matt. 5:9 calls us first and always to be peacemakers.
And Hebrews 12: 14-15 spells out the ground rules for meaningful “clan living:” “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy, without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
The next boat for Eilean a’ Chombraidh leaves soon…. all aboard!