I know I can be such a hypocrite. I say one thing and do another. I’m human. I’m doing the best I can with what I have but want to keep improving. I also think the how-do-I-stand-for-what-I-believe-or-think-needs-to-be-said-without-being-mean can be a dilemma. Take the Trump conversation, for example. I believe passionately we need to consider our addiction to kings. And this is my blog and a place where I can process out loud. I am sure some would prefer the language was softer or more balanced or this or that, and they are probably right–it would build more bridges. But I also am working on making sure that I don’t always water down what I say to make sure everyone is happy; that’s got my soul into far more trouble in the past.
When it comes to some of these issues, we need places to speak our truth and share our hearts, even though it might be hard for some to hear. When it comes to conversations about race and gender equality and LGBQT issues, you can’t soften them and make them easy for everyone to digest. They are just hard. They will feel tense. They will make us uncomfortable.
Shifting systems is tricky business.
We can’t tiptoe around our opinions all the time for fear of offending.
It’s okay to own where we are coming from, at least in the moment, and try to show up, tell our truth, trust God, and let go of the outcome.
At the same time, I think we are all growing weary of the realities of the current political and religious climate right now.
It’s a jungle out here and oh, the divide keeps getting wider and wider.
The meanness is on the rise.
When we all think of the months between now and election day, it makes us want to crawl under the covers, binge on Netflix, and not resurface until November 9th.
It’s my hope we can keep finding spaces to talk about some of this stuff in a much healthier way than only blogs or Facebook. Real life is always the best, but sometimes online is all we’ve got.
In that spirit, I thought I’d share a series I wrote almost 3 years ago (whoa, time flies) called “Healing the Divides: A Series on Living in the Tensions of Our Differences.” The idea was that we needed more practical ideas on ways we could better love each other despite our differences. Here are the 6 posts it included:
- 8 ways those from more liberal and more conservative persuasions can better love each other – I need to re-read this over and over again before I enter into certain conversations! (Especially the point about blind spots). I have one addition, too. I think it’s worth taking “My God is bigger than that” off the table as a trump card in the same vein as “But the Bible says” or “God says.” It has the same effect–shutting down conversations (and oh, I love to use that one. More on that in an upcoming episode of Faith Circus).
- safer people make safer conversations – We can always become safer and have to remember that “safe” does not mean “comfortable.” This list of characteristics of safe and unsafe people has been so helpful to me; it’s easy for me to point the finger at others as unsafe when I can exhibit many of these characteristics in certain types of conversations.
- breaking down walls – This is just me rambling for a little bit on video.
- deeper dignified dialogue – I really like these questions beyond just the 5 basic principles of dignified dialogue and would love to add more to the list (if you want to share any, please do!). Questions make all the difference. Stories change everything.
- formation friday: our inner pharisee – Yep, I definitely need God’s help to keep healing my inner pharisee.
- intra-faith dialogue – In my opinion, intra-faith dialogue is much trickier than inter-faith conversations; there’s something about it that is more sensitive and painful, probably because it hits closer to home. My hope is that we can just keep getting better and better at it.
There are also some other posts that I think help in the bridge-building-instead-of-bombing-category:
- 10 ways we can build bridges instead of bomb them – Um, yeah, I need to re-read that one, too. All of them.
- new life through nonviolent communication – I can’t say enough about this skill and how hard it is for me to practice. It’s excellent, with base value and skill being empathy. Empathy does change everything in relationship.
And I really hope people continue to consider this resource that we worked on last year to facilitate some solid conversations:
- Different not Divided: Practicing a Third Way on The work of The People – a 6 video series with my friend and co-pastor Karl Wheeler, with a Discussion Guide for groups of any size.
Lastly, I am really excited about a new podcast that Karl and I are launching tomorrow, March 1st, called Faith Circus–big tent, high-wire conversations about faith, church, and life without a net (and the occasional elephant in the room). There will be more than few elephants. It is a work in progress, but sure would love for you to join the circus with us:
- Here’s the link to the Faith Circus site.
- And to like the Faith Circus Facebook Page.
- To follow on Twitter.
Also, if there are other books or tools or practical ideas that you have found useful, please pass them on!
The Golden Rule’s always worth revisiting, and I close with this quote from Margaret Wheatley that I really love and need to remember.
“When we seek for connection, we restore the world to wholeness. Our seemingly separate lives become meaningful as we discover how truly necessary we are to each other.”
How truly necessary we are to each other.
Oh, we may not feel it all the time, but we really do need each other.
Here’s to more wholeness, here’s to better conversations, here’s to more and more bridges.