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Civility in Public Discourse

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#CRClistens: 3 Key Insights for Having Difficult, Honest Conversations

A great song by African-American composer V. Michael McKay called “Koinonia,” goes like this: 

How can I say that I love the Lord,

whom I’ve never ever seen before,

and forget to say that I love the one

whom I walk beside each and every day?

How can I look upon your face

and ignore God’s love—you I must embrace! 

You’re my brother, you’re my sister,

and I love you with the love of my Lord.

#CRClistens: Ordinary Acts of Love

One of the most troubling realities of my life has been my deep differences with some of the people I love most. When it comes to some of what I feel with the most intensity, believe with the strongest conviction, care about most deeply, I have had to accept that these beloved ones are not going to change – and neither am I. 

Learning from Indigenous Peoples - Sharing Circles

I realized that for many or most of these participants this sharing circle was the first time they had the space to really tell their story or cry out for answers. 

#CRClistens: Finding Grace on the Internet

The Internet does not have a good reputation for encouraging civil conversation and thoughtful dialogue. It’s a place where people can spew hatred, vilify their opponents, and generally behave in unfortunate ways. It’s a place people claim either has zero consequences or massive consequences for “the real world,” depending on the issue and their personal preferences.

While that’s all true, I’ve also found the Internet a place that expands my ability to engage with those with whom I disagree.

#CRClistens: Be Excellent to One Another

I was recently in a conversation with a friend who had a visceral reaction to the word “socialism.” I was hoping to engage in a conversation about what one of the current presidential candidates was promoting: “democratic socialism”—but my friend would have none of it. She clearly had an emotional impediment to even discussing it. I wondered why that was. 

#CRClistens: Our Disagreements are Nothing New

David Gushee recently wrote a couple of blog posts noting how the issue of inclusion of sexual minorities in the church is redefining the evangelical landscape. It is putting the squeeze on communities to such a degree that it is permanently reshaping institutional and relational boundaries. Synod 2016 will feel that pressure.

I want to invite you to ponder the following. While this squeeze feels new, difficult conflicts like this aren’t.

#CRClistens: I Think it's More Complicated than That

Okay, so, I’m wrong a lot. I should start there. It’s true. And I know it. And when I forget it, I am reminded, often. I am also kind of young, and pretty new at my job.

However, that is not what I want to talk about today. I don’t want to talk about being right or wrong. I want to talk about being simplistic and reductionist. Because it drives me crazy. 

#CRClistens: Dialogue is Hard but it's Worth It

Editor's note: This is the second post in our new series How to Stay in Conversation with "the Other Side". During this series, we hope to learn together how to communicate about contentious issues in ways that build up the Body of Christ. Above all, we hope that this series will help you stay in conversation in constructive ways that honor and respect the image of God in those you disagree with and in the people affected by the issues about which you are talking.

#CRClistens: Listening- It's More than Just Tolerance

Editor's note: This is the first post in our new series How to Stay in Conversation with "the Other Side". During this series, we hope to learn together how to communicate about contentious issues in ways that build up the Body of Christ. Above all, we hope that this series will help you stay in conversation in constructive ways that honor and respect the image of God in those you disagree with and in the people affected by the issues about which you are talking.

Worship Resources for Peace in a Time of Fear

In response to the San Bernardino shooting and increasingly hostile anti-Arab and anti-Muslim rhetoric, the Office of Race Relations and Office of Social Justice have collaborated on this litany and prayer. The litany is drawn from the Christian Reformed Church’s three confessions, the Contemporary Testimony (Our World Belongs to God), and one Ecumenical Faith Declaration (Belhar Confession).

Litany

People of God, from where does your hope come this day?

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