Respectful Conversation

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Every so often, I post links to favourite blogs or websites that I frequent. Of course, if you scroll down and check out the right sidebar on my blog, you’ll see various blogs (under Blogroll) and websites (under links) that I visit on some kind of regular basis.

Today, I want to make you aware of a newer site/blog that begun just over two months ago. It’s entitled Respectful Conversation.

This website is Harold Heie, a Senior Fellow at The Colossian Forum and at the Center for Faith & Inquiry at Gordon College. On the About/Mission page of the Respectful Conversation blog, Heie offers these thoughts.

I am appalled at the sad state of public discourse in contemporary society, including the realm of politics, the media, and many churches and educational institutions.  The engagement between persons who disagree with one another is increasingly shrill and nasty, too often characterized by demonizing the other, listening to only an echo of yourself, and holding to fixed positions without openness to learning from those who disagree.  Such broken discourse does not bode well for the future of our schools, churches, local communities and nation.  It is urgent that we take immediate steps to seek a better way to engage those with whom we disagree.

That better way is to create welcoming spaces for those who disagree with one another to have respectful conversations.  As a Christian, I believe this better way is integral to the call for Christians to love others, for a deep expression of love for another person is to provide a safe, welcoming space for that person to disagree.  That goal can be shared with all persons of good will, whatever their religious or non-religious convictions.

But lofty rhetoric will not reverse the pernicious state of public discourse.  What is needed is for thousands of us to model this better way by initiating respectful conversations in our local communities.

I truly love this perspective – to create welcoming spaces for those who disagree with one another to have respectful conversations. Even within the church.

It seems a hard task. We can talk the talk, but to walk the walk is much more difficult. Very difficult at times.

I’ve shared not too long ago about my recent reading of James’ letter and how I was gripped afresh by some of his most well-known words: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry (1:19).

Can we listen to one another? And, of course, the church should be the first place to start, the first place for the door to be opened for respectful conversation.

I also personally appreciate some of the topics being discussed over the first couple of months:

So, if you have a little time to check out this new blog/website, I’d encourage you to do so. I believe it is a sweet aroma in the midst of much unhelpful and harmful public discourse taking place today, even amongst Christians.

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