Tuesday, July 26, 2016

4 Aids for Those Important, Difficult Conversations

Curiosity, leaning into conflict, humility, respect: the gold standard for peace work and citizenship in 2016!

Pastor Rachel Bauman, FCCB Berkeley
How can we manage to talk successfully with people who believe different things than we do?

Pastor Rachel Bauman at First Congregational Church in Berkeley talked about this on Sunday. She drew from In Faith and In Doubt: How Religious Believers and Nonbelievers Can Create Strong Marriages and Loving Families by Dale McGowan to suggest how people from different faith traditions can learn to listen to and hear each other. (She suggested that these skills can also be used by people who feel that they occupying separate political galaxies, as well!)

Pastor Rachel's distillation of McGowan's work focused on the need to:

* have genuine curiosity

 . . . because it is vital to understanding others, and it deepens your understanding of your own self.

* be willing to lean into conflict

Remember: avoiding conflict actually inhibits intimacy. Just be sure to let go of your desire to convert the other person.

* hold your beliefs with deep humility

 . . . which is not the same as holding them weakly!

* commit to the proposition that personal respect for each other is non-negotiable

Opinions and ideas need to earn respect, but you, as a person, are worthy of respect always.

Check out the full sermon (below) . . . and then go out and do something listening!

Related posts

I wondered at how we could have covered all that in just a minute or two -- the time it takes to go a few stops.  After all, when I walked onto that bus we were strangers.

(See Listening for Community (A Chicago Encounter))

I believe when Jesus broke the bread and poured the wine and said "Remember me this way," he was much more interested in encouraging us to keep having conversations -- conversations that really matter -- with others . . . and finding ways to be in relationship with our neighbors  . . . all the while reminding us "never underestimate the power of food"  . . .

(See Get Outside Your Comfort Zone and Have A Conversation Today (Welcome to the Ministry))

Perhaps what makes a book good for a discussion group is that it combines startling candor, brevity, and the courage to leap again and again into the middle of mysterious questions.

(See Finding Accidental Saints in Berkeley