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Civility

European Baptists, who met recently in Ukraine, are a diverse lot. However, they have discovered that their diversity – while challenging at times – is actually a strength. […] Read More

We are nicer when we journey together. In writing about civility, Gil Rendle (“Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences”) cites the work of Yale professor Stephen Carter, who argues that riding in a subway, bus or train full of strangers requires us to understand our obligations to treat one another with due […] Read More

How do we teach the next generation that disagreements don’t necessarily mean dislike? How can we help them learn to share their thoughts with gentleness and respect in a culture that seems to have no room for healthy public discourse? These questions emerged from a recent discussion with a group of ministers who dialogue in […] Read More

We all would acknowledge that recently our country has experienced a great deal of turmoil, pain and stress. What are we witnessing? A lack of civility in both discourse and behavior cuts across all strata of our society and extends even to the presidency itself. Prejudice and xenophobia threaten to become policy, in ways that […] Read More

Civil public discourse is becoming a lost art. This negative trend is exacerbated by social media platforms on which anyone, anywhere, anytime can express their opinion (informed, uninformed or misinformed) and where diatribe is replacing discussion. Oversimplification, feeling-driven statements, sound bites, one-liners and snarky, dismissive responses drive our public discourse while rational, detailed, fact-based, nuanced […] Read More

We live in a time when people seem to have a lot to say and say it with great conviction. This is good; we need to care about things. We sometimes, however, confuse having a reaction to something with really caring about it, caring to the point where we are willing to make a sacrifice. […] Read More

Ministry happens in the meantime and in the mean time. The meantime is a season of sometimes bewildering change and troubling transitions. It’s an interval between a past we know well and a future that isn’t yet clear and between a familiar way of doing things and an emerging way of doing them. One indication […] Read More

Deadly wildfires are in the news again. In central Portugal, a large forest fire claimed more than 60 lives before it was contained. At first, the fire was thought to originate with a lightning strike, but a BBC report indicates that a “criminal hand” might have actually caused the massive fire. We know from history […] Read More

In an article just prior to the 100-day mark of Donald Trump’s presidency, Rich Harwood asks, “What about ‘our’ first 100 days – how are we responding to the challenges around us?” Not well, according to Harwood. He notes that the extreme anger and elation after the president’s election have only deepened since and that […] Read More

Peter Gomes, the former minister of Memorial Church, said in a 2004 convocation address to the Harvard Divinity School, “Silence is death, and we with our skills and talents have never been more needed than now.” His words were never more appropriate than now for those of us who strive for a more civil national […] Read More