Krista Tippett has begun a new project called the Civil Conversation Project. We do need to find ways to converse about passionate issues with a dispassionate respect for the honor of the other. I liked the idea that one entry point is to consider the values shared with the adversary. They are often values that reach deeper than the disagreements we confront. I liked the question, “What concerns me about my own position?”
There needs to be a way to achieve more vulnerable conversation by opening our selves and positions in open discourse, i.e. David Gushee in Sacred Conversations. Typically discourse occurs as thought each conversant is holding an undisclosed hand of presuppositions and values that are not up for discussion. The purpose is to win each round (or point) as one manipulates skillfully through the opposition, truth “be hanged”, or used as a bludgeon to disable the opponent. Respectful conversation on the other hand attempts to understand the other as “legitimate”, as having developed out of a history of “real” experiences that shape the person as well as the opinion. Such conversations must begin with MY READINESS issuing from my discomfort with former ATTACK strategies that have laid waste the realization of our common humanity.