December 2018 – Words Matter: Two Approaches to Bridging Divisions on Controversial Issues

December 2018 Midday Interfaith Dialogue

Words Matter: Two Approaches to Bridging Divisions on Controversial Issues

  Thursday, December 6, 2018
  12 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.
  Interfaith Action of Greater Saint Paul
1671 Summit Avenue, Saint Paul, MN 55105 (View Map)

In our increasingly polarized and angry country many people are finding it hard to have a civil conversation with people with whom they disagree on controversial issues. As a result, people of differing perspectives on controversial issues are avoiding talking with one another. This avoidance means people do not really know the people with whom they strongly disagree. Therefore, exaggerated stereotypes replace real relationships.

The two approaches you will learn about at this forum, Respectful Conversations and Better Angels, are two ways to help overcome the growing divisions in our country.

Minnesota Council of Churches’ Respectful Conversations have involved over 5,000 Minnesotans in hundreds of conversations on polarizing topics, helping congregations and other organizations to radiate peace in their communities. Recent conversations have addressed post-election tensions and the Enbridge Line 3 replacement. Rev. Jerad Morey, MCC’s program and communications director, has a background in conflict resolution and co-founded Respectful Conversations. Rev. Arthur Murray of Bloomington’s Transfiguration Lutheran Church helped organize a series of Respectful Conversations on divisive topics concerning that city’s residents that were hosted in different faith communities.

Prof. William Doherty of the University of Minnesota is co-founder and a senior fellow on the staff of Better Angels. Better Angels was founded in 2016. Its mission statement says, “Polarization is tearing America apart. Through workshops, debates, and trainings, Better Angels is bringing liberals and conservatives together into a working alliance – building new ways to talk to one another, participate together in public life, and influence the direction of the nation.”

This event is free and open to the public. Though lunch is not served, refreshments are provided.