The night of the vice-presidential debate seems the perfect night to talk about what I’ve been thinking about lately–the Civil Conversations Project. I heard Richard Mouw speak about political civility last year, and LOVED it. But I didn’t know it was, you know, a thing. But then a friend posted a fabulous conversation about abortion, called Pro-Life, Pro-Choice, Pro-Dialogue.
And now I want to listen to them all, Season 1 and Season 2. I started last night with The Next Christians, a conversation between Jim Daly, the new head of Focus on the Family, and Gabe Lyons, the founder of Q.
One of the things I find so compelling (among many) about the Civil Conversations Project is the humility the guests bring to the topic they are discussing. I especially love hearing Christians say they don’t have it all figured out, some areas of life are hard, and yes, the church has hurt people and we are sorry for it. I wasn’t expecting the leader of Focus on the Family to admit that the organization may have contributed to some hurt, but he did. And Jim Daly said something I’ve been thinking about since I heard it–that Christians are called to hold one another accountable, and to be compassionate to those around us, when historically we’ve done it the other way around.
Presidential debates frustrate me because no one is honest, it feels like it’s all a show, and problems never get solved. It mostly feels like bravado and egoism at its height. The Civil Conversations projects feels like the opposite…people admitting that although they think and care deeply about their positions on issues, they have things to learn, and a desire to sit down with people who are different from themselves and do just that.