Well dang. I wrote this whole thing up and can’t get the embed code to work. Go here for the livecast.
During Monday’s run I listened to the first of four installments of the Civil Conversations Project, between Gabe Lyons of Q and Jim Daly of Focus on the Family. It was a superb conversation. (On Being is not as good as the Pandora dubstep station for my run pace, but in every other way, it’s an excellent running companion.)
I loved the story Jim Daly told about an independent newspaper in Colorado that awarded Focus one of their “Shame” awards. Daly decided they would go and accept the award. A friendship began between Daly and the newspaper’s fiercely liberal editor. They have gone on to partner on projects to improve their community. I still do not agree with all of the principles of the organization. But this is not your grandparents’ Focus on the Family.
The second installment of the Civil Conversations Project happens in just a little while, between Frances Kissling and David Gushee, activists on two sides of the abortion debate. They will talk with one another about what is at stake in this charged issue. Krista Tippett will speak with them both in a live, public event at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey School of Public Affairs.
Watch and listen here.
ABOUT THE CIVIL CONVERSATIONS PROJECT
The Civil Conversations Project is a series of four public events and media experiences of politically counter-cultural relationship at work. Krista Tippett and her guests will take on dynamics that epitomize present chasms in American civil life: budgetary and economic crisis, social values clashes around abortion and same-sex marriage, and politically-engaged Christian action. Taken together, these conversations will collect diverse wisdom on the state of American democracy and civil society in divided times.
Most of us — wherever we are along the spectrum of liberal or conservative — feel alienated and unrepresented by the hyper-partisan deadlock that distorts and strangles our common deliberation of the truly pressing issues before us. Ironically, in a season in which we are electing a leader to guide us, it becomes even more impossible to have the real discussions we need to have.
But there are bridge people who are doing that in their own spheres of influence, transcending the vitriol and deadlock even as they continue to represent their own place on the spectrum. They have vocabularies and perspectives and experiences that could help reframe our common thinking, and revitalize our capacity for civil society and moral imagination. There are new generations and leaders who are bringing a new imagination and defy stereotypes of religious — specifically Christian, Evangelical — America that flourish in an election year. And even on the lightning rod issues that touch on reproduction and family — at once intimate and civilizational and so hard to think about collectively, much less talk about — there are seeds of cross-partisan moral dialogue. But these are rarely articulated, much less taken as the starting point for public conversations.