Thursday, October 21, 2010

Civil Incivility

Dear Urban Abbey Members and Friends:

Penny & I are in Texas visiting her mom who has Alzheimer’s. One of the spiritual disciplines I have is to listen to the “Speaking of Faith” [now called “Being] podcasts distributed through NPR. This morning as I was exercising, I was listening to the most recent podcast of an interview with Richard Mouw on “Restoring Political Civility”. This really spoke to me today not just in the narrow confines of the political arena, but in my life as a Christian and Urban Abbey member.

Richard’s phrase “civil incivility” in my mind really boils down to a call for listening…deep listening. I certainly find that in the charged issues that confront me – same sex marriage, racial hatred, terrorist attacks on the innocent – it is so easy to demonize all those on the other side of those issues. As I look at the country’s current political arena, I see a growing polarization between liberals and conservatives, Republicans and Democrats. If I take all these issues, I find that I have a tendency toward incivility – holding my beliefs so strongly that I can’t listen to another point of view.

I, and I believe, we the Urban Abbey Community are called to model what Richard would call a more civil approach to those with differing opinions. As a community we need to find ways to navigate disagreement while modeling gentleness and civility. Taking the time to really listen to another is one of the answers for me. When we listen and hear what another is saying we can find areas of common ground that can allow us to move forward.

I invite you to download the interview at the following url: I also ask you to share your thoughts with the community on how we can be models of healing in our larger Church and Christian community.

Shalom and many blessings, George

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