Civil Conversations

I recently attended two local presentations that connected with the theme of civility. One presentation took place in August at the Cedar Rapids Public Library. The Ray Center at Drake University put on this event. The presenter shared the need to understand the viewpoints of others before we can expect others to understand our own particular viewpoints.
The speaker said we often prepare a rebuttal instead of really listening to those around us. Another insight was the importance of attacking the issues of the day and not the people connected to the issues. We should care more to get it right than to be right.

The other presentation, at Theatre Cedar Rapids in September, was the Iowa Ideas Conference sponsored by the Cedar Rapids Gazette. This presentation addressed the importance of finding ways to collaborate in the polarized times we live in. One of the session speakers was former Iowa Supreme Court Justice David Baker. He shared that most people
want a fair resolution in the matters of the day, but no one wants to be seen as weak. For many, compromise is seen as being weak. Folks want to win. Baker mentioned that few people know how to pick up the phone and speak to one another.

For me, these presentations brought out the need to work harder at getting along. We live in a difficult world today and times will only get tougher unless we learn to find common ground, respect the viewpoints of others, and express a willingness to compromise when the timing is right. A scripture reading I reflected on after the presentations was Matthew 18:15-17. In this passage, Jesus talks about conflict. He says that parties need to put in the hard work. Jesus says that if a person bothers you, you should come to this individual one-on-one. If this doesn’t work, then it is acceptable to bring in one or two others. Extra efforts are needed to find common ground. I hope we make those efforts. I’ve been reflecting lately about ways we might get along in our world today. Might we all do what we can to make a difference!

A Thousand Blessings to each of You!