One of my favorite shows on public radio is On Being hosted by Krista Tippett. Krista explores spiritual topics from a variety of perspectives to help the listener deepen their understanding of various points of view or spiritual traditions that they may not be familiar with. I like this show because it is not about right or wrong but rather an intentional exploration of spiritual topics and traditions to enliven and enlighten the listener.
Recently Krista interviewed Glenn Beck, the conservative radio host, about his recent declaration of his responsibility for the decisiveness in our political and social discourse. Typically, On Being is about dialog and communication and consciously stays away from certain individuals who are more interested in being right then having an open discussion of spiritual and religious matters. As you can imagine, the inclusion of an individual with the reputation of Glenn beck caused a bit of a stir in the On Being audience.
What came out of the controversy and comments was a new initiative from On Being on how to create better conversations. This seemed appropriate with the small groups and classes we are actively developing and promoting. I thought I would share what she is listing as guiding virtues of better conversations.
1. Words matter-the words we use shape how we think and interpret the world and how people respond to us.
2. Generous listening-Seek first to understand.
3. Adventurous Civility-Honoring the difficulty of many conversations and honoring the possible disagreements while acknowledging our interconnectedness
6. Hospitality-Creating a space of inclusion, invitation, and trust.
We do not have to agree with everyone but we can be agreeable in our disagreements. We can learn to come from a place of empathy and compassion.