Better Conversations – A Starter Guide
FROM KRISTA TIPPETT
young century is awash with questions of meaning, of how we structure
our common life, and who we are to each other. It seems we are more
divided than ever before – unable to speak across the di erences we must
engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children.
you and I have it in us to be nourishers of discernment, fermenters of
healing. We have the language, the tools, the virtues – and the calling,
as human beings – to create hospitable spaces for taking up the hard
questions of our time.
calling is too important and life-giving to wait for politics or media
at their worst to come around. We can discover how to calm fear and
plant the seeds of the robust civil society we desire and that our age
is civic work and it is human, spiritual work – in the most expansive
21st century sense of that language. We can learn for our time what
moral imagination, social healing, and civil discourse can look like and
how they work.
Civil Conversations Project is a collection of audio, video, writings,
and resources for planting new conversations in families and
communities. How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each
other? Can we nd ways to cross gulfs between us about politics and the
meaning of community itself? How to engage our neighbors who have
become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold
passionate disagreements on deep, contrasting convictions?
is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human
purposes? You will have your own questions – particular to your
community and concerns – to add.
insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not an exercise in
niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that
aren’t serving our age of change. This is a resource and re ection for
beginning this adventure — creating new spaces for listening,
conversation, and engagement. We’ve created it as producers, but more
urgently as citizens.
It is up to us, where we live, to start having the conversations we want to be hearing and creating the realities we want to inhabit. I have seen that wisdom, in life and society, emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and erceness, mine and yours.