If my 30-year friend from from middle school, Kellie Newton, had texted me to say, “Let’s talk about impeachment, abortion, and religion!” I would have said, “I’m sorry, but I’m realllly busy this week! I need to clean the lint out of my dryer vent…yup, realllly busy.”
Few conversation topics are as uncomfortable as these.
But thankfully, Kellie didn’t actually text me that idea. Instead, she asked if I could fly to Seattle for a “Together Washington- Summit for the Common Good.” It was an event that brought together disparate pairs for dialogue and problem-solving for the good of the community.
I jumped at the chance.
My liberal, nontheist friend and I hadn’t been in the same room since the spring of 2017. That was the weekend we taught Heart Perception Project workshop sessions together in Seattle. We were given incredible opportunities at public schools, cafe’s, and even the Seattle Town Hall. And at each event, we demonstrated how to have respectful conversations. We asked each other curious questions, truly listened, and stayed heart-connected.
At the “Summit for the Common Good” event, the respectful dialogue of pairs such as former Governor Michael Dukakis of Massachusetts (an East Coast Democrat) and former Governor Dan Evans of Washington (a West Coast Republican) inspired us. As Kellie and I drove to and from events, however, we talked about controversial issues.
Before I left for the airport, we sat down and had a heart-to-heart in front of the camera to rehash those conversations. We covered a lot of fiery ground, including- you guessed it- impeachment, abortion, and religion.
What a conversation! (and in front of Kellie’s fireplace, no less!)
It’s not easy to stay present and really listen to each other when you disagree so passionately. But for the sake of friendship, community, and the work of God in the world, it’s worth it. (And in the end is much more interesting than cleaning the lint out of my dryer vent).
P.S. If you’d like personalized, private coaching on how to navigate conversations about politics with friends and family members, please contact me HERE.