My thinking chair is has become very comfortable and equally significant it is comforting. There are times that after settling in, I let the world go on without me but more often than not there is something stuck in my head or heart – a phrase, a quote, a song, a thought. I’ve discovered that am not a very efficient reader or thinker. Okay, the truth is that because Rev. Dr. Kathleen Weller is leading a Tuesday night 7:00 pm book conversation, I made a commitment to finally read Parker Palmer’s book “Healing the Heart of Democracy,” (It’s been on my shelf since it was published 10 years ago but I never made the effort to read it.) If you are interested in joining the conversation contact at email@example.com for login information.
Within the first 20 pages or so, Palmer identifies key civic capacities. (This caught my attention and of course resulted in a rather intentional pause for reflection). Palmer writes: “If we are to engage, not evade, the tension of our differences… we need to listen to each other openly and without fear, learning how much we have in common despite our differences. We are to deepen in our empathy for the alien “other” as we enter imaginatively into the experiences of people whose lives are radically unlike our own. We are to hold what we believe and know with conviction and be willing to listen openly to other viewpoints, changing our minds if needed. We are to seek out alternate facts and explanations whenever we find reason to doubt our own truth claims or the claims made by others, thus becoming better informed. We are to probe, question, explore, and engage in dialogue, developing a fuller, more 3-dimensional view of reality in the process. We are to welcome opportunities to participate in collective problem solving and decision making, generating better solutions and making better decisions as we work with competing ideas. And we are to feel more at home on the face of the earth amid differences of many sorts, better able to enjoy the fruits of our diversity.”
Listen to each other, deepen our empathy, become better informed, engage in dialogue, welcome opportunities to problem solve and feel at home enjoying the fruit of diversity, do those key capacities have relevancy? I’m thinking I need to write this down because maybe there is a sermon series in all of this.
Scripture Reading: Psalm 100:5
“For the Lord is good; the Lord’s lovingkindness is everlasting and the Lord’s faithfulness to all generations.”
What do you identify as your key civic capacities?
What skills would help you listen better?
What are the fruits of diversity?
Prayer: Holy God, keep me quiet so I can listen better and let me explore and enjoy the richness that this day will bring. Amen.
To view previous readings click HERE