Depolarizing Ourselves: The first steps toward civil engagement

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    An Introductory Workshop for Faith Communities

    For people of faith, civil discourse begins in recognizing the image of God in our conversation partner. Since we are all children of God, our approach should involve mutual respect. Respect, not agreement, is an essential key for a healthy discussion. This workshop addresses how we may inadvertently be complicit in, or possibly even encourage, polarization.

    What is the Depolarizing Ourselves workshop?

    Depolarizing Ourselves is designed to help lessen the effects of polarization when you encounter them in your political conversations. Note that by “polarization,” we are not referring to healthy disagreements over issues or philosophy. We are talking about how we regard and talk about large groups of ordinary people on the other side of our own politics as if they were enemies.

    Cosponsored by the Liberty Area Ministerial Alliance. Led by a volunteer Braver Angels facilitator.

    Who Can Attend?

    Anyone interested in examining their own inner polarization and learning strategies to disagree without condemning or ridiculing others. Take this workshop if you are interested in learning:

    • How to be more aware of their own “inner polarizer”
    • How to interact without demonizing, dismissing or stereotyping large swaths of the population.

    In our current political climate, much of our conflict stems not from healthy disagreement over policies, issues, or philosophy. Instead, it’s created by the often emotional, rancor-escalating, and highly polarizing conversations that we typically have with others.

    The Depolarizing Ourselves workshop will help you reframe how you view the other side in the face of disagreements around politics. Successfully “taming” our inner polarizer starts with recognizing our tendencies to make harmful generalizations about the other side. This requires acknowledging how we often attribute negative intent and motivations to the other side without first trying to understand them.

    ‘A house divided against itself cannot stand.’

    Abraham Lincoln’s famous 1858 quote refers to Matthew 12:25 – “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.”

    Members of the faith community can bear witness to the importance of unity and togetherness; and — even more importantly — we can be a ministry of reconciliation to others.

    Learn more about Braver Angels here: