Strong Listening that Goes Beyond Politeness

This Musing is drawn from some highlights from chapter 7 of my “Let’s Talk” book, titled “Planting Tiny Seeds of Redemptive Conversation.” We should all aspire to practice politeness, which seems to be in short supply these days. But, in our increasingly tribalistic culture, being polite is not enough. In a conversation with another person […]

Talking About our Differing Partial Glimpses of the Truth

This Musing is abstracted out from a longer narrative, titled “Major Obstacles to Inclusive and Respectful Conversations, With the Essential First Step,” presented in chapter 1 of my book  “Let’s Talk.” I believe that God knows the truth about all things. And, as one who aspires to be a follower of Jesus, I embrace with […]

Foundational Christian Values

The following Musing is the first in a series of eleven weekly musings that are abbreviated versions of various portions of my recent book “Let’s Talk: Bridging Divisive Lines Through Inclusive and Respectful Conversations.” It is my hope that you will find my sequence of Musings to cohere and flow well toward the goal of […]

Affirmative Action based on Economic Imbalance

I look back with horror at the prevalence of slavery in the history of America. Someone once asked me to conjecture as to what Americans may look back at with horror a hundred years from now. My answer was and still is the disparity in wealth and well-being between the rich and the poor. This […]

Choosing Both / And rather than Either / Or as an Antidote to Polarization in America

Much of my work over the years has focused on my calling into question either/or binary positions on contentious issues; choosing, rather, to formulate both/and positions that seek to capture the best insights from those adhering to the two either/or poles It all started many years ago, during my days as a Vice President for […]

Dividing or Uniting Americans: Trying to Recruit Two Northwest Iowans

The following was published in the September 8 issue of the Capital Democrat in Orange City, Iowa It has been accurately suggested that a rapidly emerging problem among Americans is that half of us don’t want to talk to the other half. As some readers of the Capital Democrat may recall from previous pieces I […]

Divide or Unite: My Invitation to MAGA Republicans.

The impetus for my invitation is the speech recently given in Philadelphia by President Biden on the topic “The Soul of the Nation” and two criticisms of that speech, one by a Biden supporter and one by a non-supporter. Biden’s speech was a blistering criticism of those he views as extreme MAGA Republicans; while acknowledging […]

Navigating The Abortion Debate: Conversations Based on Values

The Supreme Court has spoken, voting 5-4 to overturn Roe vs. Wade, thereby turning over to the various states the right to enact their own abortion laws. I fear that this decision will lead to an unprecedented level of vitriolic political discourse, and even to violence, as different states enact laws ranging from banning abortion […]

Hurrah for Bipartisan Gun Legislation

I applaud the imminent passage of bipartisan gun legislation that is long overdue. This is not the first time that a small bipartisan group of legislators has been able to forge bipartisan legislation. Two other examples come to mind, one old and one relatively new. In 2013, a small bipartisan “gang of eight” senators, four […]

An Open Letter to Elon Musk

Dear Mr. Musk: News of your purchase of Twitter has elicited numerous reactions, both positive and negative. I am responding positively, with some qualifications. I applaud your commitment to foster “free speech” that will give voice to the expression of any belief about any contentious issue. My applause is prompted by a very painful experience […]

Reflections on Gay Marriage

Author’s Note by Harold Heie: In my various attempts to model on this website respectful conversations among Christians who have strong disagreements about some contentious issues, I have attempted to be even-handed in allowing those on either side of each issue to present their differing beliefs, with minimal editorial comments from me as moderator. However, […]

Misplaced Value Commitments in Politics

If you dig beneath the surface of everything you say or do, you will discover one or more value commitments, in the ordinary sense of some things that you judge to be important. Therefore, to make some sense of the turmoil in contemporary American politics, one must seek to uncover the foundational value commitments of […]

Constant Ongoing Learning in Dialogical Community

These six words were used by my good friend David Gushee, professor of Christian ethics at Mercer university, to describe my “approach” to engaging others. This observation was prompted by my recently making a “mid-course change” in the procedures for the ecumenical conversation on what it means to “follow Jesus” that I am currently hosting […]

Freedom is Not License: Mandating Masks or Not

On a daily basis, cable TV reports on the protests from some Americans against mask mandates because they are a violation of “freedom.” My argument in this Musing is that not wanting to wear masks for this reason reflects a misunderstanding of the nature of freedom by equating freedom with “license,” being able to “do […]

From the Power of Control to the Power of Love

The greatest disparity that I perceive between what is currently happening in the political realm in America and my beliefs as a person committed to the Christian faith is conflicting views as to the meaning and exercise of “power.” It appears to me that the view of power that pervades the political realm is that […]