I am pleased that some readers of this web site have sent me links to various written or electronic publications that are supportive of my mission of encouraging and facilitating respectful conversations about important contemporary issues. As I receive these submissions, I will post annotated linked citations for those readers wishing to access these publications.
Other readers are encouraged to submit further publications that they judge to be appropriate for this Clearing House.
Lal, Subodh S. “Pastors Outline How Christians Should Disagree.” The Christian Post. July 6, 2001.
Three respected Christian pastors (Tim Keller, Mike Horton, and Matt Chandler) discuss how Christians should engage other Christians with whom they disagree. Noting that it is easy to caricature someone you have never met, they point to the importance of getting to know that other person well enough to be able to gain a clear idea of his/her position, proposing that you have to be able to state the position the other person is taking in terms that he/she will recognize before you earn the right to critique it.
Hughes, Richard T. “Echoes From Gettysburg: How We Can Save Our Country.” Huffpost Religion. January 16, 2001.
Hughes expresses concern that the metaphor “the American dream,” now points to the rights of the individual to pursue one’s own self interests at the expense of a common good. This has led to movements that are entrenched around their special interests, leading to venomous contempt for those who might disagree. In brief, “incivility now defines our public square, and concern for the common good is in very short supply.”
Hughes, Richard T. “Echoes From Gettysburg: How Americans Embrace Incivility and Ignore the Poor.” Huffpost Religion. January 21, 2011.
Hughes argues that the “faces of incivility” include a “news business” that has “deteriorated on so many fronts into shrill pronouncements leveled from hardened ideological silos on both the right and the left,” and a marginalization of the poor that is “hidden from the eyes of most privileged Americans.”
Hughes, Richard T. “Echoes From Gettysburg: Restoring Civility With Love.” Huffpost Religion. January 26, 2011
Hughes embraces the view that “true civility is a manifestation of human compassion,” and notes the role of religion in sustaining civility: “By asking us to practice the virtue of love, religions encourage us to connect our lives to the lives of others, even those who seem most different from ourselves, even those with whom we most vehemently disagree.”
Mennonite Church USA. “Agreeing and Disagreeing in Love.”
Based on the biblical call to “make every effort to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (Eph. 4:3), this Church body proposes a list of guidelines for Christians who disagree with one another. Their guidelines include encouragement to “go to the other – in the spirit of humility, be quick to listen, be slow to judge, and be willing to negotiate.”
Wiseman, Jennifer. “Civil Discourse and the ASA.” Guest Editorial in Perspectives on Science and Religion, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation, Volume 63, Number 1, March 2011.
Concerned about the poor state of national discourse on science and religious belief, Wiseman makes a bold proposal on how to love someone who espouses views you believe are wrong or even harmful: You do so “by accurately representing those views, as respectfully as possible, while clearly advocating an alternative. By seeking to understand viewpoints outside of your own comfort zone, and by getting to know and even bless people who hold them.”
Dominique, Pete. XM Radio POTUS Interview with Jamie Radtke; “Tea Partier Jamie Radkte on Running for Senate.” March 15, 2011
In contrast to the common radio or TV interview where the interviewer has a clear ideological bias, Dominique listens respectfully to Radtke’s positions on controversial political issues, and notes areas of agreement and disagreement in a respectful manner that is conducive to ongoing conversation.
Wallis, Jim. “Jim Wallis and Richard Lamb: Join the Great Conversation.” Hearts and Minds by Jim Wallis, SoJo Mail, December 3, 2011.
Jim Wallis reports on a conversation he had with Richard Lamb at the National Press Club on “what the religious and moral issues will and should be in the upcoming election year.” Wallis reports that he and Lamb, “who are usually on different sides of politics, but who still call each other friends,” were able to “model respectful and dynamic public discourse” about their agreements and disagreements. Wallis concludes with the claim that if in the months before Election Day 2012, “more evangelicals and people of faith join the Great Conversation, we all win.”
Bauer, Susan W., Maxine Hancock, and John G. Stackhouse Jr. “The Words We Use.” Laing Lecture Series, November 3-4, 2010. Regent College, Vancouver, BC, Canada.
Bauer and her respondents address the themes of “Disappearing Words” (People of the Book in a Multimedia Age); “Fighting Words” (Right and Wrong-headed Ways to Argue); and “Shameful Words “ (Public Confession and Private Sins).
Wilson, John. “Can’t We Just Have a Good Argument? Lessons in “Respectful Conversation.” Books & Culture. October 31, 2005.
Wilson reports on a conference held at Whitworth College as part of a “Christians Engaging Culture” series that was sponsored by the Center for Christian Studies at Gordon College. The featured speaker was James Waller, the author of Becoming Evil: How Ordinary People Commit Genocide and Mass Killing, who presented a “model of engagement” with the larger culture based on humility – “worldview humility,” intellectual humility,” and “relational humility.” In sharp contrast to the vitriolic nature of much public discourse, Wilson points out that “four prerequisites for respectful conversation: (1) humility; (2) love; (3) patience; and (4) commitment balanced with openness” were “on evidence” throughout this conference.
Kwon, Lillian. “Evangelicals Debate Theistic Evolution, Historical Adam.” The Christian Post: Churches and Ministries. July 19, 2012.
Kwon reports on a “charitable dialogue” that has started between a group of seven professors from Southern Baptist seminaries and members of the BioLogos Foundation about their “opposing views on evolution and its compatibility with Scripture.” Her encouraging observation is that “Rather than a ‘tit-for-tat’ exchange, they sought to start something more ‘charitable’ and ‘respectful’ in the science and faith discussion,” since “many preceding debates have not always been productive or civil.”
Curry, Dean C. “Doing Politics Well: Ten Propositions for People of Faith.” Patheos. July 17, 2012
While recognizing that “much of evangelical engagement of politics – Right as well as Left – has been sloppy, misdirected and ineffective,” Curry calls Christians to active engagement in politics and offers ten very helpful propositions that “could help shape a more thoughtful, meaningful and faithful Christian engagement.”