Last week on the Peacing It All Together podcast, Randy and I talked about ‘the call for civility’.

Next week at the church’s pub-chat, the topic is the same.

Randy and I came up with 3 ideas about this and I want to reflect on them here.

First, it is important in ‘The Argument Culture’ (as Deborah Tannen famously called it) that we don’t prioritize policing people’s tone or vocabulary. Yes, we don’t want to inflame the situation and make it worse… but policing tone is not our highest priority.

The bigger issue is committing to stay at the table. Part of problem right now is that people can tune each other out, turn the channel, unfriend or mute voice they don’t agree with. Our self-selecting news feed becomes an echo chamber and bubble.

Staying at the table even when things get heated is an important first commitment.

Second, humanize – don’t demonize those with whom you disagree. A gift (or grace) that we can give our fellow members of the human race is to spend our time and energy imagining them as more fully and faithfully human. It is a dangerous thing when we make people into non-human things like monsters and animals.

Third, if push comes to shove (as they say) make sure that you punch up and not down. Focus your critique and concern on those who have more resources and influence than you do. Don’t take swings at those who are marginalized or disadvantaged.

Use your voice, your influence, and your resources for those who have less access to influence, fewer resources, and less power than you.

Is there any that you would add to our 3 suggestions?

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