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    World on Fire: When a Gunman Attacked in My Hometown

    Some days the world feels aflame. Saturday, August 3rd, 2019, the news gripped me. People fled out of a mall where I worked during college summers. Police surrounded the area less than one mile from my childhood home where I played hide and seek and marbles. Blood puddled at a store built where I used to trudge through the desert catching lizards and finding rocks. And the gunman—he hailed from the area where I now live. So, this terror feels more personal. And when I hear his actions flowed from racism and anti-immigrant anger, I shake my head at the lies and brokenness behind this horror. I can’t escape the…

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    Celebrating and Remembering our Freedom – July 3, 2019

    On July 4, in 1776 the delegates to the Continental Congress signed the Declaration of Independence. With that signing our country was born. Today we celebrate America’s birthday. What are we celebrating and why should we remember? At a time when civil discourse is no longer assumed and disruption of basic rights is prevalent and frequent, it is well to consider and reaffirm the primacy of religious freedom to American democracy and celebrate it. On June 25, 1988, another document was signed, the Williamsburg Charter to celebrate and reaffirm the First Amendment Religious Liberty clause and mark the 200th anniversary of Virginia’s call for the Bill of Rights. It was…

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    Bottling Civility: Talking Respectfully About Tough Topics

    This blog first appeared over a year ago. I find that I need the message it contains even more than when I first posted it: "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19 How can we talk about controversial topics in a meaningful way? I’ve witnessed or been in on some contentious discussions in the last several months. Some on Facebook have included profanity and name calling—and this among believers. On the other hand, I have the privilege of participating with a small, but diverse group of believers in some mind-expanding discussions on potentially explosive topics. Our…

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    Civil Discourse: Community Flavor

    Have you looked at the comment section on any controversial topic on the internet lately? Some of the words there can burn the hair right off your head. How in the world can we have a polite conversation on a controversial topic with people in our community who think so differently than we do, who speak such fiery words? To put out that fire I have brewed a batch of civil discourse—community flavor. Let me share the ingredients with you. ·         Listen well. When you talk to someone in your community about a tough topic, you may know little about them. For a polite conversation to take place, you must…

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    Civil Discourse: Church Flavor

    As iron sharpens iron, so a person sharpens his friend. Prov. 27:17 (NET) This has been an interesting year. I have frequently found myself in conversations where I disagreed with members of my church family. To my surprise and theirs, even when presented with the same information, we have come to different conclusions. I believe the ingredients to civil discourse with your church family are similar to the ones that foster civility in your family. What are the main ingredients that enable you to have a polite discussion with your family on a controversial subject? Last month, I wrote about how to stir up a batch of Civil Discourse–Family Flavor. Mix equal…

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    Bottling Civility: Engaging Politely about Controversial Topics

    "Understand this, my dear brothers and sisters! Let every person be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger.” James 1:19 How can we talk about controversial topics in a meaningful way? I’ve witnessed or been in on some contentious political discussions in the last several months. Some on Facebook have included profanity and name calling—and this among believers. On the other hand, I have the privilege of participating with a small, but diverse group of believers in some mind-expanding discussions on potentially explosive topics. Our conversations have been exhilarating—and humbling. The group is a multi-generational gathering of men and women, multi-racial, probably from multiple political parties. We’ve had…