Category Archives: Dialogue and Language

The Second Step Toward Dialogue Is a Doozy

People ask me what my book is about. I tell them it’s about how to change from the inside out so you can talk with people who drive you nuts. They say, “Boy, do I know someone who could use your book.” That response always makes me laugh. So I’m reluctant to admit there’s a […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Spirituality, Listening, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , , , | 2 Responses

The Media and Other Groups That May or May Not Exist

Spend 10 minutes discussing any hot-button issue, and you will inevitably hear something about the media. Most of us take the term for granted, as though we all know exactly what it means. It’s like a proper name. When you say, “Joe’s got it all wrong,” we automatically picture Joe (assuming we know him). When […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

In Mr. Trump’s Escher World, Is Dialogue Under Assault?

There’s been a lot of talk in the dialogue field since the U.S. presidential election. Practitioners are talking about the meaning of Donald Trump’s victory for dialogue efforts, our collective failure to listen to a wide swath of the American electorate, etc. Many have voiced the belief that we need dialogue more than ever. And […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Care Like a Citizen, Think Like a Journalist (Part 1)

Political lies used to imply that there was a truth…. Evidence, consistency and scholarship had political power. Today a growing number of politicians and pundits simply no longer care. They are content with what Stephen Colbert, an American comedian, calls “truthiness”: ideas which “feel right” or “should be true.”    —“The Post-Truth World: Yes, I’d Lie […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How Do You Come to Your Opinions?

Think of a controversial issue in the news. More likely than not, you’ve already formed opinions about it. How did you come to those opinions? The question keeps arising for me this month, thanks to conversations about the complex of issues surrounding violence, guns, terrorism, and Islam. Several of my “conversation partners” are people with […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Response

Why Does Immigration Matter TO YOU?

I asked myself this question while journaling last week. I did not expect the wild ride through my unconscious that followed. The question has become central for me because I find myself enraged at people on the other side of the debate: the folks who want to build a wall on the Mexican border, or […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and Spirituality, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses

In Praise of Gossip

It was day four of a five-day retreat. We’d just finished another soul-baring breakout session, three of us practicing new interpersonal skills and getting critique from one of the retreat facilitators. The exercise would have been grueling on any day; on this particular day it came after hours of deep, intense lecture on many things […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Spirituality | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Response

Stupid Remarks and the Rush to Judgment

A few days ago I said something stupid, possibly even offensive, and it got me thinking about a disturbing bandwagon that most of us, from time to time, jump on and ride. On Tuesday I had the privilege of speaking about my book at the behest of the Friends of the Albany Public Library. From […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and Media | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Responses

A Kinda Sorta Dialogue—en Français—at Tim Horton’s

This past weekend I found myself in Drummondville, Quebec, about an hour east of Montreal, waiting to place my breakfast order at a Tim Horton’s. As you might expect, the menu and the chatter of the counter staff were entirely in French. French is not my first language. Thanks to C. Douglas Fenner and several […]

Also posted in Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Starting Point on Race for White People, Maybe

Maybe it’s that I’m reading Alice Walker’s incredible The Color Purple just as the commentary around Trayvon Martin has taken center stage again. Whatever the reason, the loud, angry cacophony about race in America has cut me to the heart—and rattled my cage. Like many white people, I first grew aware of this cacophony because […]

Also posted in Dialogue and Current Events, Dialogue and Media, Practical Steps Toward Dialogue | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 7 Responses