Category Archives: Other people’s good ideas

A Brief (and Interfaith) Christmas Meditation

This morning, my email brought me a story in which the author delivered a sefer Torah, the long scroll used in synagogues, to a fledgling Reform community in Israel. The actual hand-off, which took place in an airport, involved some initial consternation: I took the scroll from its box, passing it carefully to Yael Karrie, […]

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A Look at Ferguson from the Depths of the Heart

Miki Kashtan writes more deeply about the human experience than just about anyone I know. When reading her blog, I have the sense that she has confronted a difficult issue, taken it into her deepest self (an act of courage if there ever was one), and written down the wisdom that emerges in that interface […]

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How Can Civic Infrastructure (Whatever That Is) Help Dialogue?

Lately I’ve been writing about civic infrastructure here. Civic what now, you say? Don’t worry; it’s still a new term. If, however, you’re seriously interested in dialogue, you’ll want to know about civic infrastructure, as there’s a ton of buzz in the field about it these days. Think of it this way. Every town or […]

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Interfaith Dialogue in One’s Own House

Sometimes, when we least expect it, we are called to live out what we say or think. Some people do this very, very well. Professor Paul F. Knitter had explored and taught interfaith dialogue for many years when his wife converted from the Catholic faith they shared to Buddhism. As he writes, it was not […]

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When the Givens Aren’t Given

Think of something you accept as a given: a universal truth, “just the way it is.” Now ask yourself this: is there any chance that your given is not universal? What would it take to make you see it differently? What might happen if you did? At the beginning of this month, I had the […]

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Letting Our Cherished Convictions Go–a la Thomas Merton

I had a great blog post planned for this week—until a quote from a friend got in the way. If you’ve read my book or other things from me, you probably know what I think about our most cherished convictions. We invest a lot of our lives in forming them. They guide us as we […]

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Listening: You Can Always Learn More

Somewhere around fifth grade, our class had a unit on “being a good listener.” I think it lasted a week. Now, in contrast, I’m starting to think we can never learn enough about listening—or listen as deeply as we could. This idea started emerging a few weeks ago, during the 34th annual convention of the […]

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Hard Questions from the Dialogue Trenches—“Do That and I’m Leaving”–& a Book Giveaway

One great joy of writing a book, from my perspective, is speaking about it at various venues and hearing the wisdom of the people who attend. In the five months since Why Can’t We Talk? was published, I have run into some very intelligent people who have thrown me some very hard questions. Sometimes the […]

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A Vietnamese Hero on Politics and Dialogue

Do we have to run our politics with daggers drawn? Is confrontation simply part of the game? Based on the past few years, it’s hard to think otherwise. In the U.S., the climate of hostility, polarization, and refusal to compromise has dominated Washington. Powerful forces conspire to reinforce this climate: the demands of party loyalty, […]

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A Hobbyist’s Model for Framing Dialogue

One of my hobbies revolves around friendly competition. Several times a year, we gather at shows in which judges evaluate our latest exhibits, place them in order of quality, and give out awards like Best in Show.  Inevitably, the exhibitors compare notes about judges too. This kind of talk is a two-edged sword. On the […]

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