Category Archives: Practical Steps Toward Dialogue

The Weirdest Common Ground Ever

Many people are bemoaning America’s vicious public square. Few are discussing the weird common ground that most of us share—and what might be the best way to address it. Two recent conversations brought this into focus for me. The first—with a conservative Christian friend who reluctantly supported Donald Trump—fulfilled a longing I’ve had since the […]

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The Other Reason “Spotlight” Is Still Relevant Today

Every year my wife goes off on vacation, and I use the time to catch up on Oscar-winning movies from years past. This summer I saw maybe a half dozen, all of which were superbly made, one of which stood out: Spotlight. In case you haven’t seen it, Spotlight chronicles The Boston Globe’s investigation of […]

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Where Convictions and Friendship Collide

You’re talking with an old friend over coffee. At one point in the conversation, she uses a word that sets off every alarm bell in your head. Clearly she believes something you don’t believe at all. What do you do? Bill and I have been discussing God for decades. He is a Calvinist, a deep […]

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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 […]

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Dialogue and Dublin Billy

For a few days in June, Billy and I ate breakfast at the same café. It’s in the working-class neighborhood of Dublin where I was staying for the annual conference of the International Listening Association. I only knew Billy’s name because someone shouted a good-morning to him in the street, the way people do in […]

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Can the Truth Set Us Free in the Trump Era?

This is the story of a weird Bible interpretation and the unexpected wisdom it holds for us today. Recently I came across the gospel account of Jesus and a Jewish sect called the Sadducees. As the story goes, some of these Sadducees came to Jesus with a theological question: if a woman is married seven […]

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Why I’ve Hit the Pause Button on Dialogue

Not so long ago, most of my writing was devoted to dialogue. Dialogue and Donald Trump. Dialogue and the debate over guns. Dialogue and why my website isn’t called Dialogue Venture anymore. A whole book about dialogue. All of which makes my current approach to dialogue so curious—and maybe fruitful. For the past year or […]

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Rx for Your Trump Hangover

Note: this piece originally appeared in The Huffington Post on January 31. It’s written primarily for my progressive friends, and the intent is not to bash Mr. Trump (though I do criticize him–in a measured way, I hope–where I think it’s accurate and essential to the argument). Rather, it’s become clear that many, many people are struggling […]

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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 […]

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Last Weekend’s Gun Dialogue

Several days after our latest experiment in gun dialogue, I find myself both more hopeful and less hopeful. Fortunately, more hopeful is winning. Last week I posed a few basic ideas that, just maybe, every person on every side of the gun debate could agree on. If we could agree, we’d have some common ground, […]

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