I’ve been enjoying Krista Tippett’s Civil Conversations Projects where she fosters conversation, not debate, on a hot-button topic. We’re talking abortion, gay marriage – the big political, moral and religious issues that folks stay away from at dinner parties because of the emotion and strong feelings they bring out. explains:

The Civil Conversations Project is a series of four public events and media experiences of politically counter-cultural relationship at work… Most of us — wherever we are along the spectrum of liberal or conservative — feel alienated and unrepresented by the hyper-partisan deadlock that distorts and strangles our common deliberation of the truly pressing issues before us.


These conversations are a way of “building political bridges” and you can watch or listen to them at on through itunes.

In the 10/10/12 discussion on Marriage, I was really struck by something David Blankenhorn, the founder and president of the Institute for American Values, said about doubt:

Mr. Blankenhorn: …I think that doubt and civility are friends. They go together kind of like, you know, coffee and cream. They’re partners. Um, by civility, I mean treating the other person the way you would want them to treat you. And by doubt, I mean believing that you may not be right even when your position is passionately held.

Ms.Tippett: You wrote this: “What I need as a doubting person is the wisdom of the other.”

Mr. Blankenhorn: See, because if I don’t have any doubt, I don’t need you. I should be nice to you out of manners, but I don’t need a relationship with you. I may want you to be available to be lectured by me so that you can come to the correct view and I may want to treat you politely for that reason, but I don’t really need you. As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good. And I feel like that that’s a healthier way to be. And if I am not sure that I have the full truth of the matter, I need you.

Civility allows me to have a relationship with you. It feeds me what I need.

Doubt opens the door for widsom, learning, relationships and friendship because we need “the other.” Doubt creates space for change and innovation because we’re not “set in our ways” or 100% positive.  Relationships change people and knowing that I don’t have all the answers encourages me to foster relationships, even those who are different.

As I grow older, I grow in doubt and that’s good.

says Mr. Blankenhorn. And I agree, I’m growing in doubt and I’m seeing the benefits.


So our last week of lectures was on relationships. It was a really insightful time and our speaker, Mark, was really engaging and challenging. Plus he fixed our internet & DVD player (SCORE!). We discussed Jesus words from John 15:13, “Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.” So basically, the best friendships require great sacrifice.

I think there’s nothing like marriage to make you understand that principle.

With friends it can be all too tempting to just paste a smile over gritted teeth; not speak up when someone’s words hurt your; not challenge unhealthy behaviour patterns, but bitch behind their back. Of course, these things are temping in marriage too, but after about 5 minutes you realise the relationship will only last 5 minutes if it continues like that. (Of course, an authentic friendship isn’t going to last much longer either).

Sacrifice kills, but perhaps that’s part of the key. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will save it. – Luke 9:24

Speaking of sacrifice… our house also took 2 personality tests – the Myers Briggs and DISC to understand each other more. And we discovered that almost the entire house are ENFPs. I, on the other hand, stand almost dead opposite as an ESTJ. Whereas my husband & housemates are described as “warmly enthusiastic and imaginative” by their profile, my description states, “makes good administrators.” And while they see life as “full of possibliites,” I am “practical, realistic & matter-of-fact.” Hmm… the joys of community living, eh? I’m like the Debbie Downer in a house full of dreamers.

But at least I change the loo paper!