Skip to site content

Speech

When people discuss political, social or religious issues on social media, it frequently turns into a name-and-blame argument. We need to stop the personal attacks and stick to the point. […] Read More

The headlines of U.S. news outlets last week seemed to be all about crass language used by two comedians. Liberals and conservatives were up in arms about remarks tweeted by Rosanne Barr and voiced by Samantha Bee. Barr tweeted racially charged comments targeting former Barack Obama aid Valerie Jarrett, while Bee used profane language to […] Read More

There are times when I read what another Christian has written or said, and I wonder whether I am reading the same Bible as them because I can’t justify their behavior based on what I read in my Bible. Now, I realize that in writing this column I am opening myself up to an accusation […] Read More

We are nicer when we journey together. In writing about civility, Gil Rendle (“Behavioral Covenants in Congregations: A Handbook for Honoring Differences”) cites the work of Yale professor Stephen Carter, who argues that riding in a subway, bus or train full of strangers requires us to understand our obligations to treat one another with due […] Read More

I helped launch the Say Something Nice Day movement 13 years ago. Never in my wildest imagination did I think that the greatest barriers to our success would become a president of the United States and evangelical Christians who support his coarse way of communicating and his behavior. I remember when President Bill Clinton was […] Read More

We learned it as children: “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.” I assume it is to be a comfort to children when someone speaks unkind words to them. It occurs to me that it also could be a taunt that dares actual physical violence. In either case, it […] Read More

How do we teach the next generation that disagreements don’t necessarily mean dislike? How can we help them learn to share their thoughts with gentleness and respect in a culture that seems to have no room for healthy public discourse? These questions emerged from a recent discussion with a group of ministers who dialogue in […] Read More

People who attend church regularly often are bilingual, usually without realizing it. As a young child, I began noticing that folks who attend church regularly tend to use a “normal” vocabulary throughout the week. When they step foot on the church campus or attend a church function, they often resort to a specialized repertoire of […] Read More

Do you have the courage to show up to hard conversations? It’s no secret that courage is in high demand in these times we’re living in. In our polarized-everything culture right now, it’s so easy to unfollow our social media “friends” who don’t believe as we do. It’s easy to worship, work and play only […] Read More

If the criteria set forth in Philippians 4:8 were applied to our way of thinking as well as our way of viewing the world and seeing and responding to other people, what would change in our public discourse? For that matter, what would change in our political exchanges, our preferred vocabulary in discussion and argument, […] Read More