Friday, September 14, 2007

Civility in Action

On Wednesday this week I was privileged to see a Congressional Student Forum sponsored by the Institute for Civility in Government, which was co-founded by my friends, Rev. Cassandra Dahnke and Rev. Tomas Spath. I had heard about these events and even written about them in the book Cassandra and Tomas and I wrote together, Reclaiming Civility in the Public Square: Ten Rules That Work, but this was my first chance to experience one. It was a blessing. U.S. Representatives John Carter and Henry Cuellar came and answered questions from college students for an hour at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. The students were well prepared and asked good questions. Carter and Cuellar responded with thoughtful answers. As one of the students later said, it was apparent they were smart and had thought a lot about their work. While these two men obviously disagreed on a number of issues,they did so with civility and respect. It was good to see that this is still possible in our "Red State - Blue State" society. As I have reflected on this event I have thought about the Psalm that says how good it is when brothers live together in peace. Knowing how to disagree with each other with civility is important. The reality is that the opposite of civility is not incivility, but the chaos and violence that result when we dehumanize our opponents so that attacking or killing them comes to seem rational. In God's eyes we are all equal, and all of us have fallen short of the glory of God. A good reason to maintain civility when we talk with the rest of God's children.

Grace and Peace,
Donna Sue

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