We always enjoy Big Class time. It’s engaging and exciting to follow so many quality conversations between so many people on important topics. Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer has wrapped up as a Big Class (though a number of people have purchased it since it closed, or are planning to use it as part of their annual subscription). We want to thank all who participated. Parker Palmer’s wisdom offered much food for thought, but, as always, what moved the class beyond the lectures was your thoughtful, discerning engagement with the lectures and with one another. You continue to bring much of what these classes have to offer, and for that, we thank you.
Bridging the Political Divide enrolled more students than any Big Class has ever had — 2,842 people registered for the course. Many of those people took the class in groups with others from their congregations, so the class reached even more people than that number reflects. Of the people who filled out the class survey at the end, 93% were satisfied or very satisfied with their course experience, and nobody was dissatisfied.
Many people appreciated Parker Palmer’s lectures and overall demeanor, generally agreeing in sentiment with the student who wrote, “Parker Palmer is so cool.” In particular, numerous people mentioned Parker’s “concept of hope and cynicism being the biggest divide between us.” Others appreciated Parker’s advice about “how to engage with people of different political views” and his suggestions for “specific language with which to interpret conversations in a tailspin.”
Other students made specific mention of the high quality discussions that took place. One student wrote about appreciating “the opportunity to share discussion with others in a meaningful way,” while another liked “the conversation with others and being able to ‘upvote’ the responses.” That’s on you. Thank you for providing your valuable insights and adding value to this discussion.
Finally, one more thanks to Forward Movement, The Episcopal Church, Bexley Seabury Seminary, Living Compass, and the Center for Courage and Renewal for making it possible for this class to reach so many people. Thank you!