One of the things that unites Americans, left and right, poor and rich, is the sense we might have slight room for improvement in terms of how we interact on community-oriented subjects. Like, say, who the next president should be. Or how to get as many people as possible access to healthcare that actually keeps them healthy. Or even smaller issues, like the best way to open town council meetings, or whether the local Boy Scout troop should open up to girls, or whether our church really needs that pricey new HVAC system.
So we have these two courses we built: Bridging the Political Divide with Parker Palmer and Make Me an Instrument of Peace: A Guide to Civil Discourse, which we built in collaboration with The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations. Make Me an Instrument of Peace has been free since we first launched it and will remain free forever. And as long as we’re all staying home trying to figure out ways to stimulate our brains while staying at least six feet away from all other humans, we decided to make Bridging the Political Divide free too. That way, when we all get to interact again, we’ll be able to do so much more effectively. Home can be like a training ground.We can practice on our family members as we all get increasingly stir-crazy.
Basically, we’re suggesting that you approach these instructors as a free package deal. Parker Palmer is well-known to many people — he is an internationally respected author, teacher, and activist. He is also the founder of the Center for Courage and Renewal. The Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations, meanwhile, has been working on civil discourse practices for years. At this point, they’ve put so much thought into productive discourse that they could probably teach Socrates how to get more out of his conversations.
These are some great minds talking about a topic that’s extremely important in our particular time and place. So if you’re feeling like stretching your brain, your spiritual muscles — or even if you just want to be able to have productive conversation with family members who disagree with you over the turkey next Thanksgiving — you can use this home-oriented time to take advantage of these experts and their ideas. When we can all return to work, school, the gym, brunch, etc., we hope you will bring their approaches with you out into the world.