Controversial topics often stir strong passions among UUs in their “search for truth and meaning.” Some UUJME chapters and Task Forces have found it useful to write a “pledge” to guide their discussions. Here’s one, offered by Joel Neiditz, of Theodore Parker Church in Boston.
Guidelines for Dialoguing in the
Because we aspire to create an inclusive community where love and mutual respect are continuously nurtured and supported, even as we discuss complex and challenging issues about which we may strongly disagree, we pledge:
To fully own what we think and feel by using “I messages” when speaking.
To embody genuine curiosity through listening deeply and actively with eyes, ears, body, heart and mind to the thoughts and feelings of others.
To respond to each other gently and without criticism or argument, recognizing that we are each expressing our own personally valid truths and that those truths may be radically different from each other.
To be mindful of sharing the air time with all discussants.
While developing consensus through this process is not our goal, we hope to inspire participants, either individually or collectively, to take right action in the world.
Theodore Parker Church