I begin this blog post as my son Gabriel is in his swing sleeping after his afternoon mealtime. The wife's away at a doctors appointment so I'm holding down the fort.
I was able this morning to catch-up by phone with a good friend. We talked about my son and the excitement it's generating in the lives of my wife and I. We also talked about the excitement of his adult son being home and finally, we shared energy and ideas for a future men's event we're working on together. We shared laughs, smiles and joy throughout our conversation.
Civil discourse, something I mentioned in my last posting did come up in our conversation. I've been thinking about it a lot lately. Interestingly, I saw a video piece on one of the network morning shows today. I also shared with my friend about how recently at the Disciples Men of West Virginia retreat gathering the presenter prefaced his remarks by explaining that he was going to probably ruffle some feathers with his weekend presentation, but that as men of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) we always come together for fellowship with the knowledge that there's as many varied opinions and views regarding a particular topic of discussion as their are men in the room, but that as 'followers' we all understand what it means to be civil in our discourse and respectful in our attentiveness to diverging opinions. The speaker's topic was indeed thought provoking and as I engaged a few of the men outside during our first break that Friday evening I sensed some quiet discomfort with a question the presenter raised. As I initiated conversation with those men milling around outside the door, I felt their respect and civility shining through. A true sense of shared value and growth potential permeated within the circle of discussion I had joined; the quiet discomfort was giving way to thought provoking civil discourse. Imagine that!
I'm very thankful that both my wife and I were raised in homes that taught civility and respect for ourselves and for others. Both Kim and I are committed to sharing these traits with our son as he grows into an adult.
I've got serious questions regarding how civil discourse has in my lifetime dissolved into hate speech and disrespect for our fellow man, i.e. what is the role of politics and media in all this?
I'm prayerful that with the emerging political swing coming to Washington that civility will be able to be observed by those newcomers to public service. Sadly, if the rhetoric and actions of some of their campaigns are any indication of what we have to look forward to in the way of compromise and mediation, then we're all in for more disrespectful vitriolic talk; talk for entertainment ratings at the expense of those who easily believe everything they read or don't read on the Internet, see on television or hear on radio. As people of faith, it is our collective duty to walk the pilgrim's path of civil discourse and shine it's light on those promoting and walking in darkness.