Non violent communication

Daily reading: Acts 15:1-19
Tuesday May 16, 2017

Back when I was serving a congregation in Jefferson City, Missouri, I came upon a model of non-violent communication.  The author had used it in inner cities to work with warring gangs and had used it to create bridges between pro-choice and pro-life adherents.  The guidelines were simple.  In a room you had the same number of people on each side of the debate, they all sat in a circle, in an a,b,a,b fashion.  So you would not ever be sitting next to someone who agreed with you on the given topic.  Each person had a time to share but could only speak in “I” sentences which avoided placing blame or creating those who disagreed as the quote other.  The end result was that compassion and respect for people with differing viewpoints blossomed.  At the end of the day, differences still existed, but didn’t escalate into violence with either actions or words.
They learned through the process how not to associate disagreement with love and acceptance.   

We need to be able to disagree with someone and, conversely, accept someone disagreeing with us, without fear of no longer being loved by that person. 

Weekly practice: Practice being fully attentive to what other people are saying.  Deeply listen from a place of empathy.  Seek out moments to have conversations in person this week rather than messages through text, email or social media.  Find a place of commonality.

Prayer: Graceful Guide, you call us to fully see and deeply love one another.  May your unconditional love fill us and seep into every moment this day, even in the really difficult ones.  Amen.


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