Are you tired of the polarization and divisiveness in society? Our faith calls us to be engaged in the world around us, but how do we do that in a productive way? Do you want strategies to engage in dialogue with others online or in person, even about “taboo topics” like politics, race, religion?
St. Thomas More is a member of Common Ground Fox Cities which is launching the “Golden Rule Project.” This initiative seeks to equip individuals within the Fox Valley community with practices that foster dialogue, trust, and positive relationships. In this time of division, the Golden Rule Project strives to move the needle of our society – away from polarization and demonization of the Other, and toward authentic relationships that celebrate differences while working toward community.
One of the primary ways we build a healthier community is through listening to one another and sharing our story. On the last Thursday of each month, Common Ground Fox Cities is hosting a series of community conversations which will empower and equip you to do just that: listen and share. These dialogues can be transformative encounters where we discover that “whoever is not against us is for us” (Mk. 9:40) and that we can live together.
The next Community Conversation is Thursday, June 24 at 7 pm. This virtual event, called Popping the Bubble: Creating Community Across the COVID Chasm will be a place to renew the work of creating community. I will be serving as one of the trained facilitators for this dialogue and I would encourage you to join in this conversation!
You can register and find more information at commongroundfoxcities.org
When I was young, at a time when Europe was torn apart by so many conflicts, I kept on asking myself: Why all these confrontations? Why do so many people, even Christians, condemn one another out of hand? And I wondered: is there, on this earth, a way of reaching complete understanding of others? Then came a day – I can still remember the date, and I could describe the place: the subdued light of a late summer evening, darkness settling over the countryside — a day when I made a decision. I said to myself, if this way does exist, begin with yourself and resolve to understand every person fully. That day, I was certain the vow I had made was for life. It involved nothing less than returning again and again, my whole life long, to this irrevocable decision: seek to understand all, rather than to be understood.
Br. Roger of Taize 1915-2005
On August 16, during a prayer service at Taize,
Brother Roger is fatally wounded by a mentally unbalanced assailant.
Every scribe who becomes a disciple of the kingdom of Heaven is like a householder who brings out from his storeroom new things as well as old. (Mt. 13:52)
I was brought up in the old traditions, but listening to younger people and sharing in their private struggles rids me of certain reflexes of fear. Without these thousands of young people here on the hill, where would I be now, in spite of my desire to be open.
“As the Rule [of St. Benedict] describes, entering a community is a process and requires discernment. This is not because the community is any kind of elite. But because the full benefit of entering demands the clearest possible understanding of one’s reasons and of the call to which one is responding.”
“The monks have come to know that their community is constituted by their commitment to conversion. And they know that conversion is turning from themselves to their brethren in community; and to Christ in prayer; and to God in Christ.” John Main, O.S.B.
“Frequently, a call of Jesus is revealed to us as we feel truly at home in a community and discover that the community for us is a place of growth in love and in total acceptance of the good news of Jesus. That is one of the signs that Jesus is saying to us: ‘Come and live with these brothers and sisters who may squabble together like the first of my disciples, but this is where I am calling you to be today. It might be difficult but it will be a place of growth in love for you. It is there that I will reveal to you my love.’” Jean Vanier