Civil Dialogue

National Week of Conversation

National Week of Conversation
Written by Guy Nave

A National Week of Conversation

A National Week of Conversation (NWOC) is being sponsored by several organizations that promote dialogue and encourage cooperation across ideological or political differences. According to the National Institute for Civil Discourse (NICD),

During National Week of Conversation, Americans from all over the country will take a small step to help bridge the political divides in our country. They will do this by reaching out to people who have different political views and engaging them in civil and respectful conversation about the future of our nation. The goal of these conversations is to help people learn from each other, build relationships and look for ways to reduce the growing polarization in our public life.

These goals align with the goals and objectives of Clamoring for Change. That is why I am happy to be participating in this worthy endeavor and to be encouraging others to consider participating.

When and Why

National Week of Conversation (NWOC) will take place during the week of April 20-28, 2018 in communities all across the country. During this week, Americans from many different backgrounds and perspectives are invited to spend time in conversation with those who have different political views than themselves.

One of the goals of the conversations is to help people learn from each other, build relationships and identify specific things that can be done to bridge the many divisions in our country.

Because Clamoring for Change believes the best antidote to our current divisions is to provide opportunities for healthy conversation where listening and learning take precedent over arguing and disagreement, we strongly encourage participation in the National Week of Conversation.

How it Works

Interested individuals are encouraged to have at least one in-depth conversation during the week (and more if possible) with someone they think has significantly different views about how to deal with the major issues facing our country. These conversations should take place in one-on-one meetings, possibly over coffee, at lunch, or after work.

The conversation will focus on Five Questions for Americans that the NICD suggests. Among other things, the conversation will discuss specific things individuals, media, and politicians can do to make our political dialogue more positive during the 2018 elections.

The objective, again, is to listen and learn from one another. In addition to promoting local conversations, the NICD is also hoping to collect feedback from each conversation so that the responses to the Five Questions can be tallied and the common ideas which emerge can be clearly identified.

How to Participate

Follow these steps to participate in NWOC:

  1. Sign up here and pledge your intention to participate in National Week of Conversation. This step is important so you receive helpful information about NWOC.
  2. Download a copy of the sample conversation on the Five Questions for Americans.
  3. Identify and invite one person to join you in a conversation during NWOC.  The person you invite should be someone you think has significantly different views than you about how to approach the major issues facing America. For suggestions on how to find a conversation partner, click here.
  4. Meet during NWOC (April 20-28, 2017) for one or more conversations on the Five Questions for Americans.
  5. Take five minutes to report on your conversation here.

Please consider participating and please spread the word so that others can also participate.

Here’s to changing our world one conversation at a time!

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About the author

Guy Nave

Guy Nave is a professor of religion at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. His research focuses on the topics of Christianity, religion and social justice, the social construction of religious meaning, and race-religion-and-politics. Professor Nave is currently researching the power, politics, and meaning behind the rhetoric of "change."

He is the author of several articles and book chapters, and he served as a New Testament Greek translator for the 2011 Common English Bible. His commentary on 2 Corinthians is published in the African American New Testament Commentary, and his book, The Role and Function of Repentance in Luke-Acts has been identified as “the standard scholarly work on repentance in the New Testament.”

Guy Nave received his Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in New Testament studies from Yale University. In addition to his blog posts here, he is a frequent contributor to Sojourners Magazine's online "Commentary" blog series.

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