Negative tone unhelpful in fostering respectful dialogue


My latest column for the Prairie Messenger was in response to several negative letters to the editor following an article about gay marriage. Sometimes I feel like I’m harping on the same topic over and over and over. (There goes that `dialogue woman`again!) We all have the right to express our opinions, and should express those opinions. This is what dialogue is all about.  Sometimes, in our defensive zeal, we try to shut down the dialogue with accusatory attacks and attempts to silence the discussion. Here’s the article,

Negative tone unhelpful in fostering respectful dialogue


4 thoughts on “Negative tone unhelpful in fostering respectful dialogue

  1. We must, perhaps grudgingly, admit that some people will never dialog. I wish it was otherwise, but clearly it is not. To expect dialog from those incapable or unwilling introduces nothing but frustration and a sense of defeat.

    The only strategy that has any chance of success is to go “off topic” with these folks and simply treat them as we would like to be treated. Perhaps in time that kindness from a perceived “adversary” will cause them to reevaluate their perception of you as a threat. If not, at least fuel has not been added to the flame.

    1. I admit that expecting respectful dialogue from all is naive, Jerry. I like your strategy, though. As with so many things, if we can nudge one heart at a time, perhaps slow change can come. You are so right. Modeling dialogue is the best way of promoting it. Thank you!

  2. You are correct about the need for dialogue. But it is often so difficult to do so because of the passion that lies behind the position of a person on various subjects. Yet we still need to try. So keep banging the gong, keep making noise Isabella. We all need to make noise. We all need to listen. But dialogue in the church…….seems to only fall on deaf ears. I enjoyed your article on Bourgeois. Thank you for pointing out the double standards and hypocrisy of the “leadership”. Keep being a voice for so many of us. And a challenge to all of us to think, talk, and dialogue.

    Anthony Lehmann

    1. Today’s first reading from Hebrews 3 included this line….Encourage yourselves daily while it is still ‘today’. Words of encouragement are powerful indeed. Thank you, Anthony!

      And, yes, when passions are ignited it’s natural to shift into a super-charged mode. I do this often whether in conversation or in writing. The words fly through the air or across the page. Passion is good! The challenge is to stay on topic and steer clear of nasty attacks. Sigh…

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