UU Church Today, Society & Culture, Practice & Voice

Bridging the Divide

I am a fusion movement,” Rev. Dr. William Barber said on Sunday, February 28, from our All Souls pulpit. I am a fusion movement, he explained, because I am made of many parts and I have had to make peace with all my parts, to simply arrive at being myself.

I am a fusion movement because I am made of many parts and I have had to make peace with all my parts, to simply arrive at being myself.

Rev. William Barber II

At a time in human history when so many systems seem to be broken or breaking apart, I hear Barber’s words as a call to action. A call to acknowledge, accept and integrate all of our own parts – not just the parts we are proud to put on display. And a call to work with each other, even when we disagree, so we can make our world livable again. 

Broken Systems

The list of broken systems is overwhelming: energy production and consumption, immigration, criminal justice, education, agriculture…but as Rev. Barber also said, “We cannot stop now. We must not.”

In Braver Angels workshops, like Skills for Bridging the Divide, we will practice listening to understand and speaking to be understood. These skills are helpful in our personal relationships and in our organizing for social justice.

Difficult Conversations

Can you imagine having the conversation below with someone you disagree with?

Blue Listener:“I’m interested in what you think about immigration.”

Red Speaker: “I worry about Americans losing their jobs to illegal immigrants, and I’m not sure they should all be deported, but we’ve got to do something!” 

Blue Listener: “So your concern about immigration is around possible job loss for Americans, but you’re not sure deportation is the answer?”

Red Speaker: “Yes, that’s right. But it’s not only job losses that concern me. I don’t think we ought to be rewarding people with citizenship for coming illegally either!”

Blue Listener: “So it seems like you’re saying it’s a bit unfair to offer a path to citizenship to those who didn’t come through the proper channels.”

Can you imagine having a different but equally difficult conversation about your child with your spouse?

If you want practice bridging the divide you experience internally and externally, join us this Saturday, March 6 at 2 pm central for Skills for Bridging the Divide. Please register in advance at allsouls.me/bridgingthedivide. Learn more at our Facebook Event.

See you there!

Rev. Barbara Prose is the Executive Director of Ministry at All Souls in Tulsa and Co-coordinator of Braver Angels Oklahoma Alliance. Read more from Rev. Barbara Prose on BeyondBelief.online. Watch Rev. Barbara Prose sermon, Fierce Intimacy as she shares about the life-changing work of Braver Angels.


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