Throughout history, we as humans have allowed our differences to divide us. In recent times, that has increased and deepened in intensity. At Christ Church, we believe that is not the way of Jesus Christ. His way is one of respect for others and humility in our relationships with those with whom we differ.
“3Practices for crossing the difference divide” is a structured approach that allows participants to learn and practice listening to others and inquiring about what they think with genuine curiosity. This is done in “Circles” of participants with a “referee” who is tasked with keeping the group on time, on task and civil. Circles are offered both online and in person.
The 3Practices are:
I’ll be unusually interested in others.
I’ll stay in the room with difference.
I’ll stop comparing my best with your worst.
Agreement is not one of the practices. Instead, our goal is clarity – about what others think and feel and have experienced.
Here is how a circle “operates”:
There is a “framing question” for the Circle, stated ahead of time, so that everyone coming to the Circle knows what the topic or issue is to be.
Anyone in the circle may volunteer to take up to two minutes to respond to this issue with their opinion and thoughts.
Following that, anyone in the Circle may ask a Clarifying Question, which must begin with the phrase “I’d be curious to know…” (The primary skill we will practice is how to ask questions that are genuinely curious and get to the point in as few words as possible.)
Following each Clarifying Question, the volunteer has up to one minute to respond. (The questioner may ask one follow-up question.)
Each Circle is led by a Head Referee (sometimes assisted by a Co-Ref). That person’s job includes keeping a timer (for the one- and two-minute segments) and guiding participants in honing their Clarifying Questions.
For more information about 3Practices and to participate in other online Circles, you can visit www.3Practices.com.