“In an ideal world, the congregation becomes adept at [Courageous Conversations], and they become the host for conversations in their community. The dream here is that people start saying, ‘I don’t know what else they do in that church, but they seem to be really good at talking to one another about hard things. We can’t get anything done in the city government, so we’re going to go ask the church to come help us…'” Allen Hilton in Sally Hicks of the Faith and Leadership project interview with him about House United. Find the interview HERE.
Duke Divinity School’s Summer Institute for Reconciliation is a brilliant combination of learning and worldwide Christian community. Speakers and participants come together from Europe, Asia, Africa, Latin America, and all parts of the US to learn reconciliation skills and be Christian community in one place together for a week. You should attend!
Allen Hilton is thrilled to be joining the Institute faculty this year. June 4-8, he will lead a seminar entitled “Different Together: Bridging Political Difference in the Church and Beyond”.
In a recent interview on CNN’s “Reliable Sources”, Glenn Beck described important pieces of our national problem: we’re two separate Americas, we have an oppositional media culture, and “we think the other side doesn’t have anything to teach me, so I’m not even going to listen to them.” The former FOX News Firestarter even quoted MLK to advocate reconciliation. You know that I shouted my loud “AMEN!” to all of this.
No AMEN arose from my soul, though, when Mr. Beck named our polarization’s cause and cure. The problem, says he, is our competitive nature. “Both left and right are trying to win,” and so we “stop listening to each other,” then all kinds of other bad things happen. His solution? We just need to tell our politicians to stop being competitive.
Princeton Theological Seminary has hosted theological and political perspective diversity for a couple centuries now (founded in 1812). So it made an appropriate home for Allen Hilton’s Continuing Education class, “Different Together: How the Church Could Save the World”. Allen taught 30 alums or friends of PTS in the Center for Continuing Education Nov 1-3. He will return in the fall of 2018 to teach another class. We’ll include info here, so you can sign on once registration opens.
“Successful movements are about meaning-making. They challenge our acceptance of the world as immutable and provide both critique and optimism. As a result of the way they structure our understanding of the world, we feel engaged to reform and contest the status quo…” These words from Susan Nall Bales tell why House United brings hope. Things don’t need to be this way. Polarization is a bad habit, and robust community-building is a better one.
The “50 States of Joy” preaching campaign that HU co-launched with the Yale Center for Faith and Culture got some press in the “Yalie Daily.” Check it out! “In a nation that does not have a whole lot of common ground right now, joy is a...
The “50 States of Joy” preaching campaign that HU co-launched with the Yale Center for Faith and Culture got some press in the “Yalie Daily.” Check it out! “In a nation that does not have a whole lot of common ground right now, joy is a common-ground kind of issue,” Hilton said. “It’s a part of what we all hope for, so it makes a good subject on which people who disagree elsewhere can agree, and that’s why we think this can be very powerful.”
The Yale Center for Faith and Culture and House United have teamed up to launch the “50 States of Joy” preaching campaign. This April through August, preachers from around the nation and the world will proclaim joy from their wide variety of perspectives to their wide variety of congregations.
Joy explodes off the pages of the Apostle Paul’s Letter to the Philippians, in spite of the circumstances that face the author (imprisoned by the Roman magistrates) and audience (“suffering” and “struggling” in the face of “opposition” from their non-Christian neighbors). Allen Hilton has prepared a Bible Study to support the “50 States of Joy” campaign, called “Joy – A Study of Paul’s Philippians.” It guides the learner, the small-group leader, or the class teacher through the letter in six sessions, tracking the central theme of joy. Enjoy!
It’s time to listen to our soldiers. A nation whose differences stymy us and keep us from collaborating needs to hear from people who do it for a living in the most pressurized circumstances imaginable. On March 25 at 2 PM at the Alhambra High School Auditorium (3839 W Camelback Rd, Phoenix, AZ 85019), members of an Arizona-based Army Reserve unit will tell us how they built a team and got things done across and through racial, religious, and political differences.
The African-American desk clerk checks me out of my room, so I hand my bag to the hotel’s Arab shuttle driver. The 20-something with piercings and tats looks most tired of all. I navigate security beside a white man in his trucker’s hat and a Latino family trying to collapse a stroller. I buy water from a hijab-clad Indonesian woman. Behind me on the jet way, an urbane forty- something ponders Mexican real estate aloud, while a middle-aged Wall Street Journal reader looks on amused. My Row 25 runs the gamut – a retired woman looking scared, a young professional man reading “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” A union man’s jacket celebrates “5,000 Days FRA Injury Free.” The woman two rows back has young daughters.
The biblical prophet Isaiah has a splendid little line that makes it into an old spiritual, “I ain’t a gonna study war no more.” Isaiah famously says, “[Many peoples] will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.” (Isaiah 2.4)
In American culture, we’ve trained for our culture wars for so long that the ways of that war are instinctive to us — emphasizing our differences rather than our commonalities, oversimplifying the nation into two sides rather than a wide multiplicity, waxing certain about things that are far from sure, dismissing someone and stomping away from conversation after seven words if we disagree with what we hear, and characterizing our opponents by their most extreme voices. It’s time to stop training for war. In this piece Ron Blankenhorn helps us train for unity instead. Do you have the 7 Habits of Highly Depolarizing People?
For over four decades, evangelical voters have played a very public role in election coverage. Progressive analysts, both from the secular media and from inside church circles, often treat this category of Christians as a monolith, as in, “Evangelical Voters Support…” This year that custom has continued. How many times have you heard pundits describe how “the evangelical vote” constitutes a significant part of Donald Trump’s support base?
One part of House United’s role in our culture is to break down stereotypes that divide us unnecessarily. During this election season, progressive commentators have consistently characterized evangelicals as uncomfortable with supporting Trump because of character issues, but ultimately willing to do so in order to secure conservative Supreme Court appointments. Generalizations like this cloud the issue. Progressives would do well to listen to actual living, breathing evangelicals — and not just the fundamentalists who are thrown on to Facebook pages and Twitter feeds to inflame.
Kelly Brill identifies the deep chasms between us and then challenges her congregation to live into the New Testament mandate to come together amid our differences. Select the 11 AM service on Oct 2, 2016 and drop in at 37:00 to hear this important call to Christian civility and unity. Also listen for the applause at the end. People are crying out for Christian unity!