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This unsettling, polarized time in history calls for a transformation of consciousness within the human collective. We believe that is the only way forward, the only way to handle the angst and build communities of hope. To that end, we have assembled resources which we hope contain helpful information about holding challenging conversations and finding common ground from which to act for the betterment of our world. We are also providing several different methods to help you work on this transformation personally and communally. Those are outlined in the resources, too. We hope and pray that you will join us in this evolutionary effort to change the course of our life together on Earth. 
 

Conversations of the Heart

This 6-week in-person series is open to the public. To ensure the conversation is made up of diverse identities and perspectives, there is an application process. Applications for the Fall 2024 cohort will be accepted until July 19. Applicants will be notified by August 1 if they will be part of this cohort. The group will be limited to 21 participants.

Participants must commit to all SIX dates. 

  • September 5, 19
  • October 3, 17, 31
  • November 14

Each session will take place from 6-8 p.m. in Founders Hall at the CSA Motherhouse on County Rd K. 

During these sessions, we will be using Parker Palmer’s book, “Healing The Heart Of Democracy: The Courage To Create A Politics Worthy of the Human Spirit.” As Palmer writes, “When we choose to engage, not evade, the tension of our differences, we will become better equipped to participate in a government of, by, and for the people . . .” In the course of these conversations, we will learn more about what it means:

  • To listen to each other openly and without fear, learning how much we have in common despite our differences
  • To deepen our empathy for the alien “other” as we enter imaginatively into the experiences of people whose lives are radically unlike our own
  • To hold what we believe and know with conviction and be willing to listen openly to other viewpoints, changing our minds if needed
    To seek out additional facts and explanations whenever we find reason to doubt our own truth claims or the claims made by others, thus becoming better informed
  • To probe, question, explore, and engage in dialogue, developing a fuller, more three-dimensional view of reality in the process

APPLY NOW

Explore on Your Own

If Conversations of the Heart does not work for you, we encourage you to explore the many resources linked here.

Healing the Heart of Democracy

In Healing the Heart of Democracy, Parker J. Palmer quickens our instinct to seek the common good and gives us the tools to do it. 

Explore the Book

Read a Review of the Book

Stand Together

Stand Together is a philanthropic community that helps America’s boldest changemakers tackle the root causes of our country’s biggest problems, from education to the economy, broken communities, and toxic division, among dozens of other pressing issues. They provide their partners with access to resources including funding, a unique network of peers, and a playbook for applying proven principles to transform lives and society.

Overcome Division, in 8 Minutes

In this video created by Stand Together, Ugandan-born Canadian educator Irshad Manji used to engage in conversations in order to win. But after many contentious debates, she realized that her approach would never solve problems. So she created 5 simple skills that reduce defenses and help everyone take action together. She believes anyone can use these skills to ultimately help understand where others are coming from — and to be understood by others. Manji says these skills exponentially increase the chances of healthy outcomes in conversations with those we might not agree with. Instead of leaving a debate feeling morally superior, she’d rather that we solve our biggest challenges—together. 
 

Learning How to See

How do we transform and transcend our biases? From judgments made unconsciously to complacency in systemic evil, we must learn how to see if we are to learn how to transform. Center for Action and Contemplation faculty member Brian McLaren hosts the podcast series Learning How to See. 

On the introductory episode of Learning How to See, Brian, Jacqui Lewis, and Richard Rohr talk about thirteen biases that affect the way humans receive or view information.

Listen to Episode 1

Read a transcript

Fratelli Tutti: On Fraternity and Social Friendship

Vatican News describes Fratelli Tutti as an answer to the question: “What are the great ideals but also the tangible ways to advance for those who wish to build a more just and fraternal world in their ordinary relationships, in social life, politics and institutions?”

Read Fratelli Tutti

Read Vatican News Summary of Fratelli Tutti

Transforming Grace

“Transforming Grace” invites participants to take responsibility for the personal and collective responses we can make in the challenges we will encounter during the national election period. This initiative, created by the Leadership Conference for Women Religious (LCWR), follows the liturgical calendar. During each liturgical season, participants follow a weekly one-page reflection guide that includes: a short video, a brief reading, two or three questions intended to deepen conversation, and a prayer grounded in our contemplative commitment. The materials are designed to be used in groups such as leadership teams, justice committees, employee groups, and gatherings of sisters and partners in mission.  Each reflection tool will be designed for a 60-75 minute session.

Read reflections & watch videos

NETWORK Election Resources for Faithful Voters

Pope Francis makes it clear: Catholics and all people of good will are called to be multi-issue voters, not single-issue voters, in the 2024 elections and in our continued participation in public life. This resource can support you in educating yourself as a faithful voter on the issues and concerns that are “equally sacred.”

In addition to videos of workshops and webinars, Network provides an “Equally Sacred Checklist” to help guide reflection on many of the issues to consider. 

NETWORK Election Resources for Faithful Voters

Civilize It: A Better Kind Of Politics

Civilize It: A Better Kind Of Politics is a response from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to Pope Francis’ invitation in Fratelli Tutti to seek “a better kind of politics, one truly at the service of the common good” (no. 154). Individuals, families, and communities can participate in this “better kind of politics.” Take the pledge on their site to commit to seeking the truth, building bridges, and finding solutions together that promote the common good.

Explore the resources

Starts With Us

Starts With Us is a movement to empower millions of Americans just like you – tired of our culture of contempt and energized to foster critical thinking and constructive communication across our lines of difference. Starts With Us is founded on the belief that diversity of thought is a strength that leads to our most innovative ideas and that we must cooperate across our differences to solve the most pressing societal challenges of our time. 

Explore their site

Polarization Detox Challenge

Overcome the toxic polarization harming your health, your relationships, and our country’s ability to thrive, starting with one short exercise a day. This is a program from Starts With Us. Starts With Us is a movement to empower millions of Americans to foster critical thinking and constructive communication across our lines of difference.

Explore the Polarization Detox

Braver Angels

Braver Angels is leading the nation’s largest cross-partisan, volunteer-led movement to bridge the partisan divide. Through community gatherings, real debates, and grassroots leaders working together, we’re creating hope — and showing Americans a braver way.

Learn About Braver Angels

Watch Previous Debates