Posts Tagged civil

Mayor Keith Summey Proclaims 10th. Say Something Nice Day

Michael Brown, Mitch Carnell 2015Mayor Keith Summey of the City of North Charleston, South Carolina, proclaimed the 10th. Annual Say Something Nice Day at a city council meeting on May 28th. Councilman Michael Brown presented the proclamation. The event is on June 1, 2015. Mayor Summey proclaimed the first Say Something Nice Day in 2006. Since then the celebration has grown across the country.

Mayor Summey recognized the efforts of communication specialist Dr. Mitch Carnell, founder of the event. He talked about how important effective civil communication is in building relationships. Say Something Nice Day is listed in the Chase Calendar of Events.

Say Something Nice Day led to the establishment of Say Something Nice Sunday the first Sunday in June for religious organizations. It too is now widely celebrated.

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“3 Ideas to Keep Your Online Discussions Civil” Terrell Carter – www.ethicsdaily.com

3 Ideas to Keep Your Online Discussions Civil | Terrell Carter, Civility, Disagreement

One would think that this diversity in opinion would be seen as a good thing. Unfortunately, this is not how many of us feel, Carter says. (Image courtesy of imagerymajestic/FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

With the headline-grabbing political, racial and social events that have occurred in the U.S. over the past few months, people have had a lot to talk about.

From videos of brutality committed by both police and citizens, to the expanded attention toward domestic violence prompted by the misconduct of NFL players, to the rise of new terrorist groups like ISIS, to the spread of Ebola from another country to the United States, all forms of media are buzzing with commentary on these and other issues from both informed and uninformed contributors.

In today’s vastness of media options, anyone with an opinion on any subject can find a way for their voice to be heard.

From Facebook to Twitter to Snapchat to traditional radio call-in shows, there’s a medium for every person to have their say.

The opinions being expressed are as diverse as the media platforms available to make opinions heard.

One would think that this diversity in opinion would be seen as a good thing. Unfortunately, this is not how many of us feel.

We all regularly hear and read arguments between people standing on differing sides of an issue that would make the feud between the Hatfields and McCoys look like a kindergarten class tug-of-war.

Unfortunately, these arguments seem to be less about the issues being discussed and more about the fact that someone does not see the world the same way as I do. The fallout from these types of arguments can be dramatic.

We have all read posts from friends promising to never use Facebook again because people have been insensitive toward them.

We have all read comments posted by participants on a website classifying any group other than theirs as less than human.

We have all heard about family members who no longer associate with each other because they have offended each other to the point of no return.

As I hear and read these types of interactions on a daily basis, I am left with the question, “Who would Jesus ‘un-friend’?”

With so many lines being drawn in the sand, is there a way to wade through the unfriendly and unproductive chatter that is voiced so frequently?

I have three ideas that should help us all navigate the process of expressing our own opinions without making someone who disagrees with us into unnecessary villains.

First, we have to remember that disagreement is not a sin or an unforgivable offense.

We are not all required to think alike or to feel the same way about anything. Varying opinions are valuable.

Independent thought is admirable and has led to some of the more important discoveries and advances in the world.

History is replete with examples of people who held well-reasoned dissenting views being justified for their independent thoughts.

We can respect another person’s right to hold an opinion just as we want them to respect our right to do the same.

Second, we have to realize that wisdom can come in many ways, even if it does not come in ways that we anticipate.

Even though I am a Christian, I personally appreciate and cherish the opinions of my friends and family who do not hold to any religious faith.

I intentionally ask for the opinions of people who do not hold to the same positions that I do. I do this because I have learned that wisdom is not only found in my belief system.

Wisdom can be found in the experiences of people who worship God or in the experiences of people who do not recognize any god.

I have learned that those who may have differing values from me still care about the same things that are important to me and my family. We have a common foundation as humans.

Third, we must learn to distinguish between the person sharing their opinion and the issue being discussed.

The totality of a person, or a group of people, is not found only in what they think about a particular subject or the stance they take on a politically charged issue.

As much as we try, the totality of a person or group cannot be adequately summed up by their opinion on one subject.

My hope is that we would all do our due diligence and think through our own opinions before we critique those held by someone else.

If we are able to learn how to communicate more effectively with each other, we may be able to make substantial progress toward living together in peace instead of living separately in fear of each other.

Terrell Carter is minister of administration at Third Baptist Church in St. Louis and director of the Foundations in Ministry program for Central Baptist Theological Seminary in St. Louis.

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Blessed Is He Who Writes Without Using Smiley Faces – Ethics Daily

Bob Newell

Posted: Friday, March 28, 2014 6:12 am ethicsdaily.com

Blessed Is He Who Writes Without Using Smiley Faces | Bob Newell, Facebook, Social Networking, Friendship, Relationships

Blessed is he or she whose written words can stand the light of clever inquisition without a preemptive smiley face, Newell writes.

Pity the elusive mouse who must struggle to disconnect himself in the minds of youthful humans from the ubiquitous, plasticized keyboard kind.

Does anyone any longer recognize the fundamental literary distinction between Walt’s beloved “Mickey” and some cordless, unconnected robot rodent? What have we done with our words? Rats!

Shame on the unwashed who thoughtlessly seem unable to differentiate the dissimilarity in essence that divides a computer keyboard and one played upon powerfully by Liberace or pounded upon forcefully by the fiery Jerry Lee Lewis.

Oh, how far has the never very noble Spam now fallen from its wartime usage as a marker for government-produced, cheap mixed meat to its contemporary reference to the unwanted and quickly-consigned-to-electronic-hell of today’s easy come, easy go communication.

And what has become of the serious obligation of equally serious deletion? Where is today’s cutting room floor?

Those who vociferously bemoan the disastrous decline in what was once considered polite, civil discourse might well spend a few well-chosen words of grief over the corruption of common communication.

In addition to the sharp descent of civil conversation in the public electronic square, is it grammatically correct always, insistently and increasingly to be angry?

“O, brother, where art thou?” Where have all the blessed beatitudes gone, “long time passing”? Blessed are those who need not place “LOL” after their messages to communicate their humorous intentions.

Blessed is he or she whose written words can stand the light of clever inquisition without a preemptive smiley face.

How sideways have become our smirking smiles, how crooked our occasional grinning communication.

Those that live by spell-check shall face an equal and equivalent death.

How curious has the malfeasance of our modern speech construction become. How “wearifying” the written art is fast de-evolving.

Perhaps nowhere is this language loss more obvious that the steep degradation of the treasured old-English word, “friend.”

“There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother,” it was once said and believed, in King James English; but modern friends seem to have little elasticity and even less “stickability.”

To be a Facebook kind of friend is unlike any previous species of genuine friendship and surely bears no resemblance to the Quaker kind. A true friend does not ask to be liked.

If it is sadly true that one can be “unfriended” and if friendship may indeed be a verb, isn’t it also true that authentic friendships are rarely so numerous as our electronic ones.

Real friends neither brag about their number nor boast of their political or ideological inclinations nor ruthlessly exclude those with whom they might potentially disagree.

Neither do they post only highly idealized or PhotoShopped versions of themselves solely for other so-called friends or groupies to admire.

It is actually rare for authentic friends to complain publicly to the unfriendly world of sleeplessness or send out detailed reports of intimate toilet habits to be shared with a host of so-called friends and many other unsuspecting passers-by.

If the tin-alley wordsmith once suggested of friendship that “it’s the perfect blend-ship,” there seems less and less to blend, so little longing for harmony.

Khalil Gibran, after all, said, “Let there be spaces in your togetherness.” But, in our days, we seek uniformity of thinking and conformity of doing from our erstwhile friends.

What thinkest thou? In our speech and written communication, can we be no more precise and selective than this? Can we not observe some boundaries?

Can we forego some less important things, in order to experience genuine communication with others? Can we, at least, think as much as we type?

When our words cannot be more properly managed, what hope is there for our ways?

Bob Newell is ministry coordinator for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship in Athens, Greece. A version of this column first appeared on his blog, ItsGreek2U, and is used with permission.

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