Can Christians and Ex-Christians See Eye to Eye? | Middle Ground

We don’t have to agree—we just have to #DisagreeBetter



We don’t have to agree. We just have to DisagreeBetter.

Today, many community leaders and online content creators gathered at the Governor’s mansion to discuss and create dialogue around an age-old issue: disagreement.

Governor Cox is serving as chair of the National Governors Association for the next year, and earlier this year he launched the “Disagree Better: Healthy Conflict for Better Policy” initiative to address the ever-increasing issue of political polarization.

We heard from the Governor and First Lady, as well as Jeanette Bennett and Kristin Andrus. True magic happened when I talked with people at my table. My takeaways?

1. 𝙄𝙣𝙦𝙪𝙞𝙧𝙚 𝙞𝙣𝙩𝙤 𝙞𝙨𝙨𝙪𝙚𝙨, 𝙙𝙤𝙣’𝙩 𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙨𝙚𝙘𝙪𝙩𝙚 𝙥𝙚𝙤𝙥𝙡𝙚
There is a difference between an idea or opinion and the person that hold that idea or opinion. Do not denigrate the individual.
2. 𝙍𝙚𝙢𝙖𝙞𝙣 𝙘𝙪𝙧𝙞𝙤𝙪𝙨
Ask questions to more fully understand how the other person feels. Engaging with compassion and understanding > debating to “win” and show superiority
3. 𝙇𝙤𝙤𝙠 𝙛𝙤𝙧 𝙘𝙤𝙢𝙢𝙤𝙣 𝙜𝙧𝙤𝙪𝙣𝙙
It exists. In every situation. People of good will will always find it.
4. 𝙑𝙖𝙡𝙞𝙙𝙖𝙩𝙚 𝙚𝙭𝙥𝙚𝙧𝙞𝙚𝙣𝙘𝙚
Realize that your experience is exactly that–YOUR experience. Create safe space for others to share their experience. And respect and validate their experience.

Gov. Cox shared a story of Troy Williams from Equality Utah that moved me. Troy and his team rented a booth at the Republican state convention (like what are they doing, right?).

At the convention, Troy and his team employed the principles of “disagree better.” Instead of engaging in confrontations, they focused on asking questions, listening, and encouraging others to share their beliefs.

At the end of these discussions, Troy always gave the other person the “last word,” allowing them to express anything they felt was important.

At the convention an angry man berated Troy. Troy’s asked the person to explain their feelings. In the end, they had a productive conversation where both parties shared their beliefs and concerns and ended with a big embrace.

Troy’s willingness to give the other person the “last word” facilitated constructive dialogue and fostered a sense of mutual respect and understanding.

That’s what this is about, people. Mutual understanding and respect.

Want to learn more? Check out Spencer Cox‘s recent article in Deseret Magazine here:



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