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What if the Senate and House sat at round tables?

What if the Senate and House sat at round tables?

Just Out News in Portland OR carries a reflection by the Rt. Rev. Michael Hanley, bishop of Oregon:

I am a person who has experienced the presence of God in my life and if we had the time to sit together over a cup of coffee or a good microbrew we could have a discussion of [our] experience. …

I choose to believe, that is, I give my heart to God’s presence in my life. The experience of God comes to me as I attend to the deep matters of the heart, listen carefully to another person, and discover their true self. I believe that true religious and political discourse only happens as we deeply connect with those who do not share our understanding of the world.

So my simple idea is to invite people to sit at round tables. In the Episcopal House of Bishops we gather twice a year to talk about our common life together. A decade ago we were a contentious group, often talking at each other and fighting over our beliefs. But then we were invited to rearrange the furniture and began to sit at round tables with those who disagree with us. … This simple act has made a profound difference in how we work together.

At our new round tables there is no place of honor, all are equal. In this configuration we see and hear better, we share food, offer stories of our lives and families and come to know the challenges we face in the work we all do. …

It is a simple idea but I would really like to see what would happen if we put round tables on the floor of the Senate and House of Representatives!


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