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  • Writer's pictureDavid McNitzky

The Three Practices

A rabbi, an imam, and a born again evangelical pastor are featured in a documentary by Jim Hancock and Jim Henderson. It’s called No Joke because it sounds like the beginning of a joke. Only these three do not walk into a bar but walk “deeply into each other’s lives.” ( Healing Our Divides by Brian D McLaren et al, chapter 13) These three “heroes” demonstrate that people can decide to cross the divide of differences. The documentary is also called No Joke because these three were serious about maintaining their friendship even when they each lost congregational members because of their friendship. Each time they ran into this sort of conflict, they kept going with their friendship because it was worth the cost. It was worth the cost because they had learned first to respect, and then to love, each other.

The producers discovered three important practices which helped the friendship of the three heroes. The first was that they practiced “being unusually interested in each other.” The second was that they decided in spite of the differences between them to “stay in the same room.” Finally, they chose not to “compare their best with each other’s worst.” Additionally, the documentary producers also concluded that “agreement is overrated” and that when people like each other, “then the rules change.”

Is there someone in your life who just seems too different from you in this time of much publicized polarization? Don’t give up on them. Try these three practices and see if you can “change the rules.”


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