Dear Friends,

I was at the Northwest Leadership Institute at Cathedral of the Rockies Thursday and Friday.  I attend each year (most years a few from our church attend with me) and I have yet to be disappointed.  This is consistently the premier church leadership development event in our area. (Mark you calendar.  It will be March 14 & 15, 2019.)

I just want to share one small piece of what I learned.  I am sending you a link to the “No Joke Project”.  An odd name, but it comes from the line:  “An evangelical pastor, a Jewish rabbi, and a Muslim imam . . . ” Sounds like the beginning of a joke, right?  Actually it is the story of an unusual friendship that developed between a real life pastor, rabbi, and imam in Peoria, Illinois.  They held vastly different faith and world views, yet somehow they managed to get past their differences and not only come to understand each other but to truly like each other.

Out of this, a movie was made and an organization formed.  The “No Joke Project” teaches the “three practices” that the pastor, rabbi, and imam used as their friendship developed:

1) I will practice being unusually interested in others.

2) I will practice staying in the same room with those who differ with me.

3) I will stop comparing my best with their worst.

The example was given which is painfully familiar to some of us.  “You voted for the wrong person, so I guess we have to break up now.”

The three practices are not designed to persuade the other person to agree with you or you with them.  The idea is to enter into a dialogue that brings you to the point where you might be able to say:  “I have not changed my opinion about what you believe, but I have changed my opinion about you.”

We were given time to practice the three practices.  I won’t lie.  It did not go well.  This is not easy work.  But it is important work.  Will you work at it with me?

In Christ,