What Is Civility and How Do We Practice It? A Panel Discussion

Note: This special episode is of lower audio quality than usual. It is a live recording of an event.

Those spending the holidays with their families may be apprehensive about conversations that veer into controversy—especially after such a fraught year.

For such a time as this, TBM podcast presents a special episode. This is a panel discussion recorded at The King’s College on Friday, November 20th, entitled, “A Loyal Opposition: Civility During an Election Season.” Dr. David Tubbs moderated the panel, with thoughts from Dr. Dru Johnson, Professor Alissa Wilkinson, and Dr. Anthony Bradley. They discuss what it means to practice civility in our current political climate, especially for Christians, and especially toward those with whom we disagree.

In a period of political polarization, stoked by partisan news outlets and social media bubbles, Americans need more than ever to learn to charitably discuss our ideas and perspectives with those around us. Pursuing civility requires more than just politeness; it also requires a variety of intellectual habits, including humility, respect, and curiosity. But more than anything, it requires sharing life with people of different viewpoints by welcoming them into our neighborhoods, our shared meals, and our churches. Hopefully, Christians can lead the effort to restore civil discourse.

Show notes:

  • 0:00 Introduction to the panel
  • 2:25 Defining civility
  • 6:30 Historical movements that exhibit civility
  • 11:25 Politics as a model for discourse in college
  • 17:21 “A Loyal Opposition” in the British Parliament
  • 19:55 Sharing meals, sharing life, and arguing well
  • 24:18 Obstacles to civil discussion
  • 30:35 Dealing with incivility
  • 35:16 The connections between emotion and reason
  • 43:29 The problem with politics as a system of meaning
  • 46:26 Learning good civil discourse
  • 50:49 Interacting with news media
  • 52:50 Befriending people you disagree with

Show notes by Micah Long.

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