it’s time to be civil (27)


# 18. Avoid personal questions. … Taboo questions continue to make the rounds, kept in business by our inexhaustible curiosity about the business of others. Most of them have to do with religion, politics, money, personal relationships, health, and physical appearance. Here is a selection of questions that, depending on the circumstances, many people perceive as intrusive:

  • “Do you believe in God?” … “Do you pray at regular hours? …”
  • “For whom did you vote?” “Are you a liberal?” “Are you a conservative?”
  • “How much do you make?” “How much did it cost?” “Is it paid for?” “What’s your monthly payment?” “What’s your net worth?”
  • “How old are you?” “Are you married?” “Have you ever been married?” “… Why didn;t you have any children?” … “Are you pregnant?” …
  • “What are you seeing the doctor for?” “What kind of surgery did you have?” … “Have you lost weight?” Have you gained weight?” “How come?”

… privacy-probing questions like these can unsettle, embarrass, and sometimes anger us. … Whenever we believe that our privacy is threatened, it is our privilege to object.

Here are a few formulas with which we can defend your privacy: “I don’t feel comfortable talking about that,” “This is too big a question to be quickly addressed right now,” “This isn’t the best time to discuss this topic,” “Let’s not talk about money, if you don’t mind,” “I prefer not to discuss personal matters,” and “I’m sorry, but I don’t see why you need to know.”

Choosing Civility: The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct by P.M. Forni (St. Martin’s Press, 2002); pp. 116-117,118

this went thru my mind


Abortion: If You Want To Do Something About Abortion … by Tim Archer

“Abortion laws won’t stem the tide of abortions in this country. Rulings by federal judges won’t change the situation. It’s time that Christians woke up to that fact. … But what about the average Christian who feels passionate about doing something about abortion? Here are a few ideas …”

Just war & pacifism: Sacrificed on the Altar of the Nation: Christian Realism and the Unreality of War by Stanley Hauerwas [required reading]

“If a people do not exist that continually make Christ present in the world, war will always threaten to become a sacrificial system. War is a counter-church. War is the most determinative moral experience many people have. That is why Christian realism requires the disavowal of war. Christians do not disavow war because it is often so horrible, but because war, in spite of its horror – or perhaps because it is so horrible – can be so morally compelling. That is why the church does not have an alternative to war. The church is the alternative to war. When Christians lose that reality, that is, the reality of the church as an alternative to the world’s reality, we abandon the world to the unreality of war.”

Pain: God’s Gift of Pain by John Byron

“Pain is a gift from God.”

Worship: 9 Things that Christian Worship Should Be by Zac Hicks

“Christian worship should be expectant of an encounter with God.”