Jacob Hess, PhD
Thursday | Sept 5, 2019 | 7:00-9:00 pm
Anyone else ready to give up on civility and dialogue in America today? It’s easy to look around and think, “you kidding me?” Join us for an evening of honest exploration together about whether reweaving the social fabric is possible, and if so—what that would look like.
Home of Ed and Kristen Iversen
3582 Oak Rim Way Salt Lake City, UT 84109
If there is no parking to be found near the home you can also park in the “park & ride” lot on the NW corner of 3900 South and Wasatch Blvd. Oak Rim Way is just east of the intersection on the north side.
You’re invited to bring some finger food to share
Things are hard in America today—and they appear to be getting harder. Is this just a landslide we should resign ourselves to—or are there important things we can do that might make a real difference in reversing the unraveling (and even weaving what has been ripped apart)?
In the middle of May in Washington D.C., a diverse group of Americans were convened by New York Times columnist David Brooks and Aspen Institute as part of a new initiative called “Weave: The Social Fabric Project.” (including—Jay notes—Jacob Hess, who spoke briefly about the Red Blue Dictionary he has helped create.) What united these diverse Americans was a belief that social disconnection was fueling many of the other problems in America—and that there IS still something we can all do about it.
We’re excited to be the first official “Weave” gathering happening in Utah—coming together to explore what this might look like in Utah. In light of the discouragement many are feeling, we will ask ourselves honestly this question: Is there any way to effectively span our differences and find trust again as an American people?
If so, what would that really look like? What would need to change? And how can we proactively move in that direction as a group of diverse Utahns? If it’s possible to have warm, vibrant relationships across significant differences, are there limits to this in the current atmosphere? What if one person’s beliefs feels threatening to your identity, your family, your faith community, your country, or even the health of our planet? Are there ways we can learn to work through anger more mindfully?
Come join us to explore these—and many other rich questions. The Fate of the Republic depends on it! (we’re joking…but only a little).
In addition to Jacob introducing the Weave Project to Utah, we will spend some time in self-selected smaller groups to converse as well as the usual larger group discussion and Q&A etc.
As with all our gatherings, there is no pressure to speak. But what makes Think Again and Faith Again valuable is not just who presents but who is present, prepared, and willing to share. Suggestions on how to listen and share can be found on the intentions page.
Jacob has been involved in red-blue dialogue for nearly 16 years, and has relished his opportunities to work with disagreeing collaborators at the Village Square and Living Room Conversations. He is currently on the board of the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation – and has helped launch the Red Blue Dictionary and the Respect and Rebellion Speaker Series.
Jacob teaches Mindfulness-based Stress Reduction. In January 2020, a book Jacob co-wrote with Carrie Skarda, Kyle Anderson, and Ty Mansfield, “The Power of Stillness: Mindful Living for Latter-day Saints” will be available. More about that book here.
Like many, Jacob is increasingly concerned that the conditions are deteriorating in which dialogue is even possible, with a fragile civic ecosystem arguably strained to the breaking point like our other physical ecosystems. His work is dedicated to promoting conditions where we can re-engage the conversations we desperately need to be having as a human family. (For more on Jacob’s work, see his blog.)
STUFF TO EXPLORE:
Preserving and Protecting Our Precious Civic Ecosystem (Jacob Hess, Huffpost)
Glimpsing a Silver-Lining in this Otherwise Gloomy American Moment (Jacob Hess, Bridge Alliance)
A few recent essays from David Brooks:
AFTERWARD: FORMER NPR REPORTER, ANDREA SMARDEN WRITES ABOUT THE EVENING: