Jeff and Doug Christensen
MONDAY | OCTOBER 26 2020 | 7:30-9:00 pm
Explore with me how two well educated, thoughtful, good hearted brothers navigate their political differences.
Your home or hang out of choice via Zoom.
Thanks to Jana Spangler hosting us via Zoom. Below is some helpful info for being part of a Zoom convo. I will note below the Zoom address so that you can connect. If you are not on my email list then either join at the bottom of this site’s home page or text or call me at 801-695-5036.
I’ve known Jeff and Doug for some years now and have enjoyed our conversations together—most often as a threesome. I’ve been very impressed with their compassionate hearts, intellectually sound thinking, and their warm relationship. More recently I was surprised and curious to discover that they have quite different political positions. At least they weren’t going to be voting for the same person for president. My own family is full of political and religious divergent opinions and I’m always interested in learning how to better navigate these spaces so that I can better understand those who have different views than mine and also express my own in ways that can be better received.
I’ll begin by asking them a series of questions so that we can get a sense of their relationship and where their political views derive from as well as how they work through their political differences. Then I’ll ask them to discuss, as brothers, as if we were not watching (as if that really can be done) the big question of the moment: who they are voting for president of the United States of America and why.
We won’t break into smaller virtual groups afterward but will invite you to share your experiences and thoughts on the topic. As always, there is no pressure to participate. (Please remember to share air time. You can find guidelines for productive conversations here).
ABOUT THE BROTHERS CHRISTENSEN
I have been teaching seminary and institute full-time for 29 years. I have taught seminary at most Salt Lake east bench high schools and I am currently affiliated with Taylorsville Institute, teaching Old Testament and Latter-day Saint history on Zoom from home. I earned a B.A. in English Literature, an MFA in Creative Writing, emphasis in creative nonfiction, and I completed a PhD in Writing and Rhetoric Studies from the University of Utah in 2014. As part of the contingent faculty in the University Writing and Rhetoric Studies Department, I have been teaching writing classes since 2005 and currently teach Introduction to Writing and Writing in the Arts and Humanities. I have a variety of scholarly interests including literacy studies, writing pedagogy, the essay, reformation history, practically anything relating to religion or philosophy. I married Sara Brinton in 1990 and we have 4 grown children and one granddaughter. I enjoy good friendships, especially with my brothers, traveling, reading, writing, gardening, furniture making, running, cycling, mtn biking, and hiking with my family and especially hanging out with 1-year-old, Edith. I also look for every opportunity to pay more income tax which is why I have usually voted left of center.
I am a Salt Lake City native and have a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Utah and a M.S. in Management from Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management. Professionally, I have been a principal at 3 start-ups; a small HR/Employee Benefits Consulting company, a software workflow company which converted medical claims from paper to digital, and now a software company which automates and applies software defined networking to city-scale broadband networks. I have been married to Chris Webster for 32 years and we have 5 children together. Our youngest son just left on an LDS mission for Trinidad via Vancouver, WA. When I am not working, I spend time with my wife fussing over our 1 acre East Millcreek property, trying to keep my 56 year old body in motion, chasing grandchildren (which is way better than I anticipated) and reading.
EXPLORE BEFORE WE MEET:
Five Ways to Have Better Conversations Across Difference
The Art of Navigating a Family Political Discussion, Peacefully
Navigating Political Talk at Work
The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion
Jeff Christensen, A Conflict Of Visions
Sir Roger Scruton, How to be a Conservative
Not a Normal Election: The ethical meaning of a vote for Donald Trump
LISTEN TO OUR RECORDED CONVERSATION
Due to concerns over our current “cancel culture” please email me at email@example.com for the link to listen to this conversation.
TIPS FOR BETTER ZOOMING
Before you begin the Zoom Conversation:
- Prior to when we meet, get your camera and mic ready and troubleshoot any problems. It would be wise to do a dry run with the camera and microphone on your device before we converse. Best to have the camera at eye level so that it is as if we would talk to each other in person. You can use a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or desktop.
- If you are having difficulty with the technology, don’t hold up the meeting by distracting other participants for solutions. Try Googling your problem. I do that with most of my life’s problems.
- Find a quiet place to get comfortable and that you can hang out in for a couple of hours.
- Be aware that the rest of the group can see you and what is behind you. Avoid as best you can having bright lights, distracting images, or people or pets wandering around behind you. No Bigfoot bombing in the background please.
- Please don’t wander around doing other things or eating. Or if you do, make sure your sound and video are muted.
- Mute your microphone when you are not speaking so noises are not heard by everyone else
- Resist the urge to multitask—be with us, people. Knitting is still allowed though.
- Please share air time and follow the guidelines under “Intentions” on this website.
To enter the Zoom conversation:
- Click on the Zoom link above.
- The link Zoom should open, and you should be able to see and hear other participants. Or wait until the host opens the meeting. Check that you muted and that your video is on if you choose to have it on. (Love to see and hear you live, but we’ll take curious lurkers also.)
- If you can’t hear the host, me, or others, find your settings and make sure you have a working microphone and speaker selected. Also, make sure you have your volume up.