This year, the University had more dialogues on contentious topics that intersected religion, politics, race, and sexuality, and other subjects than ever before. And the frequency and attendance of these dialogues were, indeed, signs that point to a more hopeful future in the University’s commitment to inclusiveness and contemplation. Dialogue must be carried on moving forward to preserve the spirit of community, obedience, and stability.
A few weeks ago, April Ryan came to Benedictine University, speaking about the “it,” which is the object of concern that is distinct for each individual, and raises this underlying collective need to understand what must be done “to form a more perfect union.” In this manner, listening and exchanging ideas is, one of the ways to improve our society.
Yet, no one knows how to substantially improve this country. And even if they did, they couldn’t improve this country with the paltry support they have (President Trump included). Additionally, the different ideas and devotion we have about the right approach for our society complicate the situation, and instead continues the pessimistic projection of a collapsing union among our nation’s people. Dialogue is not a panacea for our social ailments, but it is a good place to start for healing our nation’s stretching wounds.
Dialogue isn’t about conforming to beliefs. Rather, it’s a way to learn different perspectives to which one might not otherwise be exposed. People simply should not grow tired of these conversations, even when they are quite exhausting. In fact, one of the defining characteristics of dialogue is the act of listening patiently and openly to others. True commitment to knowledge, and growth of the community and beyond demands compromise, patience, and mutual understanding among community members, and dialogue is the means through which people can become smarter and wiser in the context of the issues that involve them and the rest of their community.
Dialogue does not completely discourage ignorance, unintentional bigotry, or unsubstantiated fearmongering. Rather, dialogue welcomes all who wish to speak if they can speak in terms that are appropriate to others (a reference to the “Dialogue Decalogue”). And it is all but widely-accepted fact that the more open conversations we have, and the more insulated social bubbles we can burst, the more harmonic a community can become. Benedictine University: let’s continue to make important conversations happen in the future!