Tony Miltenberger is a husband, father, and follower of Christ. He is currently serving as the lead pastor at Restoration Church Centerville, ohio.

5 Mindsets During Difficult Dialogue

5 Mindsets During Difficult Dialogue

When Derick reached out to me about being on the podcast I wasn't sure what to expect.

I mean, the podcast is all about reclaiming the balance of faith and life: What would I do with a practicing atheist? Yet, in a rare moment of wisdom, I could feel God's nudge to lean in to what would certainly be a difficult conversation.

And that is exactly what we did - we leaned in, and in that journey we were able to create something that was both unexpected and beautiful.

Click HERE to listen to the podcast now.

Since the days after the podcasting airing I have been blown away by the response. The comments on Facebook, text messages, and conversations have been so wonderful. People needed to hear this kind of conversation. And I think, they needed to hear it in this format.

There is something beautiful about two people who love each other unconditionally, and yet disagree at a core level being able to have real conversation. I think something amazing happened on that podcast; I think we found good dialogue around a difficult topic.

The more I dove into this thought the more I realized that's exactly what people were responding to - honest conversation done in a respectful manner. Honoring the other person and in the process honoring the conversation.

In an effort to share with all of you how we got there I thought I would give you five mindsets that lead to good dialogue during difficult conversations:

1. Love. I know, sounds cheesy, but Derick and I really do love each other. Throughout our different and difficult journeys we have held firm to this idea that we are there for each other. It is real friendship and real love. Don't get me wrong, we don't agree on the other's stance, but it doesn't have to change the way we feel about each other.

2. Listen without malicious intent. Okay, so this is an important one: I don't believe you can create sacred space if you are listening with the intent of telling the other person why they are wrong. And I don't know about you, but I do that all the time. We have to learn to listen with our whole person, and without the intention of simply rebutting their point of view. Listen with an open mind, and not malicious intent.

3. Set expectations. Derick and I decided that we would go into the conversation without the intent of conversion. It was an expressed expectation. When expectations are clear the conversation flows naturally because the boundaries are already in place. I see this happen all the time with couples - we have fights with no boundaries or expectations and everything goes off the rails.

4. Agree to disagree. Honestly, I think this point has all but become a lost art in our community. Guess what? There is no rule that says because we disagree we have to be enemies. There are so many things in the world that I don't like, but it doesn't mean that they are out to get me!!! We can agree to disagree and it can still participate in a life giving conversation.

5. Give space for each other to breathe. This one might have gotten lost in the podcast because I took out so many of the long pauses, but when the conversation played out in real time the conversation was deliberate and intentional. Lots of dead space in the talking. We were giving each other the space to breathe and think. I used to have a Kindergarten teacher who said, "Think before you speak." In today's reactionary world this might be more important than ever before. It can't be sacred space if there is no space to begin with.

So, that was us, that's how we did it, and judging by your reactions it went well. Derick and I have already talked about having more conversations, and when we do I know we will start with something like this. Something that gives us permission to be us and still have sacred space.

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Permission to Change Perspective

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