Across the Divide

Farmington-Scipio Regional Meeting, of which Buffalo Meeting is a member, held its annual Spring Gathering in May at Watson Homestead in Painted Post, New York. Several of us from Buffalo participated, and we attended the key workshop on the conference topic “Seeing the Sacred Across the Divide.” Participants role-played different scenarios to illustrate opposing positions on a particular topic. We were encouraged to develop a “feeling sense of the condition of others,” much like John Woolman, who was able to feel compassion for both the slave as well as the slave-holder.

When engaged in active conversation or debate with someone who may not believe as we do, we learned how helpful it may be to identify the Moral Foundation which is at the base of the disagreement, and try to find some common ground.

Moral Foundation:

  • Care/harm

  • Fairness/cheating

  • Loyalty/betrayal

  • Authority/subversion

  • Sanctity/degradation

  • Liberty/oppression

(From The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion by Jonathan Haidt.)

Questions asked after the role-play directed our attention:

  • Was the divide bridged?

  • How was the divide bridged?

  • What about communication prevented/added to the divide?