11 Chapters
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6 Divinity, Division, and Belonging

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, “Don’t do it!” He said, “Nobody loves me.” I said, “God loves you. Do you believe in God?”

He said, “Yes.” I said, “Are you a Christian or a Jew?” He said, “A Christian.” I said, “Me, too! Protestant or Catholic?” He said, “Protestant.” I said, “Me, too! What franchise?” He said, “Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?” He said, “Northern Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?”

He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist.” I said, “Me, too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region, or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.” I said, “Me, too!

Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879, or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?” He said, “Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.” I said, “Die, heretic!” And I pushed him over.

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11 “Belonging Creates and Undoes Us Both”

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Belonging creates and undoes us both. Agreement has rarely been the mandate for people who love each other. Maybe on some things, but actually, when you look at some people who are lovers and friends, actually they might disagree really deeply on things, but they’re somehow—I like the phrase “the argument of being alive.” Or in Irish, when you talk about trust, there’s a beautiful phrase from West Kerry where you say, “Mo sheasamh ort lá na choise tinne,” “You are the place where I stand on the day when my feet are sore.” And that is soft and kind language, but it is so robust. That is what we can have with each other.

— PÁDRAIG Ó TUAMA

Corrymeela is the oldest peace and reconciliation organization in Northern Ireland. Located in the Northern Ireland village of Ballycastle, Corrymeela began before “the troubles” and continued on in Northern Ireland’s changing postconflict society after the Good Friday Agreement was signed in 1998. The organization has grown and now has almost forty full-time staff and dozens of volunteers who work with the 11,000 people who attend programs at the center every year.

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2 The Politics of Being Right

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

I think people involved in politics make good actors. Acting and politics both involve fooling people. People like being fooled by actors. When you get right down to it, they probably like being fooled by politicians even more. A skillful actor will make you think, but a skillful politician will make you never have to think.

— DONNA BRAZILE

In September 1894, a French housekeeper who was working in the German embassy found an unsigned and undated letter, torn into six pieces, that was addressed to the German attaché. The letter seemed to indicate that confidential French military documents were about to be sent to a foreign country. The housekeeper took the pieces of the letter and gave them to the French counterintelligence agency. The letter found its way to the French minister of war, General Auguste Mercier, who had been roundly criticized by the media for being incompetent. General Mercier immediately initiated two separate investigations of the matter.

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8 The Media Is the Message

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

The medium is the message. This is merely to say that the personal and social consequences of any medium—that is, of any extension of ourselves—result from the new scale that is introduced into our affairs by each extension of ourselves, or by any new technology.

— MARSHALL MCLUHAN

The media’s the most powerful entity on Earth. They have the power to make the innocent guilty and to make the guilty innocent, and that’s power. Because they can control the minds of the masses.

— EL-HAJJ MALIK EL-SHABAZZ (MALCOLM X)

In our opening scenario, Barry watches MSNBC to start his day, Joan watches Fox News, and Fatima watches the BBC. How are their attitudes and opinions being shaped by what they see every morning? How does that difference impact the “us versus them” dynamic among them?

How do you get your news?

On June 8, 2017, former FBI director James Comey testified before the United States Senate. Comey had been fired by President Donald Trump a month earlier. The firing created a media firestorm that, under examination, reveals a lot about our culture today. Over the course of the testimony, cable news programs not only covered Comey’s testimony but also added to the viewer’s experience by providing captions, usually in all capital letters, at the bottom of the screen (often called chyrons or lower-thirds). These chyrons are significant because they guide viewers’ understanding of what key points are being made during the broadcast and how a viewer should perceive and react to such points, thus guiding them toward particular conclusions. A look at some of the differences in how three major news outlets, CNN, Fox News, and MSNBC, chose to highlight what was being said is an illustrative example of one of the major reasons we exist in a world of separation.1

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5 The Social Brain

Ross, Howard J.; Tartaglione, JonRobert Berrett-Koehler Publishers ePub

Much of the same machinery, the same brain regions and computational processing that are used in a social context to attribute awareness to someone else, are also used on a continuous basis to construct your own awareness and attribute it to yourself.

— MICHAEL S. A. GRAZIANO

Have you ever found yourself talking to an inanimate object? Perhaps getting angry at your car, or encouraging it through snow, almost like the Little Engine that Could? Anybody who has children has likely seen them treat their stuffed animals as if they were alive, or, even more dramatically, create an imaginary friend out of thin air. Why would we talk to inanimate objects or imaginary ones as if they were alive?

In the 2000 movie Cast Away, Tom Hanks plays Chuck Noland, a FedEx employee who ends up stranded on an uninhabited island in the South Pacific after a plane crash. The film gained widespread critical acclaim and was heralded as a gripping survival story, a tribute to the resourcefulness and resilience of the human spirit. Perhaps most important, however, was that it also provided a poignant glimpse into the depths of our desire to connect.

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