Guy Nave is Professor of Religion at Luther College focusing on the topics of Christianity, biblical studies, religion and social justice, and race-religion-and-politics. Nave is currently researching the power, politics, and meaning behind the rhetoric of “change,” as well as the role of Christianity in bringing about social “change.” Nave is an author, public speaker, and blogger who frequently contributes to Luther College’s Ideas and Creations blog, Sojourners Commentary blog series, and is the founder and creator of the online social media platform, Clamoring for Change.

Promoting Civility Through Understanding
In this presentation, Guy Nave will discuss a new social media platform he is currently developing. The platform is called “Clamoring for Change.” Often when people refer to “change” we are referring to something that “others” need to do rather than something we ourselves need to do.

Nave believes it is this notion that “others” are the ones who need to change that contributes to much of the polarization and incivility in society today.

Clamoring for Change seeks to create a space where people open themselves up to experiencing change. For Nave, change is not primarily about persuading and convincing “one side” to see things the way that “another side” sees it. Instead, change is about all sides ending up with new perspectives that can only be arrived at through engagement with and understanding of others.

Clamoring for Change is not simply about promoting and fostering change. It is also about moving people of differing views beyond polarization and incivility. Nave is not suggesting people will (or even should) agree on everything. Disagreement is not the cause of incivility. It is disrespect—not disagreement—that leads to incivility, and disrespect is almost always rooted in a lack of understanding.

That is why a fundamental “rule of engagement” on Clamoring for Change is to always seek understanding. In this quest for understanding, we must each seek to understand as much as to be understood.

Furthermore, in our quest to be understood, we must at all times ask ourselves, “how does what I’m saying and the way I am saying it encourage others to seek to understand me?” If we seek to be understood, we must give others a reason to want to understand us, and being disrespectful to others does not give others a reason to want to understand us.

Join Guy Nave in a conversation about his Clamoring for Change project and share your thoughts about what is needed in order to promote civility and move society beyond polarization and incivility.