The following is a brief checklist I created for ideological bridge-builders:
Begin by looking around you and list divisions that already exist. It is important to begin close to home and look for divides in your family, faith community, and neighborhood first, and then expand your field of vision and explore communications between religious groups and detect chasms that exist in race relations, political behaviors, and so on.
Once you have a list of identified divides, prioritize them based on a combination of three things; (a) the importance and urgency of bridging the gap, (b) your current skill level, and (c) the most suitable place to start construction.
A real-world builder tries to find the best location to bridge a ravine by looking for strong foundations on each side and a narrow gap with easy access. I always suggest to people that they begin with smaller divides closer to home while they train themselves to become better bridge-builders.
Catalog Your Tools and Building Blocks
We offer a variety of tools and building blocks through our work, such as becoming aware of acrimony, focusing on co-humanity (merely using that term can have a positive effect and help people see the elements we all share), strengthening human bonds through experiences, using structured dialogue to frame discussions, and much more.
In addition, you already have access to tools and building blocks that you've gathered through your education and experience. Make an inventory of everything that can be of use in your work.
Develop Your Skills
Practice is needed on all fronts, from nurturing harmony from within to dialogue facilitation and beyond. If you are serious, you will make a commitment to continual improvement through repetition.
Join/Gather a Crew
Bridges are rarely built single-handedly. Look around and join crews that are already building bridges or gather a team of your own.
Create a Blueprint
In the same way that real-world bridge-builders need blueprints to make sturdy constructions, ideological bridge-builders need personal plans of action. Create your blueprint and continually refine it.
Nothing substitutes action. For things to get done, someone needs to do something. Take the first step, then the next step... and before you know it, something has been done, and you've been a part of doing it.
Rev. Gudjon Bergmann
Founder and Lead Educator at Harmony Interfaith Initiative
This article was adapted from my new book:
Co-Human Harmony: Using Our Shared Humanity to Bridge Divides
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Our Vision and Primary Goals
We are an educational and social good interfaith organization. We provide people with access to strategies, methods, and ideas that promote social harmony and enable bridge-building across divides. We use the term interfaith broadly to mean 'a strong belief in someone or something' and focus on improving interrelations between people who have different worldviews. Our primary goals are to remind people of our shared humanity and to support new and ongoing efforts.
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©Harmony Interfaith Initiative
Registered in Hays County, Texas
Founded in 2018
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