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Davis to discuss civility in a small town

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury College professor James Calvin Davis will present a talk titled “Faith and Friendship: Pillars for Small-Town Civility” on Tuesday, March 25, at 7 p.m. at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church on the Green in Middlebury.
The dictum used to be that in polite society one did not discuss politics or religion. But society today is far from polite and politics and religion are two divisive elements that have led to polarization in local and national discourse. This in turn tends to create an atmosphere that works against the identification of common interests and movement toward solutions to common problems.
In this lecture, sponsored by St. Stephen’s and the Middlebury Area Clergy Association, Davis will talk about how to change the way we think about the issues and each other and how to take steps toward meaningful conversation, rather than rhetoric, that can lead to ways to deal with issues.
Davis is professor of religion at Middlebury College and the author of “In Defense of Civility: How Religion Can Unite America on Seven Moral Issues that Divide Us.” In it he asserts that “the trick to rejuvenating our public discourse lies in empowering the sizable moderate middle to reclaim the public agenda … and to change the language with which we talk about our differences.”
The talk will be followed by dessert and an informal question-and-answer session with Davis. Childcare will be provided.

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