*The Brave Space language comes from Micky ScottBey Jones. Click here to view her video presentation “Confronting Opponents with Love—Tools and Tactics.” Micky will be presenting a FREE Brave Space webinar on June 30th. Click here for more information and to register.
by Peggy Hahn, LEAD Executive Director
To frame a space where all voices are valued
and human dignity is restored.
Brave Space: A community space where different points on a journey of learning and growing are acknowledged.
Framing a safe space for diverse conversations may feel scary, even to seasoned group facilitators. The concept of Brave Space moves the responsibility of valuing diversity from the facilitator to everyone in the conversation. Guidelines like the ones below are helpful. We are leading in a polarized society.
What if the church could become a Brave Space that practiced reconciliation and loved like Jesus?
- Strive to learn about experiences other than your own and seek permission to ask questions about other people’s experiences: e.g. “Would you be willing to tell me more about…”
- Recognize that your experiences, values, etc. are unique and avoid generalizing. Similarly, avoid language that assumes all people are in the majority (e.g. heterosexual, Caucasian, Republican/Democrat, or Judeo-Christian) and stereotyping based on assumptions and perceptions.
- Address conflicts peacefully to the best of your ability.
- Validate and support the ideas, feelings or experiences of others.
- Always ask questions to learn more of another’s experiences; avoid attacking or debating the validity of someone else’s experiences. Be considerate of each other’s activities (meetings, projects, reading, etc.) and mindful of noise levels, as this is a shared space.
- Before reacting or responding to jokes or statements you feel are hurtful or offensive to yourself or others, ask for clarification: e.g. “What I heard you say is… Is that correct?”
- Be mindful of sexually charged topics, language, and perceived behavior as we all come from different cultural and life experiences and have different boundaries.
- Practice forgiveness. Remember that this is a space where we are all learning and growing.
Can your church be a Brave Space?