Jim Hancock and I will be presenting The No Joke Project in Boise at The Northwest Leadership Institute on March 7th. Brian McLaren will be with us as well. We conclude the No Joke Show with a live demonstration of a Three Practice Group.
Three Practice Groups are where “opinions meet curiosity”
Consequently each Three Practice Group is a collection of ideological opponents. The topic will be GUNS (for all the obvious reasons). Im looking for 2-3 people who will represent the “gun rights” perspective. I need people with opinions.
If you have friends or connections in the Boise area who fit the bill have them email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send them more info.
Here is an excerpt from my upcoming book The Three Practices that illustrate what happens in a Three Practice Group.
“In a recent Three Practice Group, “Guns” were the topic. My wife Barbara used her two minutes to passionately express her view that no one should ever have access to assault rifles and the fact that our nation valued access to guns more than the right for high school kids to be safe appalled her. Keep in mind that several people had expressed just the opposite point of view just before she spoke, so it was clear to all of us that we were definitely “sitting in the room with difference”. One of Barbs favorite ideological opponents is Kevin. Kevin is a libertarian with a capital L. You never know which side of an issue he is going to come down but its safe to say that he leans more conservative than liberal when it comes to guns rights. For Kevin, this is simply a matter of the law and the Constitution. He understands people disagree with him and his response is simply, vote conservatives out and liberals in and see if you can change the law. When Kevin took his two minutes to express these views I asked him if it bothered him that the historic record showed that every Supreme court that took up gun rights prior to 2008 found that the second amendment did not grant the right bear arms to individuals. Kevin, was non-plussed and brushed my question off with “that was then, this is the law now”.
But back to my wife’s story. As I’ve mentioned in other places once a person finishes their two minutes we open it up for clarifying questions. Since this is not a debate, there is no opportunity to present counter arguments. All the rules allow for are clarifying questions that typically begin with this phrase; “I’d be curious to know”… Kevin stepped right up and asked Barb “I’d be curious to know, if you could have one thing done regarding these guns, and know it would get done, what would it be?” Barb answered; “I’d get rid of all assault rifles”. It was a powerful exchange between two ideological opponents that ended peacefully and respectfully.
What made it possible was the elegance of Kevin’s question.The non reactivity and clarity.What made that possible were the rules of the Three Practice Group.One of them being you have 20 seconds to”find the question”, which Kevin worked hard to do. Being a three Practice veteran he had no the expectation of debate or discussion, he knows that in the group the rules only allow him to ask his ideological opponent a clarifying question. He can’t lead her, tease her, trick her or fake being curious. He has to actually find a question that doesn’t “compare his best with her worst” and he did it.
Barbara realized it was a great question, in fact the whole group realized it and virtually high fived him right in the moment. Because there is no argument to win we end up spending most of our time honing the skill of asking each other great questions. It’s hard work but its worth it because we experience the joy of humanizing the other and becoming the better person we really want to be. Barb and Kevin have become friends”