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Discussion guidelines

Building a healthy dialogue

The rules that guide discussion within the Open Church Network

“Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” – Ephesians 4: 2-6

The Open Church Network strives to be a place for open and honest dialogue, debate and discussion.  It is also a place of safety and sanctuary.  A place where each person can feel secure in the knowledge that they and their comments will be treated with respect.

As such, we ask that when engaging in conversations, people observe the following rules:

  • Be respectful to everyone and believe in their right to be heard.
  • Be sensitive to the fact that every participant is speaking from the context of their own, often deeply personal and sometimes painful story.  We are not discussing abstract issues, but things that shape people's lives.
  • Refrain from labelling anyone’s comments as ‘stupid’, ‘ill-considered’, ‘uneducated’ etc.  Instead, explain why you disagree and ask questions.  This applies not just to other participants in the conversation but also to thinkers, writers, leaders whose views are being discussed.
  • Do not use any offensive language such as swearing.
  • Do not engage in any personal vendettas.  If a Christian leader, friend, colleague etc has hurt you, this is not the place to call them out on it or to ‘name and shame’.

The editorial team reserve the right to remove any comments that do not reflect this approach.  People who repeatedly violate this protocol may, regretfully, be asked not to join in future conversations.