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Depolarization: A Virtual Workshop for Discipleship in A Democracy
November 8 @ 2:00 pm - 4:30 pm
Across the church, we encounter longing for an end to division and hear yearning in the honest question: How do we respond to people who believe (fill in the blank)? One year from the 2024 election and just weeks from Thanksgiving, when many of us will gather at tables with family members we may feel we no longer know, this question takes on deeper urgency. In this virtual interactive workshop, Silas Kulkarni, ELCA Director of Strategy and Advocacy, will give an introduction to the who, why, and how of depolarization work, particularly in the context of faith-based advocacy. As Christians, we are called by Jesus to love our enemies and to do the work of justice. Sometimes these two calls can seem like they are in tension, if not outright opposition. Focusing on the use of tools and trainings from the depolarization organization, Braver Angels (www.braverangels.org), Kulkarni will introduce a model for loving engagement across ideological and cultural divides, that neither precludes passionate advocacy, nor requires taking a “middle of the road” position. He will also point to opportunities and resources for learning more and continuing beyond this introductory session. The event is a partnership of LAMPa and United Lutheran Seminary. The workshop is a rescheduled, more in-depth exploration of the presentation that had been planned for Lutheran Day in the Capitol 2023. Participants will receive materials for the workshop ahead of time. Register here.
About the workshop leader:
Silas Kulkarni is the Director of Strategy & Advocacy in the ELCA Washington office. He focuses on federal policy advocacy as well as the strategic intersections of that work with the broader work of ELCA Witness in Society. Before coming to this position, he served as Senior Fellow for Public Discourse at the grassroots, depolarization organization Braver Angels, helping facilitate productive conversations between conservatives and progressives. He brings this spirit of willingness to engage with politically diverse communities to his work in the ELCA. Kulkarni has also worked as a teacher in low-income communities, as a grassroots organizer, and as co-founder and executive director of an educational equity nonprofit. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife, ELCA pastor Julie Bringman, and their two children.