Local religious leaders Tim Olmsted, right, of the Buddhist Center of Steamboat, and First Baptist Church of Steamboat Pastor Jason Clark have a discussion Thursday at Rex’s American Grill and Bar.

Photo by Matt Stensland

Local religious leaders Tim Olmsted, right, of the Buddhist Center of Steamboat, and First Baptist Church of Steamboat Pastor Jason Clark have a discussion Thursday at Rex’s American Grill and Bar.

Tuesday event with religious leaders coincides with Steamboat 700 election

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If you go

What: Exploring the Sacred public discussion, “Overcoming Divisiveness,” with local religious leaders of various faiths

When: 6:30 p.m. Tuesday

Where: Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library

Cost: Free

Call: 846-8504 for more information

— A public seminar about divisiveness will coincide with an election about one of the most contentious local issues in recent memory.

So if debate about the proposed Steamboat 700 annexation has you feeling a little vexed Tuesday, head over to Library Hall at Bud Werner Memorial Library for an Exploring the Sacred discussion, “Overcoming Divisiveness,” beginning at 6:30 p.m.

Marchele and Tim McCarthy have been organizing and presenting their Exploring the Sacred events for several years to “address critical issues related to finding meaning in the world,” according to event advertising. The McCarthys will moderate Tuesday’s discussion, which could feature as many as seven local religious leaders of various faiths.

The scheduled panel includes Associate Pastor Tim Selby, of United Methodist Church; Bishop Emeritus Paul Stewart, of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints; Rabbi Joseph Goldman, of the Jewish Congregation of Steamboat; Sister Faith Hansen, of Holy Name Catholic Church; Steve Aigner, practitioner of Islam; Tim Olmsted, of the Buddhist Center of Steamboat; and Pastor Jason Clark, of the First Baptist Church of Steamboat.

Four of those leaders gathered at Rex’s American Grill and Bar on Thursday afternoon to talk about the event and the issue. Much of their conversation about divisiveness focused on political activity in Washington, D.C., and how the tenor of partisan debate affects citizens nationwide.

“We’ll take stupid legislative issues and turn them into death battles when they’re not,” Selby said. “There are places where you need to butt heads and battle; there are other places to recognize common humanity.”

Selby, Clark, Aigner and Olmsted agreed that such recognition is central to civil, constructive debate.

“You can have differing opinions without being divisive,” Clark said. The pastor said he teaches members of his congregation to be “Godly with your communication,” regardless of the form. Whether you are talking with someone in person, on the phone, via e-mail or in other media, Clark said, remembering the principles of your faith is critical.

The challenge arises, Olmsted said, when multiple participants in a conversation all have opposing viewpoints and each participant thinks they, and not the others, are absolutely correct.

“How are we going to get throu­gh that logic?” Olm­sted asked, re­­fer­ring to potential questions on that line Tues­day.

Approaches to such a situation differ and are being played out in Steam­­­­

boat Springs, where Steam­boat 700 has fueled passionate debate.

All present Thursday said they have not witnessed anger or shrill tones about the issue in face-to-face conversations among their congregants or peers, despite differing opinions. But they acknowledged that in some forums — including comments attached to stories on the Pilot & Today’s Web site — the Steamboat 700 conversation has been less than civil.

Selby said Tuesday’s event could help create a model for constructive local discourse.

“(Tuesday’s event) is an opportunity for people to air their views,” Tim McCarthy said.

Comments

freerider 4 years, 4 months ago

I wonder if they will discuss how they all take the Lord's name in vain by the "Selling of God" and then taking millions of dollars from innocent sheep to fuel their partisan efforts in Washington D.C.

Or maybe they will want to talk about how it's ok to run around the planet with an AK47 in one hand and a bible in the other ....

Or maybe they will want to discuss how they all feel entiltled to spew there religious fear mongering to increase the bottom line $$$ on the books......

Almighty God just can't seem to handle money and needs more of it all the time

I'm pretty sure that God is PO'D at religion and it's leaders for using his name to bilk millions of dollars out of sheep so they can build entire cities to harbor pedophiles

I think it's great to be a fan of God ....But Religion is for the weak and the stupid

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Scott Wedel 4 years, 4 months ago

Was that an attempt to prove that comments on stories at the SB Pilot website can be less than civil?

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George Danellis 4 years, 4 months ago

Freerider, I am sad to say that you are giving an example of the kind of divisive communication that these leaders, and many people through their daily interactions, are working to address. We all have our opinions - what we do with them is very much our own decision. It surely isn't always easy, but if we choose to affect change through our words, then constructive discourse is key to enduring solutions. Would you consider coming on Tuesday night?

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John Fielding 4 years, 4 months ago

Could it be that people will use anything, even or especially religion to justify their actions?

Perhaps those who contend that mankind is inherently selfish, or fallen from perfection will see abuse of religion as a manifestation of that condition.

Those who believe we are by nature compassionate or aspire to be so may see such abuses as good intentions carried too far.

Evolutionary science indicates the success of our species owes much to possessing a balance between self interest and willingness to help our fellow creatures, human and otherwise.

It seems you can make anything you want out of it.

See you there.

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