Online Reconciliation CirclesPosted: July 3, 2020
Online Reconciliation Circles are a novel format for modeling constructive dialogue on difficult topics. The goal is to provide a safe place to explore better approaches to polarizing issues, starting with systemic racism.
Circles are always recorded and broadcast over the Internet, in the hopes of inspiring others to engage in similar civil conversations. They are an offshoot of The Great Reset, a public discipleship men’s group launched during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020, which in turn was inspired by Truth Bowl.
Each Circle has a Host, an opening Presenter called an Isstuk, and several Panelists. The Isstuk is not considered an expert or authority figure; merely someone curious, thoughtful, and humble enough to serve up their best current thinking for other Panelists to build upon.
Conversations typically take place via hour-long Zoom calls, and often mirrored on YouTube and Facebook. The Host opens and closes, and the Isstuk uses the first few minutes to introduce the question and share their perspective. In religious Circles the Host may ask one of the Panelists to close with prayer.
The title Isstuk is derived from the Inuit word for “leader dog”: issorartuyok. The idea is that the Isstuk “breaks the trail” for others to explore. Their job is not to create agreement or convince people, but simply open up a space to help others co-construct their own learning.