Ever watch the news and feel the world is coming unglued? Do you feel helpless in the face of senseless shootings, the opioid addition mess, the gridlock in Washington, the lack of respect that is tearing apart our humanity?
That’s why I wrote Restoring Civility: Lessons from the Master. You see, incivility happened to me. Here’s what happened: I taught a workshop in California. A woman in the crowd misunderstood something I said. She was clearly offended.
So what did she do? She sent me a blistering email about a week later. In it, she said she had already shared her issue with her church council members. She wanted an email back from me apologizing and providing an explanation.
I wasn’t even sure I knew what it was she was talking about. I did know that her talk to the church council was an act of gossip. I also realized this wasn’t the time for an “email dump” back to her. Why? An email is not a conversation. When I suggested we had a conversation, she refused.
Between the nightly news and this woman’s behavior, it became clear to me that, as an author, I should write something that would help all of us focus on the issue of civility, which is the issue of respect.
I began to research the subject of civility. Two years and twenty edits later, the end product is Restoring Civility: Lessons from the Master. Meanwhile, our world continues to show signs of incivility—disrespect. In my research, I included Jesus, and the New Testament. From that perspective, I was actually surprised to learn how much practical wisdom there is in the Bible from Him and His followers.
In my research I learned that “civility” means “respect.” The more I looked at the troubles of our world, the more it became clear. Disrespect is the basic thread that disrupts our lives. It was a powerful revelation!
“Civility” is the root word for “civilized.” If you lack respect, you are drifting toward an uncivilized life. If enough people drift, a nation is drifting toward an uncivilized culture. If many people go that direction, it threatens civilization.
You have probably heard of the amazing history of the Roman Empire. I have been to Rome several times. I have seen the Coliseum and other ancient ruins, which reflect a magnificent empire. The Romans conquered much of the Mediterranean world. They had one of the greatest and most feared armies in the world—even in history. No one could conquer Rome.
However, with all their amazing achievements, wealth, and accomplishments, the Roman Empire began to experience “civility drift.” It materialized in orgies, disrespectful practices, killing of people for sport. The Empire began to crumble from the inside. No one conquered Rome, they conquered themselves. History has many other examples, as well. The big question today? Are we flirting with that poison?
If you read Restoring Civility, you will learn practical ways to improve your life. How do I know? Because as I conducted the research and did the writing for the book, it actually improved my civility, my level of respect. Honestly, it changed my life. And, in another blog, I’ll share that.
Here is what I know: If you become more civil, more respectful, and more polite, will you change the world? Yes, and no. Yes, you will be a stronger part of the solution. No, you cannot change the whole world all by yourself.
However, what you will learn about is the “Infectious Principle.” Your civility will rub off on others.
Restoring Civility is a book but it’s much more. It is part of a movement. Come along, let’s make history together. You are a “civilian” who can be a champion for a better world!