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Healing After a Time of Discord


The “Signs of the Times” series includes courses that address difficult social, political and cultural themes in order to provide steps to bridge the deep divisions in the U.S. today.
statue of embracing couple titled "Reconciliation"

featuring videos with Kenneth Himes, O.F.M., and selected conversations from the NPR radio program “On Being”

The presidential election of 2016 exposed deep wounds among the American people. Now that the election is over, how can a deeply divided people begin to heal and learn how to live with each other more civilly?   In his video presentations, Fr. Kenneth Himes, a theologian and Franciscan priest, identifies the contours of underlying issues, e.g., racism, class divisions, and stagnation of economic mobility, that are embedded in the harsh rhetoric during the election cycle.  E.J. Dionne, a journalist who is Catholic, and David Brooks, a journalist who is Jewish, in conversation together identify theological themes that need to be investigated in the public square.  Natasha Tretheway, former U.S. poet laureate and self-identified secular humanist, and Eboo Patel, founder of Interfaith Youth Core and a Muslim, imagine together a path to civil conversation about topics such as diversity, democracy, and justice.

Check the course schedule for future offerings of this course.


Getting Started Week:  Introduction to the course

Week 1:  Is it possible to have theological discussion in the public square? 
Focus Issues: Populism, Anger, and Pessimism about Politics

Week 2: How does diversity impact democracy and contribute to a just society?  
Focus Issues:  Economic Inequality, Stagnation of Economic Mobility, and the White Working Class

Special Features

This course includes:

  • Videos with Fr. Kenneth Himes, O.F.M.;
  • Links to audio interviews/conversations conducted by “On Being” host Krista Tippett; 
  • Text transcripts of each featured audio or video presentation;
  • Weekly study guide with questions for reflection and discussion; and
  • A regularly updated Resource page to use for further study.

All Crossroads courses include these features:

  • Participants have access 24 hours/7 days a week to the course's password-protected web site. 
  • Each participant belongs to a small Community for Conversation and faith sharing guided by a facilitator.
  • The course site is usually available to participants at least three months after the course has ended.
  • An orientation on how to navigate the web site is always available.
  • Technical assistance is easy to contact and prompt in returning a message.
  • A Certificate of Active Participation is awarded to those who post at least three messages of substance for each week of content.

Additional Materials Needed:   

All materials provided in the course.

Time Commitment:

A participant can expect to spend an average of 3-4 hours each week. This commitment includes both preparation and interaction online. 

Fee: $25

Content Scholar: Fr. Kenneth Himes, O.F.M.