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Curiosity as a Virtue (with Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer) [Podcast]

Being certain feels safe, but it precludes us from really getting to know one another. In this episode, Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer helps us explore what it might mean to cultivate curiosity as a virtue. Can listening be a transformative skill? What fears, practices, and biases keep us from being good dialogue partners? Does failing to listen make us civically irresponsible? Kreimer has years of experience building bridges—first in Jewish and Christian communities, and then in Muslim-Jewish communities. Her recent work looks at the role of college chaplains and the college landscape as places where young adults can grow to be more (or less) in relationship with each other.

Ways to listen to this episode:

In this episode, we discuss:

  • How to build capacities for relationship and dialogue in community
  • Why listening is an essential but undervalued skill
  • How the political and civic landscape is more divisive now than ever before
  • What religious and ethical leaders can do to facilitate civil discourse

Top 3 takeaways from this week’s episode:

1. “They feel like the world moved on without them.”

Fear and resentment are major blocks to empathy and dialogue. Much of the painful discourse after the 2016 US Presidential election has to do with groups of people struggling with cultural and economic realities. Even if we disagree with someone politically, how do we empathize and work to build mutual understanding?

'They feel like the world moved on without them.' Listen now: Click To Tweet

2. “Is listening a virtue?”

Rabbi Nancy Fuchs Kreimer believes that the act of listening is related to curiosity, which she considers to be a major virtue that can be practiced and cultivated in colleges and religious/ethical organizations. How have you learned how to listen? Do we value listening as a culture? In this episode, she models some of the ways we can pursue this posture.

'Is listening a virtue?' Listen now: Click To Tweet

3. “What kind of person do you want to be?”

Each time we interact with another person—in person, on social media, in the way we talk about groups of people, and how we respond to racism and misogyny in groups—we have the opportunity to act ethically. Sometimes, when we are fighting perceived injustices, it feels like we should be able to act with anger and righteousness. And yet, those postures kill dialogue and relationship. How can we move through the world with care and virtue, and, not tear others down?

'What kind of person do you want to be?' Listen now: Click To Tweet

Mentioned on the episode:

How to connect with Rabbi Kreimer and with us:

You can find Rabbi Kreimer’s work here:

You can connect with me on Twitter here: @SVarnonHughes. And you can always connect with us at CLU on our Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts linked here.

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About the Podcast

In Times Like These explores the difficult spaces we humans navigate in culture and religion, in dialogue and doubt. We talk to voices from the field, in law, activism, civil rights, and from places of struggle and places of deep learning. In Times Like These, we unpack the most troubling issues of politics and faith we face, together.

In Times Like These is hosted by Dr. Stephanie Varnon-Hughes and is a CLU Live production by Claremont Lincoln University.

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.

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Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes

Stephanie Varnon-Hughes, Ph.D., is the Director of Cross-Cultural & Interfaith Programs at Claremont Lincoln University, and an award winning teacher and interfaith leader whose research interests include the history, theories, and practices of inter-religious education, mindfulness and compassion practices (with particular emphasis on practices from the Dharmic traditions, especially Jainism), public policy (especially regarding inequities in public education), and how digital and online resources can make education accessible and learner-focused. Her doctoral dissertation, in inter-religious education, focused on disequilibrium, resilience, and reflective practice as key ingredients for learning. She was a co-founder and editor-in-chief of The Journal of Inter-Religious Studies, a peer reviewed journal, and its sister publication, State of Formation, an online forum for emerging religious and ethical leaders. She holds a Ph.D. from Claremont Lincoln University, an M.A. and S.T.M. from Union Theological Seminary and her undergraduate degrees are in English and Education, from Webster University.