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topics

What do you want to talk about? We have over 150 topics to choose from. Our guides are designed so everyone feels like they can join the conversation. Search for what you want, look by category, or alphabetical order below.

Topics By Category

Conversations in Troubled Times

How has the recent news affected you? And people you love? Disruption, tragedy and conflict are part of our human story. Whether in our own backyard or internationally, deep histories of trauma and loss can make it difficult to speak about current events. For some people the hurt or anger

Empathy

How do you feel when someone else truly understands what you are going through? Empathy goes beyond concern or sympathy. Empathy is stepping into the shoes of another with the intention to better understand and feel what they are experiencing. It is expressed in our choice to be fully present

Hope

Have you experienced a personal or collective sense of hope in action? What happened? Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This is hope in action. In this way, hope is an energy source that resides in each of us. It is

Cancel Culture: Free Speech and Accountability

What do you see as the difference between “canceling someone” and “holding that person accountable”? What are some examples you have seen of this? With the advance of technology, it’s easy to broadcast our thoughts and feelings and connect with both friends and strangers online. With the rise of the

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only those that think what we believe is true! Let’s be brave enough to curiously listen to a broad spectrum of

Forgiveness

What are the benefits or detriments of forgiving? For yourself, for the other, for the community? The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is – Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How? Must we? Forgiving wrongs, intentional, unintentional, historic, big and small is not a simple thing. For many of us this

Healing

How do you know when something is in need of healing at the spiritual, mental, emotional and/or physical level? Healing takes many forms and can mean many things to different people. Going to the doctor and pharmacist can be part of the process of becoming healthy again. Accessing our internal

Holidays and Traditions

What experiences have you had sharing your traditions with others? When have others shared traditions with you? What was that like? ‘Tis the season where people start to put up lights and decorate their homes, where shopping centers sell seasonal adornments and ornaments, and we can smell the aroma of

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward a sense of belonging and has the potential to heal and strengthen our communities in all their diversity and needs.

Group of individuals in front of American flag

The American Dream

What does the American Dream look like today? How has this shifted over the years? Generally speaking, opportunity gap refers to inputs (the unequal or inequitable distribution of resources and opportunities), while achievement gap refers to outputs (the unequal or inequitable distribution of educational results and benefits). Since early in

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

America We Want To Be: Founding Aspirations

What is your personal commitment to creating the America you want? When the Declaration of Independence was written, not everyone was included in the famous statement about “pursuit of Life,

American Creed

What core values do you think Americans fundamentally agree on? American political leaders of all kinds throughout history have pointed out that American identity revolves around a set of ideals

Democracy, Extremism, and Outliers

How do you decide what is extreme, or so outside the norm, that it’s “crazy” or “dangerous” to society? Under democratic governance structures, people enjoy freedom to believe as they

Does My Vote Really Matter?

Are you registered to vote? What led you to that decision? Voting is how we choose our leaders and pass local laws. Is voting a duty or a choice? Data

El sueño americano: Spanish Guide

¿Cómo es el sueño americano hoy en día? ¿Cómo ha cambiado a lo largo de los años? Desde los orígenes de Estados Unidos, el sueño americano ha representado la creencia

Free Speech

How has social media impacted your views on free speech? When are limitations on free speech justified in America? With the advance of technology, it is easy to connect with

Free Speech, Fighting Words, and Violence

How do we protect free speech and ensure public safety despite ongoing threats of violence? Some Americans feel violated by flag burning; some by racist rallies. As extremist groups use

Freedom

Is freedom at risk? If so, what are you concerned about? Freedom is a key concept in America’s founding documents. We are proud to be a free people. This said,

Healthcare

How are your health care needs met? Are you happy with your healthcare? Most people need healthcare at some time in their lives. And we all want healthcare in our

Abortion

Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate? Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

Aging and Ageism

How have you experienced ageism? What assumptions do others make about you? What assumptions do you make about others based on their age? As soon as we are born, we

Alcohol

What guides your decision to use or abstain from alcohol? Alcohol is an important part of many cultures. Some of us enjoy drinking alcohol. Others don’t. Some of us are

Alone – Solitude or Isolation?

What are your best experiences of being alone? Our social nature is part of our humanity. People tend to like being with other people, and most of us need good

Artificial Intelligence

AI has many potential uses. Which ones excite and/or concern you? Artificial Intelligence or AI has rapidly emerged as a powerful new technology. Its ability to perform tasks requiring human

Being Asian American

What does being Asian mean to you? What about being American? How do those two identities relate to each other? What is the impact of having your ethnicity lumped into

Being Black in the Anti-Racist Movement

What thoughts and emotions have the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought up in you? What has this been like for you? The recent murders of

Artificial Intelligence

AI has many potential uses. Which ones excite and/or concern you? Artificial Intelligence or AI has rapidly emerged as a powerful new technology. Its ability to perform tasks requiring human

Mental Health for Educators

What do you wish the community understood about your work? How could others best support educators? Schools have been hit hard the past few years with COVID-19, an added complication

Mental Health for Youth

Do you find yourself caring for or being affected by the mental and emotional health of others? What does that look like and what impact does it have on you?

Resilient Schools, Resilient Kids

What part of your education or growing up, best prepared you for being a contributing adult? Much of the media coverage about our schools today talks about America’s failing education

Student Debt

Where or how do you see college debt affecting our economy and communities? College students leave school with more debt today than any previous generation. With the increasing costs of

Zero Tolerance

Have you or someone you know been impacted by a zero-tolerance policy? What happened? Zero Tolerance is a policy that has been used by schools (and other organizations – police,

Climate Change

What is your experience when the conversation topic turns to climate change? It’s time to change the climate of our climate conversations by not huddling under our umbrellas with only

Climate of Unity

How would you describe your relationship with or stewardship of the environment? We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the

Energy and the Environment

Have you made any changes to the energy you use? Why? Since the 1970s, presidential candidates have used energy as a key platform promise, highlighting our need to be energy

Environment and Pollution

What effect has environmental pollution had on on your life? We all want to live in a healthy environment, yet most of us make compromises to enjoy the benefits of

Water and Life

Think about your life and experiences. What is your favorite memory or personal story with water or bodies of water? Water is an essential part of all our lives and

Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community

How do we maintain dignity in our relationship and connection to each other as we encounter varying beliefs and opinions around the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity? Views

Faith Community: The Way Forward

What is the promise of our faith community to its members? To the surrounding community? Transitional times in faith communities may be accompanied by divisiveness about which changes are most

Faith in Politics

What type of influence would you like faith to have in our political system? How do we respect the rights of individuals in their pursuit of happiness and maintain a

Forgiveness

What are the benefits or detriments of forgiving? For yourself, for the other, for the community? The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is – Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How?

Healing

How do you know when something is in need of healing at the spiritual, mental, emotional and/or physical level? Healing takes many forms and can mean many things to different

Holidays and Traditions

What experiences have you had sharing your traditions with others? When have others shared traditions with you? What was that like? ‘Tis the season where people start to put up

Hope

Have you experienced a personal or collective sense of hope in action? What happened? Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward

Politics in Faith Communities

How and where do you want to talk about the pressing issues of our communities and country? The First Amendment of our Constitution states: “Congress shall make no law respecting

Race and Faith Communities

How has your faith inspired you to respond to racial discrimination? Race and religion have a long and complicated history. From the crusades to the use of religion to uphold

Abortion

Why can it be so difficult to talk about abortion? What is really at the heart of the debate? Abortion is seldom a topic that we speak about in casual

Communitarianism and Conservatism

To what extent does your community contribute to your identity or sense of self? The idea of conservatism evokes a spectrum of ideas, values and political positions. This conversation is

Death and Culture

What experiences have you had with major loss or death? How has that impacted your perception of life or shifted your priorities in life? We all share a common inheritance–

Faith and the LGBTQ+ Community

How do we maintain dignity in our relationship and connection to each other as we encounter varying beliefs and opinions around the intersection of faith, sexuality, and gender identity? Views

Fellowship and Friendships, the Rotary 4-Way-Test

Where and how do you find friends and develop friendships? In our current environment of miscommunication, misunderstanding and mistrust, what can we learn from the Rotary International principles and approach

Gender

What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break? What’s the big deal about gender? In

Hope

Have you experienced a personal or collective sense of hope in action? What happened? Instead of resigning ourselves to our current situations, we can dream and build new possibilities. This

Hunger and Health

Have you ever experienced a time of food insecurity in your life? What happened? We all want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, consistently available

Kindness

Where do you see people struggle to implement kindness? What gets in your own way of extending kindness? Kindness is simple, powerful, and contagious. It pushes us past niceties toward

LGBTQIA+: An Affinity Group Conversation

Where do you experience tension, if any, between your LGBTQIA+ identity and other parts of your identity? How does that impact you? Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means many

Affordable Housing

What changes related to housing costs do you see in your community? According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, housing is considered affordable when a person pays

Crony Capitalism

Which relationships between business and government are you most concerned about right now? Cronyism is a term describing an economy in which success in business depends on close relationships between

Energy and the Environment

Have you made any changes to the energy you use? Why? Since the 1970s, presidential candidates have used energy as a key platform promise, highlighting our need to be energy

Money and Values

What does money mean or represent to you? How we earn, spend and invest our money impacts individuals, communities, the environment and the world. Some people say that how we

Money in Politics

When it comes to money in politics, what is your primary concern right now? Is there a problem with money influencing our elections and then influencing the actions of elected

Student Debt

Where or how do you see college debt affecting our economy and communities? College students leave school with more debt today than any previous generation. With the increasing costs of

The Future of Work

What role does work play in your life? For huge numbers of people jobs provide income and a sense of purpose. We are fast approaching a time when artificial intelligence

Universal Basic Income

If you knew you had a survival level of income, guaranteed, how would your life change? The idea of a Universal Basic Income (UBI) or National Guaranteed Income has been

Gender

What roles have you learned about gender from parents, school, peers, media, faith? Which do you hold true? And which do you break? What’s the big deal about gender? In

LGBTQIA+: An Affinity Group Conversation

Where do you experience tension, if any, between your LGBTQIA+ identity and other parts of your identity? How does that impact you? Being part of the LGBTQIA+ community means many

The UMC Rift: Faithfulness in Divided Times

How can we resist the temptation to “otherize” and judge each other harshly? A Special Session of the General Conference of The United Methodist Church took place February 23-26, 2019

Alcohol

What guides your decision to use or abstain from alcohol? Alcohol is an important part of many cultures. Some of us enjoy drinking alcohol. Others don’t. Some of us are

Anxiety and Elections

What have you noticed about your feelings and behavior in relation to election seasons? Therapist and author Steven Stosny, in an article for Psychology Today coined the phrase “election stress

Belonging

Where do you want to feel a greater sense of belonging, yet haven’t and why? Belonging is identified as a basic human need in Maslow’s pyramid. Human beings are happier

Death and Culture

What experiences have you had with major loss or death? How has that impacted your perception of life or shifted your priorities in life? We all share a common inheritance–

Food

What is different about the way you make choices regarding food in comparison with your peers? With your family? With other generations? With other cultures? Food is life itself. Food

Gratitude

What moves you to feel gratitude? What, if anything, gets in the way of you feeling gratitude? If you were offered a simple way to improve your mental health, tap

Healthcare

How are your health care needs met? Are you happy with your healthcare? Most people need healthcare at some time in their lives. And we all want healthcare in our

Homelessness

What do you see contributing to homelessness in your community? Homelessness in America is a problem that reminds us daily of our failure to be our best. How do we

Hunger and Health

Have you ever experienced a time of food insecurity in your life? What happened? We all want to ensure that everyone in our community has access to healthy, consistently available

Mental Health, Addiction and Incarceration

How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals? There is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50 to 60 percent)

Artificial Intelligence

AI has many potential uses. Which ones excite and/or concern you? Artificial Intelligence or AI has rapidly emerged as a powerful new technology. Its ability to perform tasks requiring human

Mental Health for Educators

What do you wish the community understood about your work? How could others best support educators? Schools have been hit hard the past few years with COVID-19, an added complication

Being Asian American

What does being Asian mean to you? What about being American? How do those two identities relate to each other? What is the impact of having your ethnicity lumped into

Being Black in the Anti-Racist Movement

What thoughts and emotions have the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd brought up in you? What has this been like for you? The recent murders of

Being White in the Anti-Racism Movement

How do you understand the terms white fragility, white guilt, white privilege and white ally? What is it like to apply those terms to yourself? Terms like white fragility, white

Disability and Ableism

How do we better support persons with disabilities? What access needs have you seen in your community? In the United States, one in four adults have some type of disability.

Forgiveness

What are the benefits or detriments of forgiving? For yourself, for the other, for the community? The first of The Four Sacred Gifts is – Forgive the Unforgivable. Why? How?

Gangs

What is the best possible community response to growing gang membership? In the 1980s, the issue of gangs in America received a great deal of attention, with a focus on

Mental Health, Addiction and Incarceration

How do we provide, when appropriate, alternatives to jail for mentally ill, addicted and indigent individuals? There is growing awareness and concern at the high rates (50 to 60 percent)

Police-Community Relations

What interactions have you had with police? What was that like for you? What impact does that have on your expectations for possible encounters in the future? We all love

Bias

Describe a time where you felt bias was a key component of a situation or decision. What was the impact? One form of Bias is allowing your personal opinion to

Media and Polarization

How does the media impact you, your friends, and your family? Over the last 50 years, our media has shifted from major networks and newspapers to specialized sources with specific

Mental Health

Does your religion or culture, or some other aspect of your identity or background, influence how you think about mental health? If so, how? Most people agree that we want

Mental Health and Your Body

What messages around bodies have had the most influence on you? Where did they come from? We do not exist in this life without our bodies, it is our one