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January 24, 2018

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I think it's okay to say that Alpha time is for Alpha topics. There is certainly no shortage of other venues to talk about political events.

Could it be that he see these political issues as being connected to the topics you're discussing? In the context of conversations during a session, you could just ask, "Interesting that you mention Mueller. How do you see the investigation as being related to Alpha Topic of the Day?"

How sensitive are the topics? Phone scrolling might be a comfort tactic, like nervous laughter. If that's possible, addressing it directly might help. In my classes, where students are more likely to reach for phones because of boredom than discomfort, I talk about the importance of letting oneself be bored as part of the writing process.

It seems like the kind of thing one could approach similarly to homebirth or Attachment Parenting (tm) in the setting of a breastfeeding support meeting: we're here for a SINGLE ISSUE, and we don't want to allow secondary issues to possibly drive away people who are truly interested in the SINGLE ISSUE. Whether that issue is successful breastfeeding or coming to meet Christ Jesus, I think the case can be made without having to engage the general rightness of the secondary opinions....

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