Monday, January 22, 2007

Dialogue, part 1 of many

Scott McKnight had a post recently on dialogue in which he explores reasons why people just don't want to talk about issues. Recently Nancy and I had a great experience that reinforced that dialogue is such a great tool; but that isn't the right word. Dialogue is an absolutely necessary part of community.

We encountered both types of people - those who backed off from a real conversation when it became obvious that there were different points of view and those people who wanted to learn and share. When the ISSUE arose and you could tell that someone wanted to not talk about it, you could just feel the wall being built right at that moment when the ISSUE now existed but wasn't being discussed. Even when small talk happened later, that elephant was parading back and forth wearing colors and waving flags, or whatever those large annoying elephants do that exist in relationships.

And then there were those who saw something different and you could see the sparkle of curiosity - what is going on here? And a connection was being built because two people wanted to explore the world as another human being saw it, regardless of whether they agreed completely or not.

Let me say quickly that both groups of people that we met were wonderful people who were sincere. But one group had fear, they had a worry that somehow, through a conversation, something bad might happen. That fear led one or two to run to their grapevine to talk to others who had the same fear. A few of the bravest, and those who did the biblical thing, came and asked me personally about the issue.

I just don't want to live a life of fear. And we have absolutely nothing to lose, or fear, in good deep conversation. I love Christ for his ability to talk to anyone, including those people who were the sworn enemies of his nation, the religious experts, those lowly people who shouldn't have an opinion, and anyone else and to explore where people were at in their lives.

If it is true that the unexamined life is not worth living, then we need people in our lives who will help us explore it through brave dialogue.

How are the conversations around you? How deep are people really going? Why do you think people avoid talking?

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