This leads to a pleading proposal.
I live a life of frustration over conversation. On the one hand I have limited energy for extrovert time (that time when you have to put your body into gear so that your mind can do the social engagement thing). On the other hand, when I do switch on the external functions, I'm often disappointed by the result - especially in Christian circles.
So when I recently read a blog post where the author invited people to continue the conversation by buying his book, I reacted. I actually wrote an email to him (his blog does not allow comments!).
Saying "buy the book" is not conversation, however good the book may be. Books have other purposes.
As a Christian I am frustrated by the dearth of opportunity to actually have real conversation. There's no shortage of topics. In church circles it gets even worse: it seems that leadership are (necessarily?) consumed in tasks (see meetings!) rather than available for true conversation, while those in the pews shortly share various degrees of naiveté or insight (and how do we know which is which?). There are some who try to cross the divisions, but generally "conversation" is perhaps more a case of messages being pushed at each other - albeit with the best of intentions.
Conversation is one part listening, one part reflection, and one part speaking. We've really got that last part down well!
Twitter, snapchat, blogs(!), tumblr, facebook, even lowly email: we troll the universe demanding the impossible while denigrating the possible, pushing out abbreviated "speak" at high frequency into a void of mindless ears and eyes. Do we abbreviate so we can get it out quickly, or do we do it frequently because we abbreviate; is it all a personal gish gallop rooted in our intellectual insecurity?
Even within the church's culture of yesteryear its preaching, teaching, singing, notices, instructions, reactions, functions, pleasantries in the foyer, and inanities over tea until we wave "bye" and say "see you next week" meaning "... maybe, all else being equal, and if nothing more pressing comes up".
Conversation takes time and commitment. We really haven't got that down well!
So I propose that our next decision could be to stop talking, and start creating ... spaces. Spaces in time, spaces in places, spaces that are inviting, spaces that are listening, spaces that are reflection, and spaces that are conversing.
- The educated can be blind, the ignorant can be wise, both need conversation.
- Wisdom waits at the intersection of knowledge and understanding, and grows through conversation and experience.
- Jesus is the epitome of creative conversation.