Conversations

Today on Facebook I ‘hosted’ (by default) a vigorous conversation about the Bible, homosexuality, and Emergent. I say by default because it was a prolonged response to my status update (a McLaren quote) and there were some well-thought, lengthy responses. I was impressed how well those involved seemed to articulate their understanding of these issues.

In the end, it was a conversation definitely worth having, although it would be better in person (if we could keep our emotions in check). Therefore, I was disappointed when one of those involved pulled out of it by telling everyone ‘The conversation isn’t even worth having.’

Every conversation is worth having. There is always something we can learn if we are open to the understandings of others. Then there is also the sense of community which a conversation brings, even when it is online over great distances.

But then, I suppose I sometimes get to a point when I really haven’t the energy to listen or when it seems to me that we are talking in circles. I would hope that I could bow out of such a dialogue graciously, leaving the door open for further connections at a more appropriate time.

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3 thoughts on “Conversations

  1. These conversations are often worth having, but it is sometimes difficult to have indepth discussions online. This is especially the case when people get defensive, or when they try to overwhelm and force their opinions onto others, without really hearing what the other is saying. As with a real life discussion, it is important to keep being arrogant or forceful with one’s views. It is also useful, I think, to enter the discussion with an attitude of “will I be able to learn something?” rather than “can I convince the other person/people that I am right and they are wrong”. I love a good debate, but it is hard to maintain any kind of ‘rules of engagement’ in an online setting.

  2. Oops, I meant keep from being arrogant, not keep being arrogant.
    Anyway, got this quote in an email today from Stephen Spence advertising a PD course that Tabor is running. Seems relevant:
    There is speaking at others, there is not talking while you wait for your turn to speak again, and there is true dialogue. Henri J.M. Nouwen has observed, “Listening is much more than allowing another to talk while waiting for a chance to respond. Listening is paying full attention to others and welcoming them into our very beings. The beauty of listening is that, those who are listened to start feeling accepted, start taking their words more seriously and discovering their own true selves. Listening is a form of spiritual hospitality by which you invite strangers to become friends, to get to know their inner selves more fully, and even to dare to be silent with you.”

  3. I love that quote from Nouwen. I admit I’m not that good of a listener because I’m almost always thinking of my next response/comment.

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