Thursday, May 17, 2007

good conversations

There are few things I like better than a good conversation. But this often seems so illusive. Of course I would have to define what "good conversation" means and then judge my definition by how others might define "good conversation", and most importantly how God, in view of God's Word/Scripture would define it.

I take "good conversation" to mean a talking back and forth between two or more people over matters of common interest. These common interests would be inclusive of any activity "under the sun" as well as anything pertaining to God and God's creation. It can include the sense of friendship, companionship and love in some sense.

Jesus drew people out into conversations and surely this was an aspect of him which others found attractive. From that Jesus shared his heart which was of course, the heart of God and with reference to the kingdom of God come in him.

For myself a good conversation can be about most anything. I like to get into theological conversations, though strictly speaking all of life I see as theological. I think good conversations promote mutual understanding and friendship.

Love for God and for neighbor should mark all conversations. This is why I often find myself uncomfortable if I think a conversation I'm around or engaged in is in some way undermining or violating this.

How would you define or describe a good conversation?

6 comments:

Sheila said...

Hi, Ted!

I didn't realize that you, too, have a blog. How do you do it? I am amazed at the blogging community. I seldom manage to keep up with my own husband's prolific postings, and the rest of y'all are reading them and writing them and leaving me in your dust.

I find it curious that you list no fiction on your favorite books list. Frankly, I find more inspiration in fiction than in most of today's popular Christian "self-help" books.

I am reminded of the quotation, "Just because something didn't happen doesn't mean it isn't true." Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings is an excellent case in point.

Recently I came across a story in which a biographer was not allowed by her editors to write the facts surrounding her character's death. Some wag noting the strangeness of the situation concluded, "I guess if you want to tell the truth these days, you've got to write fiction!"

Anyway, I said all that to say that I enjoy conversations about literature, about stories, about your stories and my stories and how they fit into the Great Story.

Every Square Inch said...

Good conversations should be marked with mutual respect and grace. I also find conversations where there is both listening and contributing.

I like conversations where we help sharpen each others point of view even if we're not always in agreement.

Ted Gossard said...

Hi Sheila, Glad you found this blog and left a comment! Thanks.

I dont' care for self-help books either and am relegated to theological books due to time constraints, though I do like to indulge in other books from time to time, especially like when I'm/we're at a bookstore.

I started "Lord of the Rings". Loved the film and I'm sure the book is better. Just never got far in it. Did read, "The Old Man and the Sea", Hemmingway, and I enjoyed that much. Am now reading Volf's "The End of Memory". I would do well to get into good fiction, I agree. I especially regret being weak at best in having read the classics.

But to bring those stories and our own stories into the Story of God in our thoughts and worked out more and more in our lives- yes!

Ted Gossard said...

ESI, Great points! "Jesus Creed" was a great model for me, and still is, of course. I relegate myself to blogs that have that tone of grace. And your point on interactivity is a good and important one. I'd like to get much better at bringing that out in blogging. But time and limitations are a factor though hopefully I can grow in that. See this posting of today at "Jesus Creed":

Alan Knox said...

Ted,

Good question... what is a good conversation? I would say a good conversation is one that stretches and matures and disciples. In a good conversation at least two people communicate with one another in order to understand each other.

-Alan

Ted Gossard said...

Alan, Agreed. I really like the give and take of conversation and really do not like much a monologue. Because I just think alot more things get through the former.

Of course to hear a gifted speaker or read a gifted author is still a blessing, regardless. Though I think the best of those somehow get their listener/reader engaged in thinking through the subject matter.