Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wild Words and Dandelions

By Belinda

The lawns in town, including ours, look like the face of a grizzled old man who hasn't shaved for several days. That's what the long stalked, gone-to-seed dandelions, reminded me of this morning! Yes, that is a suitably unkempt image.

But I was thinking of other things besides the wild lawns of Bond Head as I drove to work. I was thinking of conversations gone equally wild. 

You see, our cell group finally finished our study on the book,Holy Conversation and we almost missed an article tucked away, right at the back, almost as a little extra:Holy Conversation The Lost Art of Witness. Someone suggested we read it, and when we did, we spent the evening discussing it (if you're interested, you can find it by clicking the link.)

The article talked about the four factors of genuine conversation, quoting Australian lecturer in practical theology,Geoff Broughton.
The factors are: mutuality, reciprocity, openness and respect.

Richard Peace, the author of Holy Conversation, asks:
What might witness look like were it characterized by a mutuality that includes all partners in the conversation (over against monologue)? What might it look like if all the conversation partners were free to express their thoughts and experiences? What might it look like if there were an honesty that did not so much seek to present a party line as to share one's insights and experiences both positive and negative? What would witness be like if there were a profound respect for the uniqueness of each person's God given life experience?
The whole article was excellent, and I had been pondering it when someone else, in an unrelated conversation a few days later, said that a friend had asked if she had noticed that around our dinner table, allowing others to finish sentences is a rarity.  I immediately knew it was true. I realized that what I have considered animated conversation is often just bad manners and I am as boorish as they come when it comes to interrupting others or tuning out and focusing on my next opportunity to talk! It's something that I'm working on and this "hard truth" really hit home. How can we have a "holy conversation" if there is no space for people to complete a thought even in a simple conversation?

I feel as though God is enrolling me for a repeat of Kindergarten--"Conversation Kindergarten!" I need to learn all over again about taking turns. 

That verse in the Bible about our conversation being gracious and "seasoned,"  is what I need. I don't really mind going right back to the basics as a student of mannerly speech, if only God takes over my tongue!

Colossians 4:6

Amplified Bible (AMP)
Let your speech at all times be gracious (pleasant and winsome), seasoned [as it were] with salt, [so that you may never be at a loss] to know how you ought to answer anyone [who puts a question to you].


Anonymous said...

So true - we have lost the art of listening. In our busy world we often feel we have to get heard and quick - before something else rushes in the moment is gone. Not listening is a sign of disrespect. Why do you think so many pay so much at a shrink's? Just to have someone listen to them! As Christians I feel it is so important. It emphasizes others value to us and God. It shows we care how they think and feel. And we are to mirror Christ. Great reminder.

Belinda said...

Amen, friend. I am an offender, but (although this is NO excuse) it feels as though butting in is in self defense so often. I plan, with God's help, to practice a more genteel conversational style. Stay tuned. I'm not hopeful in myself, but have great hope in God!