Conversation

This has been a week of conversation for me. My friend Laurie started a conversation about the challenges of finding the right words, the right images, the right metaphors for understanding each other. It was in part a commentary on a conversation that started here about what worship would mean if we tried to think about it in words that don’t sound like church. There were, for me, three other conversations about these two, with Laurie, with Rob, and with Nancy, my wife with whom I’m getting 30 minutes of conversation (and exercise) every day.

Taking these mental conversations to a new level, Rick, on the partial other side of the world, thrilled my heart by suggesting talking about a relationship with God that’s a conversational relationship. I think that because the rest of my talking this week, that image immediately entered my daily language because it captures the personness of God, the interactiveness of God, the patience of God, and several other characteristics of God.

Conversation which is deep implies a number of things about relationship or community which are significant. It implies attentiveness, that the parties involved are alert to and focused on the other parties. It implies casualness about time and seriousness about people. It implies building upon and playing with ideas. It implies that each regards the other(s) as significant.

I know that we can have shallow conversations, the kinds that we often reserve for parties. But I have found that even at parties, as I choose to live with the above observations, I can have conversations that matter.

[Side note: last night I used that word ‘matter’ as both significance and substance (become matter). Thus, conversations can have significance and that can become tangible, have substance.]

May our interactions with each other at times rise to the level of conversation, and may our relationship with God deepen into a conversational one.

Make sense? Want to talk about it?

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3 responses to “Conversation

  1. Your side note about matter reminds me that i have been thinking a lot about the conversational nature of our relationship with God this week.

    I, today, was attempting to clear my head so that i could listen for God and having a really hard time silencing the voices. I found myself thinking about earlier this week when my first grader told me that pour and poor were homonyms. (I was proud of her for remembering such a concept because she struggles with attention issues in the big classroom setting.) But what I was thinking today was, “Are pour and poor really homonyms, or do we just mis-pronounce them? I’m pretty sure she didn’t mean pore”. All this, you recall when i was supposed to be trying to listen for a word from God.

    Well, i shook that thought off and gathered myself together and thought, “maybe i should read a sccripture to focus on God.” So i was looking up a word in the concordence to find a particular scripture when the word “pour” jumped out at me from the top of one of the pages. I glanced down at the phrase and thought, “that sounds good”, and turned to Psalm 62 which had about 10 different thing to say to me which were relevant and helpful for today.

    And I thought “how cool, even though i was struggling to converse with God, all the time he was conversing with me, i just had to listen. Actually, even when i didn’t listen, he kept speaking.

    God’s conversations with us are so creative. And each is uniquely crafted to suit our individual persnality, needs, and circumstances at any given moment.

    He who has ears, let him hear.

  2. I like the phrase “casualness about time.” It suggests that we don’t wait for the so-called perfect moment to talk, when all is serene and clean and well-fed and nicely-dressed. We talk anytime, anywhere. AND it suggests that we don’t worry about how much time we’re spending talking. If the conversation is deep, who would want to set a timer or watch the clock? Who would even think about it?

  3. Hello Mister.

    The very best listeners in my life have reminded me of what I hope God is. You know me. I can blather with the best of them, and I’m sometimes not polite enough to give equal air (though I struggle with this cross often).

    I imagine God is the best at conversation there ever was.

    (But He’s not a rhetorist).