August 1, 2014

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Ministry in a Culture of Disengagement

My daughter Kate and I met my friend Angela Cowser in Nashville the other day. We went to a Chinese buffet and then, to extend our visit, walked for an hour around an outdoor track. Neither Kate nor I wore shoes ideal for walking on a cinder-covered surface, but the fellowship was too important for us to care about foot-discomfort.

Perhaps ironically, at Angela's initiative the topic that had launched the evening's discussion was the decline of meaningful conversation. By "meaningful conversation" Angela meant dialogue characterized by mutual attentiveness, openness, and respect. She meant interchanges that move participants incrementally toward a deepened understanding of themselves, one another, and the world. We discussed reasons why people don't talk as much as they used to, and noted that when conversations do occur they often are superficial and distracted.