Some years bring more change than others. This one brought significant change to my life and church community as you might have seen when you read this weekly email from us this past Spring.
On any given Sunday, in our church parking lot, you see pickup trucks with “Make America Great Again” bumper stickers right alongside electric cars with “Coexist” bumper stickers. In our church, if you say the wrong thing from the pulpit you can alienate half of our congregation!
And even if you say the right thing in the wrong way you can find yourself caught in the middle of the fray instead of being an agent of peace.
Living Room Conversations has helped us say the right thing to each other–the truthful things we longed to say–in the right way.
On a monthly basis we invite each member of our congregation to participate in a Living Room Conversation around tables of six or seven people. We keep to the Conversation Agreements and give each other the space to speak and listen without debate.
We have found that we do have shared values! We are able to dialog, even on dicey topics, with respect and consideration for each other. Instead of avoiding we are learning to engage. Instead of attacking we are learning to listen. Instead of focusing on opinions, we are learning to share from our experiences and tell meaningful stories.
Several participants tell me they are using the Living Room Conversations style and Agreements in other areas of their lives: Boise teachers are using it in their classrooms, Boise parents are using it around the dinner table, and friends are using it with their friends and neighbors. This is exactly the vision of Living Room Conversations and what your gift this holiday season can support.
On a personal note: I work as a hospice chaplain. I have found myself becoming a much better listener to both my patients and their families because of Living Room Conversations.
How has Living Room Conversations impacted your life and your community this year? What change would you like to help make happen this coming year? Please write me back and tell me.
In closing, I hope you will decide to invest in Living Room Conversations, with your participation, and with your change. You can make a gift here, online or by check.