Conversation Like Ships in the Night

Does each and every slant, lean or concept of the emerging/emergent movement line up with the Bible or long-respected Christian tradition? Of course not.

There are traditions, some long-held, we largely now find to be less core to solid biblical exegesis than formerly thought.

There was a time few Protestants thought dancing was kosher, ditto playing cards, seeing a movie, that sort of thing.

In my view one of the very best values of the emerging church movement is a foundational concept of "the conversation".

Several in our Christian community discovered a powerful phrase some years ago in a book on conflict resolution where the author rightly stated: "the conversation IS the relationship."

My conclusion over many years of stumbling around trying to communicate and receive communication from others in all and any mode is that at times we don't really want a relationship, rather, we want to win an argument!

It's not a mutual-respect thing at times -nor even close to trying to figure out if there is good reason TO respect one another. Sometimes it boils down to control and domination, and the justification of MY attitude as being the correct one, period.

At times it indeed gets ridiculous, becomes about my or the other party's win or lose a stake in something we deem important. Sometimes it's only about winning or losing an argument- a sort of debate-team situation where either or both of us try to score points.

As most reading this realize, the end of such discussions is often worse than the beginning. We begin to just blow the other person off considering them warped, ignorant, or just irrelevant and not worthy of having a conversation with.

Arrogance? Pride? Fear? Insecurity? Some or all of the above? Information or theory without real fact and practice to back it up? Plenty of experience but merely in one's own province where a number of the points simply don't apply to the other's actual situation?

There are many varied reasons why communication breaks down and the people involved split apart, especially in the more extreme and passionate "no-compromise" issues of life.

Sometimes separation is best for one or both.

Then again, no communication, no relationship.

How can I, via my Lord's command love my "neighbor as" myself when I don't value any sort of communication with the person?

Trust me, I'm hearing all the possible exits in my head even as I write but in the end it's about love and respect because God loves and tells us to treat others with both.

Is everyone "due" respect, honor and agreement? No. Including me. Including you. Sometimes…

But what a different church and world it would be (and will be for the redeemed one day, thank God!) if we worked harder at gracious communication.

I have often been the king of "in-your-face" and admit it can really be difficult to NOT simply "talk over" and eventually just write someone off, just consider them unworthy of a chat about much of anything.

But I am not convinced that is the way of Christ!

Finally, when discussing matters of deep concern to you or I, we often aren't even slightly open to listen to another viewpoint.

I am a Bible-centric, church-history-centric, human-history loving person who loves to research and find factual, verifiable information that lands rock solid in the middle of my personal views.

That does not mean I know all, understand all, far less that I can at every moment in life properly communicate by both listening and reasoning and with humility, give-and-take.

We must all admit sometimes our conversations are rather "one-way", me-to-you and more of a preach than an exchange or dialogue.

I have recently gotten some of this from others and realized the core issues I raised were not going to be addressed. That is, a position was taken, ultimatums and dictims (and dogma) were simply stated and my words and the other's words passed one another, rarely if ever engaged together.

Well, I tried to point out a few places where I agreed… but the other individual was, it seems, disinterested in anything of the sort. So it was a bit like having a conversation in a mirror where there is no actual connection being made one with the other.

And I wonder how many ersatz "conversations…" like this take place, in particular among Christians who have the same heavenly Father and will share eternity together?

God help us… and begin please with maturing me!!

And- thanks for stopping by 🙂 -Glenn

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