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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Envision the Gospel - Conversation

Relationship is founded on conversation. The act of sharing words is at once simple, and yet incredibly complex. Words communicate ideas and those ideas spring from thoughts and those thoughts come from the core of who we are. Though it’s a long and winding road from the depth of our soul to the words we share, there is a connection that can’t be denied.

Those moments when a conversation turns from playful sharing into deep hurt or from thoughtful reflection into belly-shaking laughter can happen in an instant. The sudden transformation isn’t due to the surface of the words, but the underlying connection to our deep selves, our hearts. That’s also why conversion is such a poor tack to take. The words of conversion may be completely rational, but they are not traveling a course of reason. Not at the end, at least. The terminus of the word-journey is deep in the heart. So, dangerous words are kept out. Otherwise it could hurt too much. There is a wall that prevents suspect words from traveling the path into the depths of us. Conversion words are deflected, rejected and denied. Those words that say our hearts are wrong and our walls are misplaced can’t be allowed inside. It’s too vulnerable, too risky.

But in conversation there is no sense of attack in the words. The words aren’t unsafe when they are in the context of relationship. You aren’t challenging my core beliefs, you’re just telling me about yourself. I’m not questioning your worldview, I’m just sharing my experiences. I admit that you might be right and you admit that I might be right too. Our words and thoughts are up for negotiation in the context of our relationship.
I’m fond of saying that the good news must be both good and news. In order to be good it must be better than the alternatives. We have to be showing lives that are significantly different and better than lives without Jesus. Good news must also be news. If it’s not noteworthy, then it’s not worth talking about. If we could do the same thing by the simple exercise of willpower, then there is really no news to tell. But if the only explanation for the difference is that the Spirit is within us and empowering us, then that’s truly news that’s good. Add to that that good news can’t be shared outside the context of relationship. If I’m just reporting facts to you, then it’s not something that is terribly good, and if you don’t know who I am, it’s not really news to you. But, if you know my story through conversation and if you care about who I am because of our relationship, then then it’s news that’s good.

How can you be a good news presence with your conversation?

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