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Omaha, Nebraska, United States
I am more and more convinced that most congregations die from a staggering lack of imagination. Let's change that. Let's imagine a creative future with God and each other together. Drop me a line on email or leave a comment if you have thoughts on God, Jesus, congregations, the church or whatever.... I look forward to our conversations.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Who do you have conversations with in a day?

Because of my job, status, power, and personal choice, I pretty much get to have conversations with people I WANT to have conversations with over the course of a normal day. (There is one exception to this, and I'll get to it shortly.) My colleagues, staff, family, and friends pretty much know what I do. They respect my space, and I thank God every day for the wonderful people I have in my life.

I also don't mind being alone. For example, I am alone in my office right now, listening to a gentle morning rain as the city of Omaha awakes from another night. There's the constant sound of birds and tires on wet pavement, but I am alone. Gardening is a bit of a solitary endeavor. (We saw a snake this year, so they wave at me from the house.) And I like to explore. And if you've been exploring with me, know how that usually ends...

I always love to see how my colleagues and staff will approach me. I have an open door policy, so people have to learn some new behaviors sometimes. Some will just come right in. "Scott, what are we going to do about...?" Others; linger by the doorway in hopes that I'll see them and invite them in. They truly don't want to intrude. Still others just kind of knock, and ask if this is a "good time?" That's a close as I come to unscheduled conversations in the course of a normal day. I get to choose who I talk to most of the time.

And, because of who I am, we often talk about what I want to talk about. If not the topic, then certainly the way we will approach the topic. (This is does not always happen, as I am married, and have children; plus, I do want to listen to see how I can help. But I am never shy about asking the first question.) So most days I talk about the things I want to talk about with the people I want to talk about them with. Whether it's my mom, my wife, my colleagues, or even my neighbors, I have the privilege to talk with whomever I desire.

Except Sundays. I never know who is going to stop me on a Sunday for a conversation, much less what we are going to talk about. And I enjoy that. On Sundays. I enjoy getting to hear the stories that animate the lives of people. I enjoy sharing in the celebrations, and I am honored to share in the griefs and struggles. I love seeing how God is at play and work in the lives of people.

I understand that a lot of people do not get to choose who they will have conversations with during the course of a normal day. Especially if you work retail... I also understand that many people don't want many (or any!) conversations during the course of a normal day. I'm OK with that, but that's not my reality.

So I try to have as much variety in my conversations over the course of a day as possible. People of different color, women, different ages, different economic classes (always have a lunch meeting with someone wealthier than you--standard rule.) However it works out, I want to be able to look back on the day, and remember wonderful, intelligent, and hopeful conversations from lots of different kinds of folks.

Who do you talk to in a day? Do you get much say in who or when or where you have conversations? Do you like "talking?" (My daughter calls it her "hobby.") Well, out here on the prairie there is plenty of time and space to be alone, but when you do talk, who are you talking with?

Funny thing about this Christian faith I live, I follow a guy who talked a lot, and who had a lot of his talks written down. But even with all that was written down, there ain't enough words to fill up a person's life. I wonder who Jesus talked with when he wasn't praying to his Father, when he wasn't teaching his friends? No matter how much talk, silence is a constant friend.

May your tables be full, and your conversations be true.

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