We don't talk much. Or, rather, we talk a lot and not about much. But it's not even than. We talk a lot about meaningful things, but we talk past each other, around and about. What if we could focus on just one big idea? What if we made for ourselves a small oasis of time in which to swim around something deeply meaningful? What if we could really explore our beliefs and assumptions? Or, even better maybe, what if there was a way to approach big ideas together instead of musing about them on our own?
Thematic ministry is all the rage in liberal churches right now. Themes give us something to hold on to and explore together. But so many of us don't have—or want—a religious community. Deeply spiritual or firmly secular, many of us want to explore big ideas, ethics, philosophies, and perspectives outside the walls of a church or mosque. Even those of us who find ourselves completely at home in religious community still may find ourselves wishing for more connection among our fellow congregants. We long for tools to help us connect.
I've called this project Common Converse. The virtual "commons" of our online lives has so much potential for sharing and listening. And while conversation is wonderful, I prefer the action of a verb. I want to converse with people, to explore and adventure and spelunk through the thick and dangerous brambles of topics like justice and truth and compassion. I want to bravely encounter people who have different beliefs and experiences than I do and listen. I want these things because I want to really live here in this world with you. It's so easy to stay in our tunnels, in our glass houses, inside ourselves. I want more.
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