Thursday, February 14, 2008

It's good to talk!

It may be true - I may be obsessed - but I can't help but want to say something about the need for churches to develop a culture of conversation. Not only conversation about people's welfare, how they're feeling, important pastoral conversations which are about sharing our love with each other. But also a different kind of conversation: about the faith we share, the different ways in which we express it, the questions we have, the hopes we have, the sense of good news we want to share with others. Churches need to grow in the confidence to talk about these things - not forcing everyone to speak, but certainly encouraging people to believe their humblest ideas are worth hearing; not so that we all reach the same conclusions, but so that we grow through conversation with different views, being challenged by different insights - but why? Partly because the world around us doesn't really know what we're about, but also because this deeper kind of conversation should help us to do things differently, with a greater sense of purpose: because if our good news comes more to the surface, if we become more conscious of our faith, we might start to act with greater purpose, and people might see something distinctive, and wonder why. But on the other hand, I won't go on about it too much! - because the small steps in confidence and conversation that have already been made are still signs of change ... Amen.