I love a good conversation, don’t you? By this I mean a conversation which doesn’t have only one objective, and rather one in which you have freed yourself up to share what’s going on and to ask questions of another(s) in the conversation and see where those questions lead. Time really isn’t an issue, in fact in a good conversation you might even lose track of time because you are so engaged in the topic.
I remember feeling this way a couple years ago when conducting interviews for my thesis. I remember meeting with Jill Schumann, then President and CEO of Lutheran Services in America (LSA). I think we had both planned for maybe a 45 minute conversation, and before we knew it we had been talking for two hours. These are the conversations I am talking about. They are ones that spark ideas, creativity, and provide great energy.
This past week has been full of them. There has almost been an over abundance of wonderful conversations, what a blessing that is! Talking with Allison about dreams and passions is always a joy, but getting to share that conversation with others and then hearing their stories, is fantastic.
We had a two hour conversation with Kim Pleticha over a late lunch on Wednesday. This was both a work related conversation, but also a conversation about ideas about congregations and ministry in general. Thursday we had an afternoon coffee conversation with friend and Pastor Alison Shane. That turned into a three hour conversation about family, jobs, and theorizing about communities, faith and congregations in the Pacific Northwest.
If that’s not enough, the past week has afforded multiple opportunities to have multiple hour long conversations with friends (and fellow seminarians). Hearing excitement and stories about their upcoming ordinations provides great hope and energy, and I really hope that we can be there to support them at their ordinations if possible. Also, being able to see and hear some of their thesis presentations in person and on-line has been thought-provoking and exciting as well.
There has also been more conversations leading to potential blogging topics and opportunities, as well as great conversations that may lead to more consulting and project opportunities. Add in the stewardship team that I am volunteering as part of, and this past week has been filled to the brim with wonderful thought provoking questions and and energizing conversation.
Who knows where any, if any, of these conversations might lead? But I think the presence of these conversations and these experiences speak to community. For me, community is grounded not only in a sense of being able to gather together (for some reason or another) but also, and perhaps more importantly, around a shared experience, connection, or question(s). I think this is also reflective of the connection piece which I touched on in sharing thoughts about millennial leadership this past week. (Another example of community and conversation is also the MIDTOWN Church “rule of two feet.” If a conversation isn’t exciting or energizing, you have two feet which you can use to walk and find a conversation that is more life-giving.)
What do you think? Do conversations energize you? What’s the most energizing and fulfilling conversation that you have had recently? If you think about it, perhaps that conversation might also shed some light on what you are passionate about or what your vocation(s) might be?
I think that is why these conversations have been so energizing for me. They have all involved things I care about, but also have all helped ponder questions which others are wrestling with. As much as I love wrestling with questions, I also love helping others wrestle with their own questions too.
Image Credit: Mallard Conversation