6.3 It’s Not Good To Be Alone: Converse & Learn.

This is post #19 of a series entitled Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace. We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here you’ll find very practical and biblically-sound advice on building bridges instead of walls, offering hope instead of despair. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.


Click on the link below to listen to the podcast version of this blog!

Truth #6:         Peacemakers Read/Pray/Converse & Learn.

Today’s Lectio Divina: How wonderful, how beautiful, when brothers and sisters get along! It’s like costly anointing oil flowing down head and beard, flowing down Aaron’s beard, flowing down the collar of his priestly robes. It’s like the dew on Mount Hermon flowing down the slopes of Zion. Yes, that’s where God commands the blessing, ordains eternal life. Psalm 133 (MsgB)


This week, we’re attempting to get very practical with you as we continue our journey toward becoming peacemakers for the cause of Christ. Thus far, we’ve explored two important steps:

Reading the Writings of Others

Praying with Others

Today. I’d like to discuss with you the importance of:

Conversing & Learning from Others.

In other words, it’s time to re-learn the fine art of conversation.

I have a very good friend, Dave Anderson, church planter extraordinaire in Milwaukee, who believes with all his heart that his job as a Christ-follower is to simply hit the streets of Milwaukee and engage people he meets by simply inviting them into conversation. As a matter of fact, he and his wife Rebecca, both spiritual directors trained with our organization, Sustainable Faith, own a big orange sofa they call their Conversation Couch. On regular occasions whenever the weather permits, Dave & Rebecca lug their couch to a city park near their inner-city Milwaukee home, plunk it down in the grass, and put up a sign on an easel that reads ”FREE CONVERSATION.”

It’s been amazing how many curious people have stopped by and sat with Dave or Rebecca, engaging in any subject the person desires. Oh yes, many times the people they meet use the Conversation Couch as a soapbox or a complaint center, but as they see it, that’s the point.


*This is the tenth in a variety of practical suggestions/resources we will make throughout this blog/podcast series. We call these exercises:

PUTTING ON YOUR PEACEMAKER TOOLBELT.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 9 (NIV)

Tool #10: Reclaiming Conversation: An Interview with Sherry Turkle.

In our busy, run-by-the-seat-of-your-pants society, the fine art of conversation is dying faster than landline phones. In her book, Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in a Digital Age, media scholar Sherry Turkle investigates how our society’s flight from face-to-face conversation, replacing it with fast-paced digital communication, undermines our relationships, creativity, and productivity.

Take a look at this insightful YouTube interview where Turkle addresses both the problem and gives us the good news: Conversation cures.


What I love about my friends’ Conversation Couch in Milwaukee is that it gives folks an opportunity to step out of our digital age for a few minutes and simply engage face-to-face with another human being. Now, you might be thinking, how do these friends of yours prompt a conversation with a complete stranger? Well, believe it or not, it all begins by simply being curious.

My pastoral coach, Dave Jacobs, once challenged me, “Marty, pastors are always telling and selling! I wonder what might happen if you chose to shut up long enough to just let people talk?” Dave went on to suggest to me that I might become more of a contemplative pastor, one who works the fine art of conversation by doing two things:

  • Learn to ask people great questions. In other words, go slow, taking time to craft a good open-ended question, one that simply can’t be answered with a yes or no.
  • Learn to be still and listen. Once I ask an inviting open-ended question, I’m learning to shut up and listen carefully to the person’s answer. And by that I mean, really listen, not trying to figure out what my response will be, or the next question I will ask.

My friends in Milwaukee, as spiritual directors, have assembled a short list of great questions that usually stir people into meaningful conversation.


*This is the eleventh in a variety of practical suggestions/resources we will make throughout this blog/podcast series. We call these exercises:

PUTTING ON YOUR PEACEMAKER TOOLBELT.

Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you. Philippians 4: 9 (NIV)

Tool #11: Great Questions to Stir a Meaningful Conversation.

Author Andrea Balt, offers a list of 30 questions to ask yourself before you die. Here are just a handful from that list that you might find helpful when engaging others in conversation.

What do you love doing that you aren’t doing? Furthermore, how could you get paid for doing what you love? Let’s brainstorm. It’s your right to be alive every second of the day. You’re not supposed to spend eight hours in chains and the remaining four getting high on mental and physical distraction to cope with the depression of not doing what you should, what you want, what you need to be doing.

If you had to add something to humanity, what would your contribution be? List at least one thing. The world doesn’t owe you. You owe the world. The good news is that whatever the answer to this question, you’ll enjoy doing it.

What are your favorite memories? Can you picture four or five instances in your childhood you are fond of? What’s the common denominator that lies at the core of them? There is usually only one or two life-altering statements that come up when you dig. How can you transform your current experiences so they begin with that same idea?

Who do you love the most? What 10 people would you put on a lifeboat in case of a universal tsunami, asteroid or any other realistic end-of-the-world event? Make a list. You can have a million friends on Facebook, but at the end of the day, you’re lucky if you can find 10 people you would die for and who would die for you.

What worries you the most? Worry comes from fear. And most fear is imaginary. So what are you worried about?

What type of people inspire you and make you come alive? What people at this point in your life add to the truest equation of you? Aliveness is the one virus you always need to catch.

How can you express yourself creatively? Starting with the belief that we are all creative animals by nature, what’s your medium? Art of any kind speaks directly to the heart. It doesn’t go through reason. You need to speak Art if you want to understand Heart.

If you were to leave the world today, what is your manifesto? What would you tell your children if you were forced to abandon them unexpectedly?

What feeds your spirit? What gives you goosebumps? What makes you fall down to your knees in awe? Is it God? Religion? The universe? Science? Starry nights? Music? Art? Animals? Whatever it is, it should surpass your understanding — there is no awe without mystery.


In closing, know that God is ready to bless even your smallest efforts in restoring the fine art of conversation in your circle of influence. As my friends Dave and Rebecca remind me, this isn’t rocket science, but simply a desire on our part to break down those walls of isolation that keep all of us from being fully human, fully alive.

Now, go out today my friend, and spark a real face-to-face conversation, for the greater glory of God!

My Prayer: Father God, I truly believe that conversation cures. It’s only when You and I can talk with one another when religion transitions into relationship. So it is with my human connections. Holy Spirit, give me a hunger for restoring face-to-face conversations in my life. As a peacemaker for the cause of Christ, empower me to break through the isolation and loneliness, taking the lead in building meaningful conversations. For Your Name’s sake. Amen.

A Few Questions to Ponder: So, where in my circle of influence can I start to develop meaningful face-to-face conversations? What creative ideas can I use in breaking down the defenses of so many, giving people an opportunity to be heard, to be loved, to be listened to?

So, how are you experiencing God’s presence as you are becoming a peacemaker for the cause of Christ?


Peacemakers for the Cause of Christ – Facilitators of God’s Peace in a World Looking for Peace.

We hope you’ll enjoy these 31 podcasts and blogs that focus on our great need in today’s society for peacemakers; men, women, and children who are willing to step away from all the contempt, division, and hatred, and step in toward the blessed call of being Christ-centered peacemakers for the greater glory of God. Here’s the homepage for the entire series.

If you like what you’re reading, might we suggest you share this page with others!

Click here to go on to the next blog/podcast in this series…

1 thought on “6.3 It’s Not Good To Be Alone: Converse & Learn.

  1. Pingback: 6.2 It’s Not Good To Be Alone: Praying with Others. | The Contemplative Activist (TCA)

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