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The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Friday, January 29, 2010

Conversation

Yesterday I talked about our need to develop our collective imaginations if we’re going to be successful in meeting our goals--in fact, if we’re going to be successful in even creating our goals. Maybe it’s an area to think about building our skill.

We’re part of a culture that believes in and values education. From its beginnings the church established schools, including real intensive education of priesthood and leaders. We look at our history and note with pride such things as School of the Prophets, School of the Restoration, Temple School. We take tours of Kirtland Temple and point out the classrooms.

But I propose that we need to shift the attitude we moderns have about training, education and development. Too many of the requests that come to me as a Development Focus Minister (one of the hats I wear) are for me or some other knowledgeable person to come and talk. The assumption is that we’ll come and preach or lecture or give some information not known before. And the expectation is that the person who comes will have answers to whatever questions might be asked. In fact, the expectation might even be that they will also know what the questions are, because folks in the “audience” don’t want to ask them!

You may be getting tired of the word dialogue. But this is the way of the future. It’s the way we’re operating right now. For example, Mike Hewitt, CEM’s CFO and Bishop, is in the midst of a three-week long conversation in the Guelph congregation about Enduring Principles, Basic Beliefs, Counsel to the Church. All are welcome; Sunday nights from 7 o’clock to whenever. Two more sessions are announced for January 31 and February 7. What they’ll be doing is having a conversation about those things, and other items that come up. Folks who come along will be expected to participate, to ask questions and offer ideas. They don’t have to bring answers; they do need to bring a willingness to engage in the conversation.

Delegates to World Conference have already received notice that there will be lots more non-legislative dialogue sessions at the 2010 conference. We’re lucky in CEM to have had some practice with this at our Mission Conferences and cluster gatherings. But we still need to build up our dialogue skills. You can do this be being intentional and aware as you talk about things together in your congregation and in your small groups.

I’d be happy to report other places this kind of conversation practice is going on; I know it is. Let us hear from you.

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