I believe in the transformative power of conversation. My life is a testament to that power. I am the sum of my conversations.
But transformative conversations don’t just happen. Like any other skill it can be learned, but again, it takes practice.
The practice begins with seeking those who share your passions. Shared passion makes good conversation. Little or no passion makes small talk.
Ask questions that matter, and listen to the answers with your whole attention.
Trust the person you’re talking to, until they give you a good reason not to.
Reveal yourself to them.
Bring people with a shared passion together.
Learn how to share the conversational space.
Talk about your passion in the context of your faith. How do they inform each other? How do they inform the others in your group?
Allow those who think differently from you, whether about your passions or your faith, to deepen your perspective. Try to think and feel from within their skin. See the world through their eyes.
Wrestling with God is not enough. We need to hear what he says in the mouths of others. We need to wrestle with ideas in the context of the group, not to win an argument, but to gain understanding.
Wrestling turns to polishing. We gain perspective, understanding, and self-awareness. We are blessed by the conversation, and bless others in our turn. We grow rich with ideas, depth of perception, and positive emotional connectedness.
Gradually you find yourself transformed, not by a brutal hammer and chisel, but through the slow and gentle washing of water by the word of God – through the mouth of a friend.