Welcome to the first post of Journey in Dialog. I plan to post on 36 Thursdays what I think it means for people and groups to relate in dialog. Initially, I define dialog as: An exchange between people and groups in which meaning is shared and change occurs with each party of the dialog.
I draw on pioneers in the advocacy of dialog and on my own history with dialog. We will explore the meaning of dialog and how to do it. We will identify the barriers to the practice of dialog and suggest why dialog is worth the effort. The purpose of this Blog is to encourage the practice of dialog.
To begin with the end in mind, what if there is a way to:
- Stretch beyond cellphone and texting communication
- Stretch our levels of consciousness
- Build sustainable relationships
- Build koinonia, a sense of community
- Build bridges for conflict resolution
- Stimulate a larger intelligence with which to deal with heavy societal issues
- Experience communion in music
- Surface glimpses of God
- Experience a worldview that reflects God’s Shalom
My dictionary uses these words to define audacious: bold, daring, fearless, courageous, heroic, plucky, gutsy and venturesome. For me to claim that dialog is a way to reach the outcomes in the list above is audacious. But I make that claim, and this journey is my attempt to defend that claim. Stick with us for 36 weeks, and you might share this claim.
In college, a small group of seniors interested in political science hadn’t had time to take the courses so we asked a professor if he would meet with us to help us learn what we could about political science. He said “yes” and found other professors interested in joining us in what turned out to be a very open dialog.
There were no final authorities, no grades, and no dumb questions. We were to explore together. We found insights, even answers to questions that we might not have found in the classroom. I became a convert to dialog.
My assumption is that sustainable learning is a discovery process. What we read, what teachers tell us, and what we gain from available research are building blocks to learning. In that political science experience, because all of us, even the professors, listened to each other with open minds – we gained insights about that subject that stretched our thinking. Some of those insights influenced the way that some of us look at politics as we moved on in our respective careers.
Has your education included experiences like these? I hope that these examples are common in our educational system, and if they are, dialog can get an early start when we get “schooled.” If this is not the case, wouldn’t it be great if it was?
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