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27: REUEL HOWE

Welcome to the 27th post in our Journey in Dialog. In this post I focus on what Reuel Howe said about dialog.[1] Howe was a theologian as well as the founder and director of the Institute of Advanced Pastoral Studies. His book, The Miracle of Dialogue, covers a wide range of reflections that might come under the umbrella of a theology of dialog.

These are his powerful words: “Dialogue is to love, what blood is to the body.” The miracle of dialogue, wrote Howe, is that it can restore a dead relationship. He
suggested that dialog renews vitality to relationships that were originally intended to be life sustaining. He goes ontological when he affirms that dialog (my spelling) brings us into our being.

Howe describes the kind of person whom he calls the “dialogical person.”

• That person is “a total authentic person.”
• That person is “an open person.”
• That person is “a disciplined person.”
• That person is “a related person.”

How would you assess yourself as a “dialogical person” according to Howe’s list?

In another list, Howe identifies changes produced by dialog.

• It forms the characteristics of the “dialogical person.”
• It can change the meaning of our experience.
• Life situations acquire new possibilities for us.
• In it is revealed the comprehensive, related character of truth

The bottom line for Howe seems to be that dialog energizes a reunion with our selves, with others, and with God.

In the previous 26 posts, we have explored many aspects of transformational dialog. Reflecting on Reuel Howe’s seminal work of more than 50 years ago, here are some questions to ponder.

1. How much do you practice what we call transformational dialog?
2. If you practice transformational dialog, what have you gained?
3. If you practice transformational dialog, what has this cost you?
4. If you practice transformational dialog, what have been the barriers?
5. If you practice transformational dialog, who have been your dialogical partners?
6. If you practice transformational dialog, to what extent has this been a spiritual experience for you?
7. If you practice transformational dialog, what has helped you most to do that?
8. In what ways would you be willing to initiate transformational dialog?
9. What hope do you have that transformational dialog might seriously impact the culture of the society in which we live?

© 2018 The Living Dialog™ Ministries

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[1] Reuel L. Howe, The Miracle of Dialogue, The Seabury Press