Big talk

2 Jun

I recently wrote a Bible study on Deuteronomy 27-30 for my church cell group, and wrestled with clarifying what sometimes felt like a tangled series of round-robin arguments. The point reiterated is simply this: A heart purified by God is what helps us fulfill the seemingly impossible task of obeying him.

I admit that I’ve grown so used to having a continuous stream of decisions to make that I’d forgotten the calmness and clarity that comes from seeking God first. It’s the most obvious yet elusive formula of all.

I’m coming back to the half-forgotten mission God placed in my hands when at UVA – watch out for the quiet ones. Busyness has made me ostrich-style selfish. Small talk is the norm now, even with the ones who deserve big talk. Here are a few thoughts about genuine conversation:

1. Talk about each other instead of other people. It’s bad form to speak poorly about others behind their backs. So we might defend others behind their backs instead. E.g. In defense of someone who doesn’t turn up for an event because he/she is evidently afraid of how potentially awkward it could be, I might say: “But Ian has never attended a wake; he wouldn’t necessarily see one as an opportunity to meet up with old friends.” The speaker and listener can bond over shared experience. But if you’re in conversation with someone you know well, skirting the topic of each other’s lives is probably not a good sign.

2. Talk to someone you know instead of someone you’ve never met. It’s fun to talk to someone new when mingling; you can be genuinely interested without probing too much. It reflects well on you since you are willing to step out of your comfort zone. This is easy because you don’t have to talk about anything important. You don’t have to soldier on if you come upon a delicate topic – the polite thing to do would be to, of course, tactfully brush it aside. That’s what I still do, sometimes, even with good friends, when persevering would have been the more compassionate and courageous option.


One Response to “Big talk”

  1. mamz June 5, 2010 at 6:17 am #

    Btw I love the blog’s layout! Random. Hi 🙂

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