Conversation in Community

Since I’m admitting that I bought and devoured The Art of Civilized Conversation (which is a great read), you’ll know that making small talk isn’t one of my gifts.  Writing is my preferred mode of communication and until it’s socially acceptable to craft dialogue on index cards at a party, I would rather listen than speak.

When people get together, any number of things can be the center of conversation.  I would be the sort to refer to the weather.  One’s kids are sometimes a go-to topic while some venture into the realm of politics and foreign affairs.

FineLine

Often, I find myself talking about other people if there’s nothing else to be said.  “I saw on Facebook that George and Georgina went out to dinner last night.” or “Have you heard from Kelsey lately?”  I ask questions, sometimes idly, sometimes pryingly, to keep conversations going.  But, there’s a very fine line between facts and gossip – and most of the time, whether I intend to or not, I cross it.

I’m cautious not to malign my husband or family members, but I don’t always take the same precautions with other people.  My questions and topic choices don’t always encourage people to speak kindly of others, either.

In a gathering, especially of believers, our topics of conversation speak louder than we know.  If our lives are supposed to reflect God’s light, then Christ-followers in community should be positively glow-in-the-dark!

Psalm 111.1

Christian Community

Community exists to bring praise to God, more specifically, so that the good works of God will be proclaimed and remembered.  That verse in Psalms (above) was particularly poignant to me because it speaks specifically about Christian community.

Praise should be spilling forth amidst the upright and the congregation.  I’d like to roll my eyes and say, “well, obviously Christians would be praising God when they get together and when they’re at church,” but I know from my own example that we don’t always infuse conversations with praiseworthy topics.

Community is the perfect venue for proclaiming God’s work in our lives. Psalm 111 goes on to say, “the works of the Lord are great.  He has made His wonderful works to be remembered” (v.2,4). When we are in a group, we have a choice to gratify our lust for unnecessary details in other people’s lives, or to glorify God by remembering and praising Him.

Psalm 111.2,4

A consistent trait in the people I admire is an ability to infuse God into every conversation. It’s not annoying or obtrusive; it’s genuine, flowing from an honest heart and an authentic relationship with God.

I leave encounters with these people feeling encouraged – excited about what God is doing in their life and motivated in my own journey.  Should that not be the goal of every conversation?

My prayer: Lord, let my words be seasoned with love, joy, gratitude, and honesty.  May my contributions to conversations be what is praiseworthy and pointing towards You.  Help me to remember the wonderful works You have done in my life and share them with others.

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for He who promised is faithful; and let us consider how to stimulate one another to love and good deeds, not forsaking our own assembling together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another; and all the more as you see the day drawing near.  {Hebrews 10:23-25}

Community Series

 

 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Conversation in Community

  1. Emily, This is so important… being used as an instrument to encourage and cause unity, rather than division and trouble. I often pray Psalm 19:14 for God’s help in this area. “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Thanks for the great reminder today, Em. May God bless you richly as you use your gifts to honor Him and challenge others toward spiritual growth and obedient living.

  2. “A consistent trait in the people I admire is an ability to infuse God into every conversation. It’s not annoying or obtrusive; it’s genuine, flowing from an honest heart and an authentic relationship with God.”

    ~This is something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately as well. I usually feel awkward when I try to steer the conversation that way- but I’m realizing it’s because I’m not letting God reign in every area of my life. I’m trying to put him into little boxes!

    1. I struggle with bringing God into the conversation as well. Generally, I fear being pushy or eye-rolling with both Christians and non-Christians. However, I keep thinking of Romans 1:16 – “I am not ashamed of the Gospel…” My conversations don’t always reflect my belief in that verse.

  3. Emily – Great thoughts about community. I often find myself conversation challenged. I will check out the book that you recommended, The Art of
    Civilized Conversation.

    P.S. I pinned your butter heart on pinterest.

    1. Thanks for the pin, Brenda! If you do pick up a copy of The Art of Civilized Conversation, I would love to hear your thoughts.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s