The choices of a lifetime
We spend our days making decisions large and small. It really does matter what choices we make hour by hour, for it is through our choices that the future comes into being.--Alice Camille
As we look over the social, political, and religious landscape, it is difficult for any of us not to have concerns that discernment--the act of pondering, weighing, and measuring to ensure wise choices--is becoming a lost art. In hopes that we can revive this ancient Christian practice, TrueQuest Communications commissioned award-winning author Alice Camille to help us explore how we decide what to decide and how to make decisions with intelligence faith, and confidence. Coincidentally, the world's bishops will be addressing this same question at their Synod this October in Rome.
In the coming months we are happy to share Alice's insights, excerpted below, which will originally appear in TrueQuest's Prepare the Word parish resource.
HOW CAN WE SAY that conversation is a lost art when people hold forth everywhere and no one appears at a loss for words? Well, chitchat isn’t conversation. Nor is blogging, with its counter-jabs and grandstanding rebuttals. Tweeting isn’t dialogue. All the misinterpreted e-mails and texts should be enough to convince us that, while words fly in all directions, they’re not exactly "smart" bombs.
Conversation is rooted in two Latin words meaning “to associate with” and “to turn around.” We gather in friendly dialogue to turn words around: first one speaking, then another, until the exchange of words turns US around. We should all expect to arrive at a new place in the end. That place will most definitely not be on opposite sides of a wall.
When Socrates taught his students to dialogue, he insisted one speak and the other listen. The listener could reply only after he (always he) repeated the first person’s position. The first speaker had to agree this was a faithful rendering of his ideas before the second person could advance the discussion. In this way, both listener and speaker remained attentive, respectful, and engaged.
Conversation, understood this way, is a truly moral activity. Most talkers simply want to have their say, to talk past whatever was just offered. We don’t engage others in search of truth; we blast one and all with “our” truth. What if we regarded each person, especially those with different perspectives, as a potential source of wisdom? What might we learn?
reprinted with permission from TrueQuest Communications
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