Recovering the Art of Conversation

“One generation will tell your works to another.”  Psalm 145

We are continuing to look at our third Rhythm of GRACE – Asking questions and telling stories. John McGinley, who came up with the idea of a rhythm of grace (great book here) describes this rhythm as recovering “the art of a loving conversation”. We do seem to have found ourselves in a world where there are many voices, emails, text messages that are issuing instructions: what to do, what to buy, how to live. There are far fewer that invite us into a conversation. I don’t know about you, but I find I am far more drawn to questions and stories than I am to instructions. 

Asking questions and telling stories is about learning to use empathy and curiosity to have loving conversations with one another and with those around us; as we build these kind of conversations we will find we develop close friends and we will see those friends drawn to Jesus. A few weeks back I encouraged you to find ways to immerse yourself in God’s story.  As we continue to do that, and also look to make good use of questions and stories in all our relationships, we will find that our ability to share God’s love with those around us will increase. 

Let’s think for a moment about asking questions. How do we learn to practice loving curiosity? For a while our approach to discipleship has been based on questions.  We ask one another “What is God saying and what am I going to do about it?”  When we gather round the bible lots of us use the Discovery Bible Study Questions to increase the impact of God’s story on our lives.  When we think about our own growth, or walking on a journey with people of peace we ask “What next Lord?”  We know a bit about how to ask questions to develop disciples. 

Practicing this rhythm starts with taking that same approach into all of our relationships and thinking of good questions that might open up conversation and friendship. It also means not asking a question and then rushing on to give an answer, but taking the time to listen, to pay attention to people, to learn what they are really saying. 

A great way to take a next step with this rhythm is to start asking God questions about people in your life. Did you start praying for five people during Thy Kingdom Come?  Why don’t you continue to pray for them and ask God:

“What do you love about this person?” 
“What are you wanting to do in this person’s life?”
“How can I serve this person Lord?”