Conversation is Dead.

I won’t tell you his name because it is somewhat well known in the BLOGOSPHERE and it is also well known that he and I disagree on some issues. He’s my boss, but he’s also my friend. We were in Chicago recently for a sales seminar. We were sitting in a nice Italian restaurant. The wine was delicious, the food was phenomenal and we were having a great discussion where we were disagreeing. The conversation was “spirited” to say the least. At one point I called him Padawan more as a joke than anything else. I think I might have offended him on that one but other than that we enjoyed a great meal, with phenomenal wine and we had a great conversation to boot. It was a great time. We walked in as friends and we walked out as friends.
One of the things I most enjoy about my friendship with this man is the fact that we can have conversations where we push and prod each other’s ideas. It’s not personal. Many times it’s fun. Often we come to some sort of common ground. There are other times we simply come to agree to disagree. We’ve forged a friendship and the thing I appreciate about it is that it’s real, and it’s honest. We’ve both called each other up just to say, “Hey, what are you doing here.”
I’ve come to the realization that my friendship with him is rare. The truth is conversation is dead. It’s been killed in America, especially in the church. Don’t believe me? Just surf a few blogs. Someone posts something, someone asks some questions and there is a full blown fight. I’ve watched it happen in person more than once in real life, at school, at a coffee shop; all over.
Somehow we’ve moved as a society to the idea that if someone questions my ideas they’re questioning me. It’s become impolite to disagree. We’ve lost the skill of rhetoric in America because we’ve made it the cardinal sin to say, “I’m not sure I agree with that, what about ________?”
Now, I want to be clear here, I’m not saying I think anyone has the right to attack someone for their beliefs. That is the other side of this same coin. Too many people don’t know how to argue, they simply shriek when they discuss/debate. If it’s Christians–or people who claim to be Christians–they make wild claims about the person being apostate or not part of the true church. I’m not talking about the angry people who are just looking for a fight. I am talking about two or more people engaging in a conversation where differing views are presented and all are poked and prodded.
Somehow, we’ve gotten to the point where if you do more than look at someone, nod ascent and say something more than, “Oh I see, what you’re saying” you’ve crossed a line and have some sort of World Domination complex.
If you don’t believe me, bring up the election this year. I don’t think this death is recent, I’ve just been reminded of it recently, especially in the BLOG world. Heck, Go to the Santa post I have here and look at the exchange.
The question is why? Why is the new Cardinal sin that we can’t disagree with anyone? Why is it a “sin” to say something more than a nodded assent? I think the answer to the issue is probably a rather complex one, that can’t be adequately addressed in a short post but I’m gonna take a stab at it. Another day, for now, I want to know what you think. Do you agree with me is conversation dead?

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About Joe

I am a simple guy. I live in West Michigan and have a counseling business. I also do public speaking. I'd love to hear your story.

2 thoughts on “Conversation is Dead.

  1. Joe,

    I think you are very right. Everytime I have disagreed with someone on the ‘other’ side of my belief, my Christianity is automatically put into question by them.

    I have been called apostate, heretic, blasphemer, just to name a few.

    Thankfully, I don’t have to depend on other people for my salvation.

    Thank God for truth…and Jesus is His name.

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