Can We Change The Conversation?

In the March issue of the Kansas Electric Cooperatives magazine, while it devotes much of this issue to birding in our state, (a very good thing) to my surprise has an article addressing the problem of the negative conversations that occur about important political and cultural issues in our state and country. Tim Steffensmeier, an Associate Professor of Communication at K-State, believes that a more disciplined effort needs to be made to hear all voices, positive conversations change the world for the better and that hierarchies in communities need to grant authority to its citizens. This sounds like it came straight out of our Unitarian Universalist principles . Wow!

And then in the “Cook’s Library” a monthly column, Patsy Terrell writes about the need for people to tell the story of who they are with their whole heart. She observes that there are not many places in the world which encourage the authentic sharing that create real connections between people. Instead the consumerist, isolationist habits of our TV addicted culture promote hair extensions, face lifts, sports fixation, instead of real conversation.

Patsy laments the loss of the many ways we once had to connect with one another like community dances, barn raisings, coffee klatches, bringing a casserole to an ill friend…UUFM should send her some photos of the swing dance class, filled with rollicking dance  and community spirit, all the people helping to build more useable space for religious education, the numerous times in the week when UUFM friends gather for coffee or share something of real value with a Fellowship friend or member who ails…

Sometimes you find inspiration in the places you least expect. Lesson: Keep our eyes open!


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