I love having the opportunity to talk with large groups, small, or one on one. There is a catch in my love of this opportunity. Conversations are interesting when they are truth filled and important to at least one person in the conversation. With trust and engagement, there is an opportunity for passion, conviction, and power. In the right community, there is also a unique opportunity for dialogue, experienced based respect, and learning. It is an incredible combination that is, for me, compellingly attractive. Anything short of that, conversations with agendas, conversations to manipulate, or guilt-based conversations, are invitations I do my best to ignore.
Yesterday we held a town hall meeting at the office. As mayor, I was given the opportunity to speak. I found myself longing for more. I could imagine an open, transparent, New Hampshire like town hall meeting where questions and observations were freely exchanged. I could imagine where everyone gave witness to their experiences in a way that helped the community see beyond their horizons. I could imagine a community where everyone knew from the inside out that they were part of something greater than themselves. It is a wonderful dream that I am committed to seeing in reality.
My dream does not need to be my own. Each can, in their world, create an atmosphere where dialogue is openly encouraged and nurtured. The joy of spending time talking, wondering, and exploring is unique gift that we can give each other. We can make a difference to those around us in the time we have together. We can bring our convictions to the table with respect and curiosity for the other. We are part of a great family that shares great truths.
The dream starts with convictions. It continues with respect for others in the family. It finds life as each seeks to learn from the other. It starts with you and me.
“All Israel, then, know this: There's no longer room for doubt-God made him Master and Messiah, this Jesus whom you killed on a cross.” (Acts 2.35, 36)
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