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Invitation to Dialogue

Dear Kaleid Ladies,

Good morning! How are you today? We hope that the back-to-school routines in your home are going well as you get into new fall rhythms. We are looking forward to some new things at Kaleid, too!

We would relish seeing your face at any of our four upcoming Circles! Last week we talked about the beauty of presence and shared about our three-week free Contemplative Circle. Today we’re framing another of our fall offerings (Power, Patriarchy, Women, and the Church) with some thoughts on dialogue, hoping that it is an art we can practice together, even when the world seems to relish debating instead.

Consider this by author David Benner:

In relation to discussion and debate, dialogue is more about exploring than proving, more about discovery than making points. In dialogue, knowledge is employed as a gift, while in debate it is used as a weapon.”

The cultural issues of the last 18 months have been relentless. At first, many of us found ourselves reacting to problems of viruses and election confusion and racial tensions with the energy of resolve. Adrenaline was our friend, and we were ready to wrangle…be it with disease, disinformation, or distorted human systems.


But now when we read headlines or see posts about these issues, our fight is gone. All that remains is the resentful pit of “not again” left in our stomachs. Knowledge has been weaponized, debate has hardened us, and we sense our powerlessness in the face of currents in our world that trouble our homes and families.

At Kaleid, we believe that the big, urgent issues in our world all come back to real people’s real lives. And so we want to learn to understand the issues and love the people.


But we need to move from debate to dialogue.


Urgency generates a fight, flight, or freeze response in our bodies. We mobilize to own our “side” and react with sharp debate skills, or we run away and pretend the perceived threat is not there. Debate becomes a weapon that we wield from the self-righteous heights of jumped-to conclusions. Or, debate becomes a weapon that we hide from when others wield it.

Dialogue, however, begins when we take time, slow down, and discover to better understand. Opening ourselves up to learning, to discernment, and to an examination of our own stories regarding the “issues” at hand allows our adrenaline to diminish so that wisdom and humility can take root. Only then we can have dialogue. We can share and receive knowledge as a gift at the humble table of thoughtful considerations.

We believe that loving well means learning to respond in dialogue rather than react with debate.

And so, we are tackling an issue that is ripe for debate: power, patriarchy, women, and the church. That’s a mouthful, but it’s a ball of wax that goes together and so we are considering it with all the complexity. This circle is not about taking a side or making a stand. Rather, it’s about learning to dialogue as we listen, discern, and seek wisdom about the interplay of these forces in our world and in our evangelical spaces today.

This four session, in-person circle will begin with a consideration of power. What does it look like to recognize and inhabit personal and corporate spaces with a view toward power as God desires it to function? We will consider this type of power and, from that consideration, we will read or listen to a few hot-takes on the topic: Jesus and John Wayne, The Making of Biblical Womanhood, and The Rise and Fall of Mars Hill.

We hope you’ll consider joining us. We hope you’ll take advantage of the gift of time to step out of the adrenaline-induced crossfire so that you can listen, discover, consider, discern and, ultimately, to be able to possess and share your knowledge as a gift, in dialogue with others.

Have a fantastic week! We hope that you find space to sit across a table from a friend and dialogue – to explore with one another, sharing and receiving one another’s precious gifts of discovery and knowledge.

Gratefully,

The Kaleid Team

P.S. Because David Benner’s passage on dialogue is so good, we couldn’t resist sharing this quote with you too: “Many people are so mistrustful of other beliefs…and so certain of their own grasp on truth that they are incapable of any forms of interpersonal engagement other than argument or proselytization. They fear encountering another person in the mystery of his or her life because they unconsciously recognize that doing so might bring them into contact with the mystery of their own. Meeting someone in dialogue always involves at least a temporary suspension of our presuppositions about ourselves and the world.



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