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The Magazine of The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America

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Why Can't We Talk?

Christian Wisdom on Dialogue as a Habit of the Heart

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What is dialogue? John Backman, creator of "The Dialogue Venture," says it is sharing, exploring, aiming for the truth and involves self-transcendence. Dialogue is not debate, negotiation, conversation or persuasion. This "habit of the heart" was modeled by Jesus and Paul.

Backman discusses some of the obstacles to this activity: black-and-white thinking, fear of change, giving in to distractions, and capitulating to negative impressions of others. In contrast, dialogue engenders humility, openness to others and freedom. It is especially valuable in an age of multifaith interaction. This book is tailor-made for small church discussion groups, and Backman helps you get started by providing a "For Your Consideration" section at the end of each chapter (Skylight Paths).


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