How loving, open-minded conversations about faith can benefit us all.
“Conversation means being able to disagree and still continue the discussion.”
― Dwight MacDonald
I’ve had the pleasure of hearing some of the most remarkable speakers in the world present at conferences. These past presidents, humanitarians, social rights activists, artists, and authors have positivity influenced my life by sharing important lessons from their own.
Most conferences also include somewhat lesser-known, but incredibly knowledgeable speakers on time-management, leadership development, industry-specific topics or how to simply be a better human. Sometimes these presenters promote ideas they’ve benefited from as something we may benefit from as well.
A small sample of presentations I’ve attended over the past few years includes the benefits of:
- A paleo diet
- A vegan diet
- Cognitive therapy
- Medicinal marijuana
- Micro-dosing psychedelics
Why share this list?
Because there’s one topic that addresses an important longing in our lives but seldom is shared at conferences or company events: faith.
It’s seen as either taboo or simply too divisive a topic to broach publicly. In fact, over the past 15 years of speaking and with more than 2,000 clients served, the vast majority strongly encourage me to not discuss faith during my presentation. It was made even more clear on a call when a senior leader shared:
“Just stay away from God in your content. If you take out God, everything else is good.”
My friends, we all know life is hard, fragile and fleeting.
We all struggle balancing relationships, physical health and mental wellness while also desiring greater connectedness to others, meaning for our days, and purpose for our lives.
And we all have wondered where we came from, how we got here, what the point of life is and what happens after we’re gone.
Yet in the midst of a global pandemic, with reported levels of anxiety, depression, suicide and divisiveness at historic highs, the aversion to faith remains.
Is it possible that rather than avoiding discussions around faith and spirituality, we might actually benefit from choosing to listen, prod, ask, debate, disagree and have healthy, constructive and mutually enriching conversations together?
I think so!
This form of conversation, by the way, is not the responsibility of conference organizers and meeting planners tweaking schedules or hiring different speakers.
It’s the duty of adults who can open-mindedly listen to ideas on time-management, diet or yoga, but immediately erect a wall, cross their arms and revolt against any ideas that contrast their established beliefs.
Ultimately, the way forward isn’t to hide from topics we know to be divisive, but to bring them into the light and to respectfully discuss them.
Looking forward to the discussion.
This is your day. Live Inspired.