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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:

  • Yoga
  • Exercise
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness
  • 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.

John O’Leary

21 replies on “Let’s Have a Discussion”

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said: “Over a century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia. “men have forgotten God, that’s why all this has happened.” Sine then I have spent well-nigh fifty years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some sixty million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: “Men have forgotten God; and that’s why all this happened.”

May we NEVER allow ourselves to forget God!

I truly do not understand how anyone manages life without experiencing God’s presence first thing in the morning and keeping in touch all day long….

Spot on John. Look froward to the conversations and perspectives. I have always found it beneficial when engaged in conversation, regardless of topic, to inquire why one sees a subject from a different lens. I simply ask, ‘Would you help me understand why you see it that way?” – It always exposes more about the subject and expands ones knowledge. It is ok to agree to disagree.

Even through a small amount of faith can we accomplish great things. My mother gifted me my grandmother’s mustard seed necklace and I often wear it. It reminds me of a time in my life when I was unsure of it, myself. Today, I wear it hoping someone will recognize it, ask me about it or be reminded about it! Faith is truly remarkable!

Not to let your light shine wherever you believe that light comes from means the world will continue to grow darker and darker💫

John, I appreciate you touching on the subject of faith and encouraging all to have a more thoughtful discussion about it.

John, I always tell people I speak with about my faith and how it truly is the Foundation for all things in my life and that without it Everything is out of line, crumbling, and has no staying power.
Faith is the cornerstone!♡

John, thank you for your eloquent and kind way of pointing out the elephant in the room, the tension that it brings for some to discuss faith.
It got me thinking, for every person that tries to shut the topic down, there are others who are thirsty to hear about it, some that are curious, some that are simply neutral and don’t mind hearing the perspective of others.

Keep doing your thing, I love your messages.

Ayla –Thank you for your comment — and for LIVING these messages … Keep the conversation going and have a wonderful week — YOU are a gift — J

Actually, just the opposite of this: “Just stay away from God in your content. If you take out God, everything else is good,” is true.
“Just keep God in your content (life/forefront) ; If you do everything else is good!”

As a teacher, I had a principal make a very similar statement in a faculty meeting more than 25 years ago. At that time, school shootings were not even on our radar. Now, we never get through a school year without at least one. Look how far we have come without God in our schools.

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