It is clear that still have work to do in establishing an ideal community that is safe and welcoming for all people. There are groups and seminars that seek to explore what has gone wrong in our national agenda sustaining a “more perfect union.” We have studied the roots of racism and the nature of hatred. I have attended several of these events and have found them revealing and even helpful at times. However, we must remember, we will not always discover our preferred future by only concentrating on the failures of the past.
Appreciative Inquiry presents another model of looking at our community and shaping the way we relate to each other. Instead of looking at what is wrong to try to fix it, Appreciative Inquiry looks at what is right and seeks to grow it. Instead of finding the root cause for failure and division, Appreciative looks for the root cause for community and seeks to celebrate and nurture it. Instead of telling stories of hate and hurt, Appreciative Inquiry invites us to tell stories of inclusion and healing. Human beings and human organizations are living organisms that move in the direction of the questions they ask and the stories they tell.
On January 14, 2015 we will gather to share stories about the “The Beloved Community”. We will identify what that meant to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what that means to us today. I hope you can be with us.
“The purpose of a Vital Conversation is not to win an argument,
But to win a friend and advance civilization.” Vern Barnet
Vital Conversations are intentional gatherings of people to engage in dialog that will add value to the participants and to the world. In Vital Conversations we become co-creators of a better community. We welcome all people to attend our conversations and celebrate the rich pluralism of the greater Kansas City area. The topics and books are subject to change.
September 24, Vital Conversation Coffee
October 8, 2014 Guests on Earth by Lee Smith is set at Highland Mental Hospital in Asheville, N.C., during the years 1936-1948, the year of the terrible fire in which Zelda Fitzgerald perished along with eight other women patients in a locked ward on the top floor. Her body was identified only by her charred ballet slipper---for the brilliant Zelda was still a talented dancer and choreographer as well as a writer and a visual artist. This novel explores mental illness and suggests we may all be “guests on earth.”
October 22, 2014 VC Coffee
November 12, 2014 Being Human, Knowing God by G. Temp Sparkman. This book is an inquiry into what it means to be human and its implications for being religious. Being is good and purposeful. Evil is individual behavior, not a universal natural force. Human experience is a paradox of epic & tragedy. Religion professes a belief in God as being at the core of spiritual space. Religious experience resides in human consciousness. God trivialized by cultural alternative and partial gods, ex. Warrior God, National God. The author, Dr. Sparkman will be with us and share in the conversation.
November 26, 8 a.m. VC Coffee
December 10, 2014 Why I Am An Atheist Who Believes in God by Frank Schaeffer.. Torn between the beauty of his grandchildren and grief over a friend’s death, Frank finds himself simultaneously believing and not believing in God – an atheist who prays. Schaeffer wrestles with faith and disbelief, sharing his innermost thoughts with the lyricism that only great writers of literary nonfiction achieve. He writes that only when we abandon our hunt for certainty do we become free to create beauty, give love and find peace.
December 24, 2014 Vital Conversation Coffee
January 14, 2015 “The Beloved Community” – This vision that was shared by Martin Luther King Jr. remains a motivational tool for addressing issues of our day. There are a variety of sources where you can study and prepare for the conversation. You can visit http://www.thekingcenter.org/king-philosophy for a good start. Our friend Archie Williams will again share the words of Dr. King. We will gather with a rich diversity of ethnic participation and have an appreciative inquiry experiencing interviewing each other. This will be a significant event in Kansas City.
January 28, 2015 Vital Conversation Coffee
February 11, 2015 Earthly Mysticism: Spirituality for Unspiritual People by Tex Sample
Tex will be with us to share these stories from his life that invite us to discover in the stories of our lives the mystery of grace and healing. “In this beautiful book of pain, tragedy, and healing Tex Sample tells stories of God’s refusal to abandon us truthfully. God knows we need this book and I thank God for it.” Stanley Hauerwas
February 25, 2015 Vital Conversation Coffee
Reading is magic and a mysterious activity that feeds the mind, transports the imagination, sooths the soul, and expands life. It is most often done in solitude and yet connects us to so many others both near us and far from us. Many readers enjoy the opportunity to share their reading discoveries and to expand from the sharing of others. Reading is an important aspect of our common humanness. David E. Nelson