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.
February 10, 2016 We Are Called to Rise by Laura McBride. Far from the neon lights of the Vegas strip, three lives are about to collide. One is a middle-aged woman attempting to revive her marriage. Another is a returning soldier waking up in a hospital bed with no memory of how he got there. The third is a very brave eight-year-old immigrant boy. This story is about families – the ones we have and the ones we make. It’s a story about America today, where so many cultures and points of view collide and coexist.
March 9, 2016 Weaving The Vision: Stories of Faith for the Sons and Daughters of God. For 48 years, Father Norman Rotert served as a priest of the Catholic diocese of Kansas City- St. Joseph. The steadfast response to God’s call took him beyond the Catholic community, leading as the Spirit often does, to work that improves the lot of all humankind. From the early days of his priesthood, marching for civil rights in Selma, Alabama, in his work with Kansas City Harmony, and a variety of local and national organizations Father Norman Rotert has worked tirelessly to promote the common good. This collection of his homilies will give us a taste of his passion for the gospel’s vision of justice and peace. We will have a number of guests who have worked with Father Rotert to share additional stories that help us prepare for the Christian celebrations of Holy Week and Easter that will come later in the month.
April 13, 2016 The Little Book of Restorative Justice by Howard Zehr. How should we as a society respond to wrongdoing? When a crime occurs or an injustice is done, what needs to happen? What does justice require? Restorative justice is a process to involve, to the extent possible, those who have a stake in a specific offense and to collectively identify and address harms, needs, and obligations, in order to heal and put things as right as possible. Bill Ryan, a leader in restorative justice will be with us to share his experience and explain the process.
May 11, 2016 Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury. This novel published in 1953 is regarded as one of his best works. The novel presents a future American society where books are outlawed and "firemen" burn any that are found. The title refers to the temperature that Bradbury asserted to be the autoignition temperature of paper. In reality, scientists place the autoignition temperature of paper anywhere from high 440 degrees Fahrenheit to some 30 degrees hotter, depending on the study and type of paper. There is also a movie based on this book which can be watched to prepare for the conversation.
June 8, 2016 Integral Christianity: The Spirit’s Call to Evolve by Paul R. Smith. “An impassioned book that helps chart a future course of development for the Christian church, showing how the integral philosophy of evolution can illuminate our quest to find God.” Steve McIntosh. Paul Smith served Broadway Baptist Church in Westport his entire active ministry. He has modeled a vision of inclusion and progressive Christianity that inspired loving devotion and outspoken criticism. Paul will be with us to discuss his ministry, his vision and new ways of living.
July 13, 2016 Julie McPike is the Managing Director
Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area and will be with us to explore this local resource. Events that happened in the 29 eastern Kansas and 12 western Missouri counties of Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area led to the Civil War and an enduring struggle for freedom. Conflict over slavery and other issues drew those on both sides into a violent Border War. Missouri heroes were Kansas villains. Kansas victories were Missouri tragedies. Now Freedom’s Frontier bridges the border. We will participate in and listen to a “reader’s theater” piece.