“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.
July 8, 2015 Finding Frances by Janice M. Van Dyck. “There’s more to Life than living and more to Death than dying.” Frances Baldwin is ready to die. Prepared to deny further medical care that might save her, she asks her son to help her bring closure to a well-lived life. Can William, a philosophical med-school dropout, honor his mother without tearing himself and his family apart? To help her die, he must face off against the medical community and the system that is trying to keep her alive regardless of the quality of life she will lean. To lose her, he must find her and find himself.
July 22, 2015 Vital Conversation Coffee
August 12, 2015 As it was 70 years ago this month that the atomic bombs were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, V.C. member Leroy Seat will make a PowerPoint presentation and lead a discussion about those bombings and their effects. Members are encouraged to read something about the atomic bombing of the two Japan cities in general and about Dr. Takashi Nagai (1908-51) in particular. Nagai, a medical doctor, was injured by the atomic explosion over Nagasaki and wrote The Bells of Nagasaki (1949, 1994) about his experiences. He is also the subject of Paul Glynn’s book A Song for Nagasaki (2009), which is also recommended reading. All are encouraged to attend whether or not they are able to read either book. Leroy Seat will facilitate.
August 26, 2015 Vital Conversation Coffee
September 9, 2015 Living The Secular Life: New Answers to Old Questions by Phil Zuckerman. A sociology professor examines the demographic shift that has led more Americans than ever before to embrace a nonreligious life and highlights the inspirational stories and beliefs that empower modern-day secular culture. Helen Stringer of KC Oasis will be our guest. She will share stories about the free thinkers and others that gather each Sunday morning for a community celebration.
September 23, 2015 Vital Conversation Coffee
October 14, Thanks for Noticing: The Interpretation of Desire by Vern Barnet. Our good friend explores the sacred beauty of sex and love in 154 sonnets, glosses, and other commentary. Lovers of all kinds turn to Shakespeare’s 154 Sonnets for his depth of emotion and richness of thought, even though most of the poems were written to a beautiful young man and some to a mysterious dark lady. “My sonnets, similarly, range though many moods from youthful folly to maturity, using insights from the world’s religions. Because the sonnets are arranged by parts of the Mass, and because some of the sonnets identify the spiritual with erotic, some may consider the book blasphemous.”
November 11, 2015 The Big Burn: Teddy Roosevelt and the Fire That Saved America by Timothy Egan. On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forest of Washing, Idaho, and Montana, destroying several towns and thousands of acres of forest. Timothy Egan narrates the struggle of the overmatch ranger against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force. Books will be given to those who request them.
Reading is a 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