conversation is an engine

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Archive for the ‘curiositites’ Category

I’m Planning a Jailbreak

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My social media marketing class is writing about what it’s like to reach across our borders and boundaries, at guided-by-voices.com.

Please Say More.

Don’t look for the file in the cake

I’ve been watching the guards’ patterns and taking measurements and laying plans. I’ve made contact with the getaway vehicle and the man driving it.

untitled503976052902.jpg Don’t be your own jailer.

I’m just not sure who’s in jail: me or my friend.

In our Social Media Marketing class, we talked about a Jesus story where he asked a question that crossed at least three boundaries: racial, religious, and gender. Crossing those three boundaries surprised nearly everyone in the story because none of those boundaries was proper to cross.

  • In asking that question. Jesus’s crew saw a despised person in a very different light.
  • With that question, the despised person saw she wasn’t despised and in fact was welcomed as an insider.
  • With that question, a village dropped their spite and stepped forward alongside the outcast

All because of a short Q & A that…

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Meanwhile in Minnesota: Ice Stacking

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Why not take Spring Break along the North Shore?

Written by kirkistan

February 20, 2016 at 9:36 am

Posted in curiositites

Tagged with ,

The State of Conversation is Strong

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Despite the stupid stuff we keep saying

My fellow humans, the state of our conversation is strong—though “strong” may not the first word that comes to mind.

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I’ve spent the last few weeks in a funk. Given Trump’s call for banning Muslim entry into the U.S, and Franklin Graham’s approval of that plan (never mind that Graham’s inherited salvation-industry hinges on reaching out to the very people he wants to ban, which is bad for his business model); and given Jerry Falwell Jr.’s call to arm his student body; and given what seems to be tacit agreement with these lunacies by a too-large percentage of my nation’s population, it seems the voices calling us to act on fear are winning.

But here are two hopeful signs:

  • A poll out today suggests that the majority of Americans do not agree with Trump’s fear-mongering.
  • An open letter from Wheaton College students to Jerry Falwell Jr. rejecting his strange twist on Christianity and reminding him that the religion he espouses has little in common with the hostility he voices.

Beyond those signs, the inflammatory rhetoric flying about can at times serve to stimulate solid conversation. For me those conversations have come out of a pit of despair, but they can still be productive. Just saying aloud what we really think can be like draining the pus from a wound: ugly but necessary. Maybe our conversations can start a long-term suturing that can help us heal. But we’ll need to listen to each other and not respond out of our instinctual fear.

All this fear-rhetoric is pivoting me away from the rabid voices and back toward seeking conversations with people who are different. At our best we welcome people even as we trust. We start by engaging in conversation.

Fie on the fear-mongerers.

 

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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What did Jesus say at the Trump Rally?

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Written by kirkistan

December 8, 2015 at 8:56 am

1981: God Bless America

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Written by kirkistan

December 3, 2015 at 8:21 am

What Would it Take to Change Your Mind?

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Let me draw you a picture

Howard Gardner, in his book Changing Minds: The Art and Science of Changing Our Own and Other People’s Minds (Boston: Harvard Business School Press, 2004) talked about the different kinds of intelligences he thinks exist. Dr. Gardner is a professor of cognition and education at the Harvard Graduate School, so he has solid reason to be espousing counter-intuitive theories of intelligence. Linguistic and logical-mathematical are two of the more primary and recognizable kinds of intelligence. And those two, in particular, are the focus of much our schooling.

But there are other kinds, says Dr. Gardner, including spatial intelligence, for instance, where one has “the capacity to form spatial representations or images in one’s mind, and to operate up them.” Sailors and airline pilots depend on this sort of intelligence, as do chess players. Or bodily-kinesthetic intelligence, where a person has “the capacity to solve problems or to create products using your whole body.” Artists, craftspeople, surgeons, dancers, football players, basketball players and many others work out problems in a very physical way.

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Early in the book Gardner cited this important factor in changing one’s mind:

Presenting multiple versions of the same concept can be an extremely powerful way to change someone’s mind.

–Howard Gardner, Changing Minds, p. 16

I’m not yet to the end of Gardner’s full argument, but I suspect none of us are just one intelligence. We each have several (perhaps many) ways of knowing and depend on our different intelligences to walk through life. So hearing multiple versions of a concept may trigger something inside us that suddenly opens our eyes or our empathy. As advertisers well understand, presenting the beautiful woman next to the car or perfume bottle spurs an emotional leap that can bypass rationality. Words alone don’t do that as often.

My own daily experiments with drawing, though uniformly not up to par, have still showed a way forward with understanding. When stuck with words, I can switch to dumb sketch mode and begin to move forward again.

All this makes me wonder about the work we each need to do to find new ways to express those deep things inside that need to come out but have so far fallen on deaf ears.

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Image credit: Kirk Livingston

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