Among the more popular practices in spiritual circles the last couple of decades is something called “sacred conversations”. A sacred conversation is generally understood to be one in which an important and difficult topic is discussed - frequently, for instance, racism - in ways that reflect common spiritual values and honor the equal humanity of all those involved.
However, just because a conversation is supposed to “officially” be a sacred one doesn’t necessarily make it so. And conversely, it is entirely possible for a conversation to actually be a sacred one without formally stating that as its intent.
An example of the latter took place here during the final night of a class on the subject of “hope” that several of us were engaged in from mid April to mid May. The presence of God and God’s spirit was unmistakably in the room that evening, and the conversation so sacred that I am still moved by it.
What made that conversation so sacred?
I can’t, of course, share any of the details of what was said. But I can offer some of the characteristics of the conversation as I experienced it:
Deep Honesty about difficult feelings and experiences
Patient Listening to all of what others felt the need to say
Offering of alternative perspectives without dismissing the original speaker’s
Laughter in solidarity over our common struggles and humanity
Humility in recognizing that “solutions” are not simple, if even likely or possible at times
Disagreement without animosity
Gratitude for each others’ presence and contribution to the whole
One thing the conversation wasn’t was surprising. I have been privileged to be engaged in a number of ones like it during my time here. But it’s not enough for us to only have them at FCC. Our culture and nation are in desperate need of regular, ongoing “sacred conversations”. We must look for, if not create opportunities to have them as often as we can in this time when we seem to be so polarized as a society.
They are not easy. But when you are blessed enough to be in one, they are so, so worth it.