Jared Muhonen | The Voice of Zion August 2022 - Home and Family Article --
Articles in this issue of The Voice of Zion note how in the Bible, the word “conversation” is used to mean how we conduct ourselves. This article focuses on the more modern use of the word. Conversations, visits and discussions among believers are an important way to learn about our mutual faith and to encourage each other on our way to heaven.
A conversation occurs when two or more people visit to exchange news or ideas or thoughts of the heart. The topics can be endless, just as news and ideas are continuously evolving. Usually, conversations gravitate towards common interests of those participating. The weather, for example, is something that everyone experiences and therefore is a popular topic of conversation, at least in the Upper Midwest where I live.
One friend recently pointed out that we must be transitioning into middle age. Our conversations have now more frequently included topics such as what grill/smoker combo is a good buy, the plusses and minuses of a gas-powered versus electric chain saw, how the maple syrup boiling is going, plans for the garden and so on. Through the years, we come to know others within comfortable relationships where conversation topics revolve around common interests.
Why then is it sometimes difficult to discuss matters that are most central to our lives, matters of living faith? Is it because we feel that others will think that we are trying in some way to enhance our position in God’s kingdom, that we want to promote our own understanding? Maybe we feel that with our own failures, we are not qualified to discuss faith matters. Perhaps we fear that we will understand things differently than those friends we are discussing with and this would bring conflict to a treasured relationship. The enemy of souls surely has numerous reasons ready for us as to why we should keep our mouths closed.
Although spiritual turmoil in our midst is a difficult topic to bring up, it seems that this has caused us to have more frequent conversations about faith in recent years. These discussions have overall been a great blessing to my life. When the unity of Spirit makes itself evident, joyful feelings follow.
Several years ago, during a time of spiritual unrest, I received a phone call from my friend. His first question was, “How do you believe?” This was a friend I was close to, particularly through my teenage years. Yet seldom, if ever, had we discussed matters of faith. At the time of this phone call, the battle in God’s kingdom was in the open in Minnesota. Congregational discussions often included comments that brought uneasiness and distress. Some families and longtime friendships began to fracture. We sometimes wondered who our believing escorts were. I thank God that He gave this friend the strength to call me and ask me that question at that time. Our conversation and the ensuing confirmation that my dear childhood friend and I still believed the same made my heart rejoice. This discussion gave me a sense of permission and strength to then discuss with other friends how they believe.
These conversations fostered deep and close friendships. I am reminded of the verse in Ecclesiastes, where it is written (4:12) “And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” When the Holy Spirit through the name and blood of Christ binds two believers together, the bond isn’t easily broken.
Why might it be hard to bring up matters of faith at a gathering of believers outside of services? What obstacles have you felt to discussing faith?
How can we begin a discussion of faith? What are some starter sentences?
How should a believer talk about those who are different than us, whether in looks, religious beliefs or lifestyle?
Things we joke about reveal our attitudes and beliefs. What do the jokes you tell say about you?
The editorial points out that we should not just talk lovingly, but also act and share our resources as we can. What might this look like in your family’s life?