Two Words to Help You Have Better Conversations in a UU Church

"I Believe...."

"I believe" are two words we need to hear more of in UU churches .... I believe.

First, wouldn't it be great to be having more of the deep conversations about meaning, God, Spirit, purpose, etc? I mean, don't get me wrong, we also need the conversations about politics, the news, and how excited we are about the first woman Doctor Who and Patrick Stewart returning to Star Trek.

But those rich conversations about religious ideas ... isn't church kind of the ideal place for those?

So go deep. Start with "I believe ...." It may feel a little scary, but being willing to share your thoughts opens the door for others to share theirs.

IF you begin with "I Believe."

Sadly, I've seen so many conversations, in person and online, where UUs seem unable to use them. Opinions are stated as fact. Which is a terrific way to shut down a conversation -- unless the other person wholly agrees with you, it's not a great way to encourage someone to share their thoughts.

Hey, some folks love a rousing debate, and they're not going to let a little thing like you stating opinion as fact slow them down.

But I think that the reason why we so often do not have those deep conversations in our churches is because so many people are not interested in debate. They're craving dialogue, where the people involved are not trying to convince each other, or "win," but instead share ideas and explore new thoughts without coercion. It is a vulnerable thing to share our beliefs, knowing they may open us up for ridicule or scorn.

I am sure that I have been guilty of this myself, this stating a belief as Truth. There are some things I just believe in SO STRONGLY, you know? But what I have to realize is this:

Passion does not turn an opinion into a fact.

So I am trying to learn to speak from my own experience, knowing it is just that -- my experience. No more, and no less. And other people have other experiences that may have led them to a completely different conclusion.

And I'd really like to hear it.


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