At LCI we are keen to be a place which generates theological conversations that are relevant to life in Leeds. In conversations, we draw on Christian resources and biblical texts, different faiths and secular perspectives, our own experiences and the context of the city of Leeds. From these conversations we want to learn more about living well in the city, so we ask each other questions about justice and discipleship. We are exploring different ways to start these conversations.
At our informal café-style discussion group, Cake, Coffee and Conversation, today we were a group of people of faith and no religious faith. We started a conversation about death using some questions picked at random from a pack of Fink Cards. They weren’t specifically religious questions:
Have you ever seen a dead body?
What is a good death?
If you had a terminal illness, would you want to know?
Our responses to the questions were personal, spiritual, religious and ethical. Using the pack of cards was a helpful way to get started, the group dynamic responded and the conversation was enriching.
At Mary and Martha Meet last week, we started a conversation around the person and teaching of Jesus in historical context. His context had in common with ours that there were people living in poverty; families were homeless; children were going hungry; there was injustice; people felt angry, resentful and despairing. Jesus’ teaching was relevant and challenging to his context. Our conversation moved on to interpretation of Jesus’ teaching. We looked at David Rhodes, Faith in Dark Places, and William Herzog Parables as Subversive Speech.
As the conversation progressed, we brought in our own experiences in Leeds. In particular, we talked about how we use our money both in terms of investments and also how to respond when people ask you for money. When you walk in the city centre, we agreed it is important to know in advance how you want to respond to requests for money – you will be asked – and why you will respond as you do. The conversation provoked thought on justice in our lives and in the city.
At LCI, the conversation begins where you have people keen to talk, it becomes a creative conversation when you bring in a range of perspectives, and it really matters when it helps you think about how to live well in Leeds. So how do you start a conversation?