A Question of Conversations

Are there some conversations you would choose not to have with close friends to keep them as close friends or does the fact that you have ‘no go areas’ in relationship actualy create decay in the relationship?
Totally open relationship = best of friends and growing in honesty even if you don’t agree in the end on these differences. Conversations go anywhere you feel at the time?
Mostly open relationship = Protecting the relationship from destructive conversations that you already know will lead to tensions and points of ‘agreed disagreement’. Conversations are sometimes ‘held back’ in order to guard relationship.

Additional question – How much of these discussions in areas of known disagreement evolve around the motivation of me trying to convince the other of my point of view? Hence, not actually wanting to learn from my friends point of view but rather convince them of the error of their ways and the righteousness of my own way of thinking/living?

Here are my thoughts from the weekend. Enjoy. Oh and by the way – I am fishing for feedback on this one!


22 thoughts on “A Question of Conversations

  1. i’m struggling with this at the moment. a friend of mine is thinking of spending money on ‘X’. they asked me if i would like to join them in spending money on ‘X’ my reply, ‘no, i couldn’t justify spending money on that.’ they asked ‘why’. i said ‘it just would seem so selfish. surely god has better things to spend his money on than that.’ i’m sure my friend felt like i was judging them. to be perfect honest i wasn’t judging them at all. how they spend the money in their hands is between them and god. but how was i suppose to answer the question honestly without sounding offensive? i want to be transparent but i also want people to like me.

    i am very aware of the ‘additional question’. hubby often thinks i’m trying to convert people to my way of thinking…and i know i must sound like that. but how am i suppose to share what i believe passionately?

    and want i don’t want to learn from someone else’s point of view? is that ever valid or is that always arrogant? what if i only want to learn fron god’s point of view? i feel like far too much of my world view has been shaped by the people around me and my social context rather than from god and i’m actually in the process of shaken all that away (which i might add, is not very fun, and can be very painful and issolating. some people seem to think i like being argumentative, difficult and rebellious. i would actually much rather be liked, accepted and enjoyed. but at the moment my quest for truth is more important than my quest for acceptance) -charlie

  2. if a “no go” creates decay in a friendship, then that has more to do with the foundation of said friendship being conditional, rather than the thing disagreed on being too hard to deal with.

    if the way two people interact changes based on whether they agree or disagree, then there is a certain shallowness to the partnership.

    it can be driven by the misconception that “agree” = “safety”; kind of along the same lines as systems that say “conformity” = “unity”. i believe this is based on a desire to control the outcome of the encounter. unfortunately, this sort of reality is false in nature – a facade.

    for me, well, i’ve got plenty of shallow aquaintances. what i need though is a depth of relationship – intimacy that costs. a friendship that loves the other person as much as it loves itself – which desires connection and authenticity more than it craves safety and reassurance.

    i’m becoming aware though that such relationships require more time and committment than most have to spare. partly because we suck so much at this sort of thing. we fumble our way through our selfish motivations, our fears and our past pain and in doing so, often hurt each other as we try to be transparent – these wounds take time to process and heal.

    doesn’t sound like much fun does it?!

    so i am resigned to the fact that i may only have 1 or 2 of these types of friendships, and the rest will hover somewhere in the land of “conditional relationships”.

    in reality – maybe this is all i could handle???

  3. What about the concept that you discern that the relationship may not be able to handle a certain topic of conversation ‘at that time’- so you still engage in it but it has like a pressure guage on it. You ‘let out’ bits of conversation around the given topic as you feel it’s appropriate. Pressure gets too hot, then you simmer down. I am thinking that this may be even a higher level of relationship, not a lower one. It comes out of the ‘prefer one anothers needs before your own’ scripture. The idea that they may just not need this in their life right now and heading there may be in fact counter productive for relationship because it’s counter productive for their life (ie – you are not doing this for their good). But because relationships are built best in a 2 way direction, then the conversation would not be shut down but rather ‘leaked out’ for the benifit of the one driving the topic and the relationship to deepen.
    Just a thought.

  4. Oh and Charlie – The fun part is trying to work out what actually is truth and the voice of God. In my experience so much of what I have discovered about the truth and hearing God has actually come from people. For me, God’s loudest voice is through the voice of his people…like you, our community, my kids and wife (decerning what is God’s for for me in this is the challenge!). Also I wonder if all relationship is a quest for acceptance? Are some relationships not about you and your acceptance but rather them and you giving into the relationship acceptance, security, love etc So in fact maybe the Truth you are searching for is best discovered not in a solo search, but rather as part of the body of Christ? (In fact to me it looks like that is what you are doing right now by blogging!)

  5. I asked a friend to take a look at his character last week in reagrd to a particular area. I was stressing a bit, thinking that he wouldn’t like me telling him. But he’s been great and thanked me for having the guts to do it.
    But it took a lot from me to do it and I don’t know how much I should make it a habit.
    Should we not say something if we don’t think the other person can handle it or just say what we think is important?

  6. Total open relationship = total open conversation

    Mostly open relationship = mostly open conversation

    Additional Question – When you’re on to a good thing you can’t help but want to share and influence your new found treasure with your friends, but respect will cause you to communicate in a way that doesn’t coerce or bully your friend to recieve the treasure.

    I just finished reading this book, amazing, it’s had a significant impact on my life, one of the top 3! Excellent, fantastic! I think everyone should read it but what is treasure to me and where I am at could be useless information and a waste of time to someone else.

    Rather then aggressively promoting the book, I want to let the transformation that it has on my life and the change that takes place do all the advertising. Much like evangelism I guess.

    I can try and persude, nag, pressurise, etc to get you to hear and accept my point of view but it will have very little impact if you can’t look at my life and see the positive impact that the particular “point of view” has had on my life.

  7. wow – if only people knew the depth & complexity of the relationships of the people commenting on this one 🙂

    i think like Bergs, backing up the opening statement of Vawz in his original post.

    totally open relationship = totally open conversation.

    mostly open relationship = mostly open conversation.

    i still get stuck on the idea that in a totally open relationship there might be some things that can’t be said without offending or overloaded the other person.

    I agree that most conversations indeed have varying degrees of open-ess and closed-ness based on the fact that the relationships are varying in openess, but when it comes to the deepest, most intimate friendships – i don’t think this applies.

    why? because for a relationship to be that intimate, it would have to have already broached the issues of motivation, risk, belief, sacrifice, trust, transparency, love – and therefore, any issue or thought or opinion ends up insignificant in and of itself. the point is connection – souls that touch each other; naked and vulnerable.

    for me – a relationship like that can handle everything from a “strong” book recommendation to a hot and spicy rebuke.

    i think often we place ourselves in the other person’s shoes and make decisions based on whether we could handle the openess of someone doing it to us?

  8. (oops sorry another typo)

    yes scotty (sigh) as much as miss indepenedent sometimes just wants to hear straight from god himself i humbly accept that more often than not he uses other fallen humans to get through to me. and i am left with the responsibilty of sifting through the messages to work our what’s pure and what’s perverted.

    i miss jenna and krissy. sniff. was always open to hearing god through them (and heard so much)we shared our treasures. of all my friends the three of us talked about the most controvertial and deep stuff. trying to change each other never came into it, not even a bit. wierd how when i talk to other people about heaps less challenging and threatening stuff they think i’m judging them.

    well i wasn’t going to bother bloggin tonight coz i’m sick of being seen as argumentative but i resonated too strongly with berg’s comment
    “when you’re on to a good thing you can’t help but want to share and influence your new found treasure with your friends”

    so off i go back to my blog to share what to me is a treasure… (blokes probably won’t get it though, or have always gotten it so it’s nothing new) – charlie

  9. Interesting on this issue of what you share and how deep you go and when you go there etc.
    I was talking to Christine (Wifey) the other night and she asked, “When you were first engaging in the discussions on emerging church and all the talk surrounding these issues, did you openly come out with everything you were thinking or did you hold back a bit out of respect for me and knowledge of where I was at?”
    I had to say I held back.
    She suggested that it was in my holding back and not ‘pushing’ where I was at she actually grew towards understanding me better. She grew toward it from curiosity and desire to hear and experience some of my journey.
    This, she says, would have been short circuited if I had been blatantly open and unchecked in my sharing.

  10. Ahhhh wives can be so wise.

    Scotty, I started reading “Making Room For Life.” Go the Bedouin Shepherds!!! Question: The answer is probably in the chapters to come but how can YOU have a “circle of relationships” and then I have a “circle of relationships” and then one of my other friends have a “circle of relationships?” Is the book saying we all need to be in one big “Circle” (Reminded right now of ‘Meet the Parents’) or is it cool for there to be relationships outside of the circle? Where’s the line? Is there a line? Does there have to be a line? Does it have to be that structured?

    I probably should just keep reading…

  11. Agh yes, again I refer to my wife – the wise one. She has questioned the same issue. It certainly is a dilema for us particularly in our culture in which having relationships spread all over…well – the world, means our circles are huge, or as you suggest, we have many circles, which is probably breaking Frazee’s analogy.
    I think I feel I am constantly trying to work out how I can join up the dots in my linear lines of relationship. If mate #1 like fishing and mate #2 has a boat, then the 3 of us should go out together rather than me going out twice, once with mate one and then again with mate 2!
    It does mean, for me at least, that I try to spend more time investing into relationships in a geographical sphere around my suburb. This is linked to a sense of mission for Joondalup. In the past it has been around my church, which was once near my house. Now it is not and I feel my personal mission has moved too. Having said this, I do have friends (like you!) outside of this geographic area, lines of relationship, these are often connected to other lines from my little hub…like you know Matt etc.

  12. much of our wrestling has been with regards to discovering or (probably more truthfully) choosing the boundaries for our circles.

    the singular lines of linear relationships see our world and our self being cut up into myriads of different roles and personas and experiences – more often than not, rarely co-inciding with one another. this has a dividing effect on most of our relationships where the people in each linear relationship, not only do not share other parts of your world, but they also do not share other parts of your self (which has been cut up into appropriate roles for each linear connection).

    for us, we believe that there is a need to draw a boundary to create a circle for many relationships to happen within. only when we make our world smaller, and more defined – followed by decisions to remain within the boundary for most of our life experiences – do we begin to bebecome part of a multi-layered, multi-connected web of encounters, which grow in depth as they continue to intersect with other people and parts of our life.

    this means slowing down, restricting choices and seeing this circle as the location for most of your life to happen within. geographical boundaries (as Vawz began to touch upon) help with this, but will be challenged especially when it comes to making decisions about where you live and work and play. for someone who chooses geographic community as their boundary, they may make decisions to work within the area – this may mean their work options are restricted, but is seen as a small cost to pay for the benefit of building a life that truly connects. this is where we find ourselves pondering at the moment.

  13. I thought you must have read the book Matt, especially when i read about down sizing. I still want your company name!!!

    When I look at Christ there is no doubt that he selected a circle of relationships with 12 and then probably another circle with 3. I can dig it and think it’s benefitial to experience a true level of community. What I would love is the magnatism that Jesus had in being able to establish a great level of connection in such a small space of time inside and outside the circle, like the women at the well. Although the thought of confronting a stranger about their character flaws, especially a women, scares the hell out of me, I long for a level of connection that can move in and out of circles.

    The other fear to establishing such a close knit circle of relationships for me is losing the focus of building the Kingdom. One of things that I love about the book, well maybe more the author is that he has been able to establish this new way of living and still be committed to running a large church, that seems to have a significant impact of the community it is in. I guess I love the idea that I can still experience what I love about being a part of a larger church that is corporatly developing great connectivity with the community as well as experience church/life in my close circle of relationships.

    Defining the circles of relationships can be a tough one. I would say that I have a circle of relationship with people that has started to naturally evolve before I even started reading the book but it would be extreemly difficult for me to not move in other circles or even linear lines with people that I love for the sake of convienance and simplicity. I guess I would be happy for the inconvience, time, sacrifice because of the love.


    “The best use of life is love. The best expression of love is time. The best time to love is now.” Rick Warren

  14. yeah – the book came at a good time for us – put words to lots of groaning that was going on deep inside of us.

    in regards to possibility of losing focus on building the kingdom of God when you develop a small group of intimate relationships – true – if that becomes your focus. the point though is not to focus on those who you like, but instead to discover the kingdom of God within a locale. the psalmist tells us that the world and all in it belong to God, so all we seek to do is find where God is already at work and then partner with him. doing in a geographical area where we seek to live out our faith, instead of maintaining a structure that costs millions of dollars and too many hours to keep going, regardless of whether anyone rocks up. it’s just being the church instead of running the church. peace out

  15. For me it’s more the fear of losing focus, rather then not knowing the focus of these circles of relationship. Should see Randy’s church – definitely millions there!!!

  16. I have just bought his other book which is all about how “making Room For Life” works in his local church. It’s called “The Connecting Church”.

  17. i’ve seen frazee’s church and i know it’s worth more than most of the biggies in australia. for me, i think this will be the reason why i do not frequent many of these buildings much in the future, unless to catch up with some old friends. as long as we continue to spend the $ on ourselves, an entire world of people dies tomorrow without food, water, medical etc.

    for me – unless the priority of any church is the “least of these” it actually invalidates the mission of said church. so that becomes part of the boundary of my chosen circles – it must begin to embrace the least in our society – otherwise, i’ve missed the point.

  18. Welcome aboard Gav, welcome to the blogoshpere.
    You gotta love that guy.
    Folks still reading this stuff – please make Gav feel welcome – He will be starting his own blog shortly.

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