This fall I kicked off a YouTube series called “Conversations that Matter”. My thinking was that twice a month I would interview folks from around the country who were doing interesting and timely things that were making the world a better place.
So far, I’ve released a conversation with a public health nurse and administrator who talked about how COVID has affected the delivery of health care as well as her personal faith; and a former Hollywood screenwriter who talked about how COVID has challenged her to discern the next steps in her personal and professional lives.
This Thursday, I’ll release a conversation with a woman from Afghanistan who will talk about her perceptions of the current situation in the country of her birth. In three weeks, I’ll release a recently taped conversation with the faith relations director of the local Habitat for Humanity chapter who’ll talk about how people of faith can pull together to take on the challenge of homelessness.
In coming weeks, I’ll be talking with a children’s book author about how we can tap into the power of storytelling to reach our kids; a rabbi who works in a hospice setting, who’ll help us understand how to process the grief we feel as we re-enter a world that looks very different than the pre-COVID world we left behind. I will even be talking with a lawyer and law school professor who works in the field of domestic violence. These are just a few of the upcoming topics that will be included in the “Conversations that Matter” on our YouTube channel.
When I was pulling the concept together, I thought it would be the content of the presentations that mattered most to the listeners. A few days ago I learned that there was an aspect of the conversation that mattered even more than the substance. I learned this through a text exchange with a friend from the area in which I was raised: Eastern Washington.
My friend said that she had forwarded a copy of my conversation with the public health nurse and administrator to a friend. The public health nurse I spoke with happened to be Jewish. After the person listened to the conversation, the person told my friend: “The conversation was interesting because I myself have never talked with a Jewish person before.” It was probably even more surprising for that person to see a Christian pastor and Jewish health care worker communicate so comfortably and openly about matters of faith!
At first, I was amazed by the comment. That’s because for the past twenty-one years I’ve lived in large cities where diversity of all sorts was a given. I tend to forget there are still large sections of our country where people have little opportunity to interact with those whose lives are different than theirs in some respect. It made me feel even better about the series – for it reminded me that it is not just the substance of our conversations that matter; sometimes the most important aspect is with whom we are talking!
In case you haven’t had a change to check out the “Conversation that Matters” that I recorded with the public health nurse and administrator, you can do so here: FINDING NEW WAYS TO CARE.
And if you have an interesting person you know who is doing transformative work around the world that I should talk to in the series – please let me know. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.