Why We Need to Stay in the Conversation When the Conversation Gets Tough

by | Sep 17, 2021 | creating conversation | 0 comments

 Covid-19, social isolation, racism, global warming, unaffordable housing, sexual ethics – there are no shortage of issues our city and province are facing right now. 

Each one of these issues calls for our attention and our thoughtful, prayerful and courageous responses.  What’s also true is that each one of these issues has the potential to divide and polarize in our current society. 

We started these Creating Conversations editorials to stimulate the sort of dialogue that will help us find our way through these issues together, without quickly polarizing or dividing. 

Indeed, our intuition is that the current climate of societal division presents an opportunity for the Church to walk a markedly different road – one where we listen, persist, struggle and walk with each other. 

This path is not one wherein we all come to agreement on every issue or wherein we all come up with the same responses.  The desired path is one laid out by Paul in his letter to the Colossians where he writes that “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

Our society needs to discover this pathway. In his book, Christ and the Common Life, Duke ethicist, Luke Bretherton, argues that covenantal communities offer a sliver of light and hope to society in that they demonstrate how love can sustain long-term conversations, even amidst disagreement. 

Yes, these types of covenantal communities call for all of us to be willing to change to stay on the path.  Yet the hope for finding our way together is real because this hope is rooted in the One God whose own compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience is on display in Christ and is offered to us by the Spirit.  

God gives us resources to keep fighting hard for unity.  

 We hope that Creating Conversation can in a small way contribute to the dialogue and to a hard-fought for unity.  If you go and review previous editorials on the Church for Vancouver (or the Citygate) websites, you will get a taste of some of the issues we engaged such as reconciliation with First Nations, Communion on-line: yes or no, guaranteed basic income, understanding Palestinian Israeli conflict, why community meals and the Church, and responding to asylum seekers.

Coming up, we intend to address topics such as the shape of evangelism post-Covid, global mission in a post-colonial age, and climate change and the responsibility of the church.   In all these issues, there are multiple voices and views to be heard if we are to discern well how to participate in the Spirit’s healing of creation.

How might you respond to and use these editorials in your own communities?  You could post them on social media, send them to a friend and throw it around with them, or discuss them in your small group. Of course, we would love to get your comments on either of our websites as well. 

Recently, we were with a group of friends whom we disagreed with regarding Covid-19 vaccines.  We still don’t agree with each other, but I think we understand each other a little better.  We intend to keep talking, knowing that all of us carry strong convictions and that we will keep seeking to persuade each other. In the light of the promise of God, I am trying to stay alert to how God is working for good in these conversations. 

Tim Dickau

Tim Dickau was the pastor of Grandview church in Vancouver for 30 years. During that time, the church went from being ready to dissolve to becoming re-established as a force for good in its neighbourhood. In the last three decades, the church has found creative ways to bear witness to the good news of God’s reconciling and restoring love through community living, welcome of the poor and the stranger, economic development through social enterprises, a 26 unit community housing project, proliferation of the arts, prophetic witness and deepening practices of confession and repentance. One way of describing this transition is to say they have moved from “going to church to being the church…in and for the neighbourhood.” Tim is the author of Plunging into the Kingdom Way and Forming Christian Community in a Secular Age: Recovering Humility and Hope). In addition to his role as director of CityGate, Tim has also embarked on a new venture as the leader of the certificate in missional leadership with the Center for Missional Leadership at St. Andrews Hall on the UBC campus. Tim is married to Mary, who serves as the Chaplain at Beulah Garden Homes. They have three adult sons, two daughter-in-laws and one grandson. They have lived with thirty-seven people over the last thirty years.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *