“If you’re ever having a bad day, go read some listener mail and it will make you feel better.” These are the paraphrased words of my colleague Colleen Scheck. And she’s right. Each week we receive inspiring, insightful messages from SOF fans. We do our best to write back. This is one of several ways we interact with you, through words and e-mail, albeit electronically and from a remove.

Lately we’ve heard that some of you have formed your own discussion groups — online and in real time — that delve into the content of the show. A listener in Arizona recently launched a group that meets each week at a local coffee shop, and she’s also getting a conversation going on her blog.

A Quaker listener in southern California is using our Repossessing Virtue series — interviews with people like Rachel Naomi Remen, Joan Chittister, and Parker Palmer — as a platform for discussion with the adult education group at his local Society of Friends. He wrote to us, “…people were grateful for the forum in which to share what was heavy on their hearts.”

Muna Noor and Richard Steele
Salon participants Muna Noor and Richard Scheele Shane Isaac speak after the event.
(photo: Trent Gilliss)

We’ve been taking our own steps to physically gather people together in a tangible space. After Krista interviewed Joshua DuBois at a live event in May, we organized a salon that brought 15 diverse listeners to our headquarters. They spoke with Krista about their reactions to the previous night’s conversation and shared about their own lives, concerns, and beliefs. You can watch a video of that event here.

Over the coming year, Krista will be speaking in selected cities across the U.S. as part of a live events series — providing yet another kind of forum where dialogue can happen in real time. As plans for these live events get firmed up, we’ll be sure to let you know the details.

All of this brings me to a question: I wonder about the conversations that you may be having in structured and informal settings that we never hear about. Have others started virtual or real-time discussion groups? If so, we’d love to learn more about how these are taking shape. Also, is there anything we can do to help — or ways you can support each other?


Share Your Reflection

2Reflections

Reflections

Hi Nancy

The idea of SOF helping build communities that might be brought together to discuss various issues is quite promising.

My particular interest is mysticism and I am in individual telephone and email discussions regarding this and participate on related topics on Belief Net and on Paul Martin’s blog at www.originalfaith.com and other places. I also meet a few people who notice my own website.

Let’s look at the possibilities. For example you have now let us know of an interesting discussion taking place on Kelli’s blog (http://www.africankelli.com/ta... and so now those of us who are interested in this, and other topics on her blog, have the chance to participate in these discussions.

Going from there, on this SOF blog and on SOF facebook, you could make a regular announcement of, for example, a weekly or monthly discussion topic that folks could participate in. I know at least 3 people who would eagerly join such discussions, depending on what topics were being discussed. Or there could be more than one discussion group going on. For example I might find 6 people interested in discussing bridal mysticism, while there are many others who would have no interest in that, but are currently interested in other topics.

Other possibilities are almost endless (you might consider obtaining a volunteer staff for some of these.) One is the idea of a “permanent” listing of books that people have suggested for various topics.

ciao,
Raymond

Speaking of Faith has been a great source for me in understanding my spirituality. Since becoming a listener I have joined my local Unitarian congregation, the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington (NY) and started a discussion group I entitled Speaking of "Speaking of Faith”. We gather together once a month, listen to one of the SOF podcasts and then discuss our thoughts and feelings. As the group leader, I enjoy an excuse to delve deeply into the SOF conversations I've selected for discussion. I find the resources provided on the SOF website very helpful. I cannot think of what more I could ask for (except more time to read and learn, but that is beyond SOF’s job description!). Because the topics are always compelling, the discussions are equally thought provoking and insightful.