"Let the words of my mouth and
the meditation
of my heart be 
acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer."
                             Psalm  19:14

History

HISTORY OF CHRISTLIKE DIALOGUE

Jeff’s Story

Background- My journey began in 1993 as I listened to the secular media and Christian leadership quarrel over controversial issues of social and political concern. I sensed something was wrong in the way God’s people were responding to people with opposing views. Was it the critical, self-righteous tone I kept hearing, or was something else causing my concern? Not knowing what I could do to help, I took time to pray, “Father, there’s so much wrong in our society and with Christianity, I have no idea what You would like me to do to help, but would You show me what’s wrong with our society—what’s wrong with Christianity—and what You would like me to do to help?”

Conviction- During this time I, was working as a Christian political activist to replace "unhealthy" sex education curricula with a “healthier” sex education curriculum that would support and not undermine Christian values and parental rights; and yes, I could have been described as a “critical, right-winged conservative at the time.” Then one day a mentor of mine challenged me with his observation, “All you want to do is fight.” I justifiably responded with, “Yes; truth is worth fighting for”; and that is when God began to work on my heart. To make a long story short, God lead me to initiate dialogue with a secular leader of an organization regarding sex education in the public schools. We met for an hour or two each month for a year to honestly and peacefully discuss my concerns about the material they were promoting. At the end of that one-year period, she met with her board of directors, and they agreed to rewrite the curriculum. They added an entire chapter on abstinence, stating that it is a wise and desirable choice for young people, and included ten great reasons for kids to choose abstinence.

Remember my prayer? Part of God’s answer to that prayer came at the conclusion of our second dialogue. Keep in mind, this woman had worked with the public for twenty-two years. She said:

“I want you to know that in all the years I’ve been doing this, this is the first time I’ve been able to sit down with someone who has an opposing view and have honest communication.”

God had shown me the need for Christlike dialogue, and I’ve been sharing the need ever since.

Candy’s Story

Background- Having been raised in a strict “Christian” home in the 50’s and 60’s, I grew into adulthood as a good rule follower with little tolerance for people who didn’t “measure up”. Although I thought I was a Christian, it wasn’t until I was in my thirty’s that I came to a full understanding of what a relationship with Jesus Christ truly was. I came to accept Jesus’ unconditional love and forgiveness for me and realize that that same love and forgiveness was available to each and every human being created in God’s image. Being a Christ follower didn’t insulate me from the pain of brokenness and failed marriages though and it was in 1995, as my marriage was crumbling, that I came in contact with some Christian mediators. Although the mediation process did not achieve reconciliation for my marriage, I was intrigued by this different (to me) way of communication. Both parties were respected and heard as they told their stories. I went on to receive training in mediation and as a Christian conciliator. This new perspective served me well in my career as an educator/administrator in both public and private schools. Fast forward then to 2005, when I first met Jeff and learned of his ministry. Our mutual interests and “dialogue” eventually led to our marriage in 2009! —And that is when the real story began.

Conviction- For the last seven years, Jeff and I have served in our home congregation as facilitators of Starting Point, a conversational environment in which people can explore faith and experience community. This experience, more than any other, has shown me the need for the ministry of Christlike Dialogue. As I listened to story after story of broken relationships, loneliness, and confusion, I realized that there is a tremendous need for a safe place (sometimes our dinner table) for people to dialogue. I also realize that too often well-meaning Christians have pushed people away from Christ thru their debates over issues. This burden led me in 2015, to leave my 30 year career in education to join my husband in serving full time in the ministry of Christlike Dialogue.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation… We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors…

2 Corinthians 5: 17-18, 20