series: what is verbal dialogue?

Probably 98.4% of the time when we discuss “dialogue” we think about verbal dialogue. Therefore, I think that this question is rather self explanatory, and a time to reiterate the important criteria about dialogue:
It takes more than one person, it has no agenda, it is circular (a time of speaking-listening-responding-listening-responding…), it is mutually edifying.

“Verbal” dialogue is the attempt to expand one’s perspective through audiable language.

When I led a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, I had an interest encounter with untypical verbal dialogue.

We were working in the city of Santa Domingo for a local Young Life Club. One Tuesday night, we participated in the neigborhood’s Young Life Club. [For those who are not familiar with Young Life, Club is the hour long “program” that consists of games, music and someone sharing the gospel.] I had taken Spanish all through high school, but this trip reminded that my spanish, especially religious spanish was near non-existent.
However, I was amazed that I could “understand” the Young Life leader’s Gospel presentation, because I have stood before a crowd of students many times to convey the same message. My understanding was not a result of hearing the words, but in the shared experience both of us have had in leading “clubs.” After the talk, I was able to have a typical verbal dialogue with the leader through a translator, and both of us expanded our understandings of sharing the Gospel to youth.
I was challenged to see my experience of privelege and fortune and how that may distort my understanding of the gospel; what he learned I do not know.

That is the challenge of Dialogue, I often leave conversations with friends and later wonder if I was listened to. I know that I am often transformed by our verbal discussions, and I can only hope that they too may have been transformed by our discussion to create a circular dialogue.

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