Mr. Rogers and the Formative Power of Dinner Table Conversation.

In one of his last books, Fred Rogers – a Presbyterian minister otherwise known as PBS’s Mr. Rogers – made the poignant observation that:

“At the dinner table children learn the art of making conversation – how to take turns listening and talking and how to put their ideas into words.  Even their vocabulary increases as they learn new words and new ideas from others in the family.”
[ Read this quote in its context on Google Books ]

[ from The Mr. Rogers Parenting Book, 19 ]

As Mr. Rogers alludes here, dinner table conversation is a formative practice, and if this idea is true, that we learn to think and speak the language of our family at the dinner table, should not a parallel idea be true in our church communities – i.e, that as we converse together as households of God’s family in our particular places, we learn to think and speak together theologically in a distinctive vernacular that fits who and where we are?  Perhaps by relearning the ancient formative practice of eating meals together, our churches can begin to bear witness to the possibility of diverse and peaceable conversation in a deeply fragmented culture! For me, this is an important image of Slow Church…


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