Conversation is the foundation of lasting peace, says bishop

Ekklesia, Aug. 7,

The conversation which is a cornerstone of human relationships is crucial to achieving peace in a world of conflict and injustice, Bishop Brian Smith has said.

The Episcopal Bishop of Edinburgh was speaking to a packed opening event and service for the 2011 Festival of Spirituality and Peace (FoSP), at St John’s Church in the heart of Scotland’s capital, on Sunday 7 August.

Quoting Emeritus Professor Peter Jones, giving a special lecture to mark the tercentenary of David Hume – Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist – Bishop Smith approved the definition of conversation as “a sacred and improvisatory practice in which the duty to listen precedes the right to speak.”

In certain circles, he noted, there were several topics often considered beyond the bounds of ‘polite’ conversation: namely religion, politics, sex and money.

On the contrary, “if these four are not regular features of our [global] conversation, the world will spin on some very strange axes,” the Bishop of Edinburgh suggested.

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