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Friday, November 30, 2012

Conversation rudders: James would approve

(First-Century Rudder)
It's holiday time, and do you know where your Uncle Joe is? Most likely he's heading for the same family gathering as you are, and most likely he still remembers those lame comments you made last year.

According to the Book of James, freedom of speech works best when tempered with heavy doses of caution.  James compared the human tongue to a ship's rudder.  Although a relatively small part of the anatomy, the tongue can easily steer a relationship into murky waters if wagged indiscriminately.  James 3:7-8 NIV
warns:  All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed, and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue.  It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.

Nevertheless, it behooves us as upstanding holiday guests to at least try.  What then can be done to mitigate the "deadly poison" of everyday speech?  Taking a cue from James, one can deliberately steer the conversation into safer harbors.  Although James does not specifically explain how to do this, MSN Living fortunately does.

Rachel Sylvester's "Conversation Starters for the Holidays" offers suggestions such as these:  with
"hipster cousins" talk indie music and arm tattoos (avoid questions about veganism while the turkey's
being served), and with a "gossipy aunt" reveal your heartbreak over TomKat's divorce (while excluding, of course, any details about your own personal life).


Copyright November 30, 2012 by Linda Van Slyke   All Rights Reserved

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