How powerful can actual conversation be?
In the fall of 2012 a group of students from Andrews University began going to Chicago with a sign that read Free Intelligent Conversation and one goal: to engage people and communities through conversation. The movement has been growing and now they’re launching a tour where they’ll visit 10 cities across the U.S.
Check out the promo video here:
They opened a Kickstarter page to raise funds for their coming tour where they get into all the details.
From their Kickstarter page:
We believe that everyone is intelligent—more important than collected information is the life experience we each have. We believe that when this is shared, great conversations take place; wisdom can be gained, perspectives can be shared, and differences can be understood.
We want to create a culture and engage the communities we pass through with the hope that when we leave they continue to have Free Intelligent Conversation. Together we can make this movement grow and watch as the world comes together a little bit more through the simple, often-forgotten art of conversation.
They also have a full website up (FreeIC) where it details other information.
I spoke with Kyle Emile, the founder, by phone to get some further thoughts on the movement. He said, “More than anything, we’ve taken the initiative to show that human beings are more than just a Facebook status. It’s giving people an opportunity to interact.”
I wanted to know, of course, if there was an implicit evangelistic component to this; the idea that we’ll talk to you, but for the deeper purpose of having a religious conversation. I pressed him. “This is not a religious thing,” he responded. More than anything, “our intent is not anything religious, but being the kind of people who we’d like to see in the world.” He went on to describe that, though this is not an undercover religious tool, that topics of religion end up arising in about 80% of the conversations.
By the way, word has been getting out. Check out what Dr Cornell West said about them on Facebook:
Empathy, compassion, and collaboration are lacking in today’s modern culture. A group of individuals have taken it upon themselves to encourage a culture that possesses these virtues as its core values. Please support Free Intelligent Conversation (FreeIC) as they go from city to city challenging people of any and all backgrounds to exchange thoughts, passions, and experiences through the seemingly forgotten art of face to face conversation. Check FreeIC out and learn how you can become a part of this much needed change in today’s society.
I confess that I’m quite impressed with this group of students and this movement. In this technology-driven fast-paced world, one of the things that people lack the most is often real conversations. They’re mingling and talking with people. As a pastor, I really believe that this is the first work of Jesus–to mingle and get to know people.
I’m supporting them and think you should to. You can give to their Kickstarter campaign here.