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On Conversation

The following excerpt is from a document written by Patrick Kiefert. It was given to us by Gary Simpson as an explanation of how our class will be structured. I really resonated with this…

The conversation expects much of the living Christian tradition, following the lead of Alasdair MacIntyre’s useful formulation:
(T)radition is an historically extended, socially embodied argument, and an argument precisely about the goods which constitute that tradition. Within a tradition the pursuit of goods extends through generations, sometimes through many generations.
This conversation counts on tradition being the living faith of the dead rather than the dead faith of living (Pelikan).
The conversation is disciplined, has purposeful continuity, and momentum. It seeks to move participants beyond casual declaration of their own views into intentionally engaging the response of others. This sense of freedom within discipline in this conversation is like that of a concert pianist, who works within the limits of the instrument and the composition, yet tries to realize them in a new way that speaks to the experience of both the performer and the audience.