The Ministry of Small Talk

Eugene Peterson at ChristianityToday:

If we bully people into talking on our terms, if we manipulate them into responding to our agenda, we do not take them seriously where they are: in the ordinary and the everyday.

Nor are we likely to become aware of the tiny shoots of green grace that the Lord is allowing to grow in the back yards of their lives. If we avoid small talk, we abandon the very field in which we have been assigned to work. Most of people’s lives is not spent in crisis, not lived at the cutting edge of crucial issues. Most of us, most of the time, are engaged in simple, routine tasks, and small talk is the natural language. If pastors belittle it, we belittle what most people are doing most of the time, and the gospel is misrepresented.