The Spiritual Formation Team brought back Uncommon Conversations for another focus on this year’s spiritual practice, “Speak Life”

Following the first session of Uncommon Conversations, the Spiritual Formation SALT team brought the event back for a second round in order to help the APU community experience the “Speak Life”  conversations to the fullest. This event was held Tuesday, Feb. 20 in the Cougar Dome.

Associate Campus Pastor for Spiritual Formation Ta’Tyana Leonard explained the main purpose for the return of Uncommon Conversations.

“We had 65 students register for the first Uncommon, and after the event, students asked if we could host another one,” Leonard said. “We had 64 students attend the second event.”

Leonard shared some alternatives in the second Uncommon Conversations, which were primarily focused on adjusting the political discussions.

“At the last event, we received some feedback that conservative voters may not have felt comfortable to share their views,” Leonard said. “This time we focused on the last two presidencies, instead of this last election only.”

With the second session of Uncommon Conversations in mind, Leonard said the APU community can spiritually improve by learning to speak life in difficult conversations, because it is a sign of spiritual maturity.

“We say what’s on our hearts, so if we are hurtful with our words, it’s a spiritual issue,” Leonard said. “We can only improve how we speak to others by growing closer to Christ and His Word.”

Senior youth ministry major and Spiritual Formation SALT leader Sarah Rubin shared her perspective regarding spiritual growth through speaking life in challenging conversations.

“The APU community can grow if they increase self-awareness of their own biases of things by having hard conversations with people they disagree with about topics that make them feel uncomfortable,” Rubin said.

Rubin said the necessity of having conversations that can possibly be uncomfortable, because there are people in the community and around the world who are in need of these conversations.

“If we are unwilling to make time to have these important yet challenging conversations with our peers that are desperate to have these conversations with us, then I am worried about how we are going to make the time in our future careers and lives to have these conversations,” Rubin said.

Rubin said some tools she thinks can be fruitful for building speaking life practices are developing a relationship with God through studying the Bible and spending quiet time to hear from the Holy Spirit.

“I think if you are developing your relationship with God by studying scripture and spending quiet time to hear from the Holy Spirit, He will guide you in your relationship with others,” Rubin said. “We cannot receive the fruits of the Spirit if we are not in a relationship with God and seeking spiritual growth intentionally.”

Sophomore sociology major Joshua Cantong asserted the importance of speaking life after attending the event.

“What I observed from this event is that in the midst of these conversations in our community, we have to speak to one another with an intent to understand, to maintain relationship and to hold mutual respect for one another, even through disagreements regarding sensitive topics that have the potential to build walls between us,” Cantong said.

Cantong shared his own practice for speaking life, which is asking himself things that he always second guesses about others and seeking God to discover the answers.

“What are the truths that we tell ourselves daily and rarely second guess? I’m still growing in what it means to speak life to myself and others, to be frank, but I think I come closer to doing so when I ask myself this question and see how God comes into the picture regarding the answer,” Cantong said.

The event concluded with a prayer circle led by Pastor Ta’Tyana, where everyone prayed for a “Speak Life”  community and change for all the negative situations happening in the community and around the world.