Conversations Among Friends…
The idea behind the New Confluence Project is to bring into dialogue various streams of thought and practice from some of our leading mentors and prophets regarding the ecological challenges now facing our societies. We seek from them a measure of wisdom and guidance to help inform us as we commit to creating a path through the crisis into a new way of life. Echoing one of our mentors, Wendell Berry, we ask how we can “change the ways we live and work so as to establish a preserving harmony between the made and given worlds?”
The main tool of this project consists of conversations among ‘friends’ taking place over the course of 2-3 days, time to move deeply into dialogue, to share meals and fellowship and unhurried exchanges, to engage in deep listening, to challenge one another, and to open the creative spaces where new thinking and ideas can surface.
The intention is to bring people together so that we might do what our mission statement iterates: to bring together thinkers and cultural workers from various perspectives and traditions to develop and advance a holistic critique of global industrial culture and to envision and foster more ecologically appropriate ways of living together.
To make deep sharing possible, these gatherings consist of no more than 14-18 people. The conversations focus on the theme of ‘convivial life,’ what it is, what it can be, and how it might present an alternative to the industrial way of life that has caused so much damage to the earth and to the human spirit.
To share the wisdom that emerges from these gatherings, we will post essays and reflections on this website and invite your comments and feedback.
Our first conversation took place in September 2010 at the Cenacle Retreat Center in Chicago, our initial test of the idea. Based on the depth and richness of that experience, we decided to continue this process beginning in 2013. Other essays and reflections will be added from time to time from project leaders and participants.