I spent the Queen’s Birthday long weekend at the Mind Body Spirit Festival in Melbourne. Sophia Think Tank was one of over 200 stalls welcoming over 15 thousand visitors seeking sustenance for their minds, bodies and spirits. Hundreds of those visitors stopped to talk to us and many of them signed on to keep the conversation going through our Café Conversations, a monthly face-to-face discussion group about how to seek wisdom. It was an exhausting, challenging, and wonderful experience.
A lot of our conversations started with ‘Why are you here? What are you selling?’ Those questions gave us an opportunity to talk about wisdom and how the world would be a different place if wisdom was applied in Parliament House, corporate board rooms, media outlets and even around family dinner tables.
We invited people to play our ‘Wisdom for Life: Who Says?’ game which often took the conversation deeper. The wisdom game involved cards with wise sayings from various people. Players had to guess who said the phrase, selecting from a series of pictures of people on the table.
One of trickier sayings was “Any man who can drive safely while kissing a pretty girl is simply not giving the kiss the attention it deserves”. Who do you think said that? No. Not Jesus or Solomon! It was Einstein. Only a few people got that one. We had quotes from Nelson Mandela, Eleanor Roosevelt, John Lennon, Martin Luther King, Ghandi, Einstein, Solomon, and Jesus. Most people recognised the quotes from Jesus, but only a few knew anything about Solomon. Jesus was frequently recognised as a Master of wisdom.
Before they left, we invited people to sign up to be kept informed of future ‘Café Conversations’ and to read a one-pager which, in part, said…
Life throws so many questions our way and we often flounder in knowing the answers and the direction ahead. It can become really confusing and we look around for signposts and manuals and gurus, but we often carry on feeling alone and disappointed.
But there is some great wisdom out there and it does us good to be reminded of it along the way. Such wisdom for life comes from many diverse sources, sometimes from people who are well known in the world of ideas. At other times it comes from people who have lived full lives and offer their experience to us and sometimes it is to be found in the words of a child speaking knowingly into a situation.
Sophia Think Tank is all about such wisdom. Sophia is a Greek word meaning ‘wisdom’ and we spend a lot of time looking at the issues of today and seeking wisdom to apply to everyday lives… We believe that wisdom can be found in many different places and that the Judeo-Christian Scriptures, The Bible, is one of those places. Wisdom is there but sometimes it needs some good digging skills to get to it. But it’s worth it! Wisdom for the bigger social issues like youth suicide and political processes, and educational paradigms, but also wisdom for everyday issues of falling in love, staying in love, raising kids, growing businesses, and finishing well (just to name a few)…
On his travels, the Apostle Paul visited Athens. He looked around and found that the Athenians were a very religious people with many different gods. He found that one of their idols was to ‘the unknown god’ and he sought to share his understanding of God—his impartation of wisdom—in this context. He was invited to the highest venue for the sharing of new ideas and received some varied responses (read about this in Acts 17:15-34). As I reflect on my experience at the Mind Body Spirit Festival I can see some parallels and I am grateful for the opportunity. I look forward to ongoing conversations with some of those who signed up.
Food for thought.
(First published as Food for Thought on Eternity website)