Humanize Me 119: How to initiate conversations

Here’s a 20-minute episode from Bart Campolo on how to initiate conversations with people about life after religious belief, even when you live in the Bible Belt.

During the episode Bart mentions the Radiolab episode here: From Tree to Shining Tree.

Here’s a sample dinner invitation:

Dear Jojo,

This may seem strange, but for a long time I’ve been wanting to invite some friends over for dinner and a conversation about, well… about ways of pursuing goodness that have nothing to do with believing in God. I’ve been reading and listening to some inspiring stuff lately (link to a few examples), but I haven’t found many opportunities to talk with others who are thinking about how to make the most of their lives. Anyway, this may not be your thing at all, but if you’re interested, let me know. The date I have in mind is Friday, January 15, at 7pm at my place, 123 Main Street.

Your friend,


Here’s one Bart and Marty actually used:

Hey You!

Listen, Marty and I are on our way to Michigan to visit her mom, but before we go I want to put an idea in your head and a date on your calendar.

For nearly two years now, while I’ve been building up the humanist chaplaincy at USC and Marty’s been managing operations for Friends in Deed in Pasadena, both us have been desperately missing our little close-knit fellowship back in Cincinnati. It was nothing fancy, mind you; just a weekly potluck dinner with some thoughtful conversation, a short, inspirational message, and a few goofy games to bring the group together and keep the kids happy. Even so, we ended up with lots of great, family-style relationships.

Anyway, we’re tired of waiting for the Magic Fairy of Community, and so we’ve decided to just dig in and use that same formula here in LA, for us and anyone else who wants to feel more meaningfully connected. Think of it as a low-maintenance church for people aiming to be good without talking about God. Or don’t, if that freaks you out. Either way, if you like the idea of a intentionally building a new circle of friends, we’d love for you to join us. If not, however, don’t worry about it. I think we’ve got the makings of a nice little group already.

We’re going to start off with a potluck picnic at this spot (link to location map) in Griffith Park on Sunday, July 10 at 5 – 7pm and keep doing it weekly after that. Marty and I don’t expect anyone – including ourselves – to show up every Sunday, but we know better than to think people can get close-knit without seeing each other regularly.

I’ll close with love, because that’s what we’re after.



Good luck![/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]


By | 2022-08-10T16:08:08+00:00 August 23rd, 2016|Podcast|

About the Author:

Bart Campolo is a secular community builder, counselor and writer who currently serves as the Humanist Chaplain at the University of Cincinnati. Listen to his podcast HERE!