USA Today last week proclaimed 2011 “The Year We Stopped Talking.” Well, that’s about right. We are staring at computers, iPhones, BlackBerrys and TV screens at an alarming rate.
Ron Helmick of Lawrence is trying to change that, and we applaud his effort.
“The conversations we used to have on the front porch have moved to the deck that’s in the backyard, and now the conversations on the deck have moved to the Internet,” Helmick told a Journal-World reporter for a Jan. 2 story.
Helmick has built a teepee on his property east of Lawrence and invited people over to have a chat about the day’s news. No electronics are involved. Guests just bring an article they have clipped out of a newspaper, a real clipping, not a printout from a website.
The teepee gatherings, which occur in a circle around a fire pit, are called Newspaper Church. Each participant takes a turn describing his or her article, then conversation ensues.
The idea is simple, almost elegant. Maybe we should each make a resolution this year to host a chat, a face-to-face chat, without any gadgets.