Conversation & Cuisine Sample Topics

Alternative Medicine

People today want more control over their health than ever before. We want to not only avoid illness, but also extend our lifespan. But it seems that modern medicine can not always get the job done for us. As a result, interest and research into alternative forms of medicine, both physical and spiritual are growing daily.

Handout in PDF format

Animal Rights and Human Responsibility

Do animals have rights? If so, what are they? If not, why not? The animal rights movement is radical and according to many, extreme. The movement raises fascinating questions about cruelty, the nature of life, and whether humans should be viewed as any different than other species. If so, why?

Handout in PDF format

Art and Beauty

Art is arguably one of the best ways to understand what is happening in the culture. The capacity to appreciate beauty is transcendent and yet "tastes" are relative and very personal. Our attitudes and values about beauty often correspond to our views about the nature of truth. What is it that drives humans to create, yet not the animals?

Bowling Alone

Do you agree with the observation that participation in social connectedness is on the decline in our culture? 
“Many students of the new democracies that have emerged over the past decade and a half have emphasized the importance of a strong and active civil society to the consolidation of democracy.  …..scholars and democratic activist alike have lamented the absence or obliteration of traditions of independent civic engagement and a widespread tendency toward passive reliance on the state.  ..the advanced Western democracies and above all the United States have typically been taken as models to be emulated. There is striking evidence, however, that the vibrancy of American civil society had notably declined over the past several decades.” 

Facilitator's Notes           Reaction Sheet

Challenges Facing America’s Youth

The last ten years have seen alarming trends amongst America’s youth. Many experts agree that addressing growing levels of violence and despair among our teenage population should be our highest priority. However, the difficulty consists in developing consensus as to the sources and solutions to these complicated issues.

Commitment and Relationships

Recent studies show that a lifelong committed relationship is considered a top priority by an overwhelming number of people living in Western culture. And yet, most of those surveyed are very pessimistic about maintaining their own relationships due to the perceived constraints placed on the individual by those same commitments. Is the obvious need for commitment incompatible with the value we place on individualism in our culture? 

Dying to be Well

What is health anyway? When is enough, enough? Is wellness a purely physiological process? We’ll survey some modern and ancient views on these and related questions.

Handout in PDF format

Evolution and Biblical Christianity

Though reportedly in direct opposition, could it be possible that they are both true? Or is biblical Christianity even believable in light of the scientific evidence that has been found? What if these two do contradict each other? What would the implication be to my life? Or does any of it matter?

Fatherhood in the New Millenium

We will explore such questions as: Why has so much public and political attenion been given to fatherhood? What does it mean to be a dad in a rapidly changing culture?

Forgiveness in the Age of Rage

One authority says, "A particularly pernicious myth is that ‘healing requires forgiveness’ of the abuser. Victims lose some percentage of capacity and that capacity remains lost so long as the victim is stuck in the cycle of ‘understanding and forgiveness’." Another says, "I will not live with purpose and joy unless I love. I will not be able to love unless I forgive." Which of these is right?

Handout in PDF format   Reaction Sheet in PDF format

Forgiveness in Relationships

Why should I forgive? Isn’t that a sign of weakness? Won’t it leave me open to be victimized again? I wish I could "let things go" but I can't.  Should we only forgive when the person wants us to forgive them or would it be better to forgive unconditionally?

Facilitator's Notes in PDF format  Reaction Sheet in PDF format

Freedom of Speech

For this discussion, we will define “freedom of speech” as (1) the right to your own thoughts,
beliefs, and opinions and (2) the right to publicly express them.

Guilt & Shame

Why do I feel guilty? Why do I think something is wrong with me? Are these feelings good or harmful? What should I do about them? We will survey some modern and ancient views on these and related questions.

In the Eye of the Beholder (Art & Beauty)

Have society’s ideas about beauty changed? Does art imitate life or does life imitate art? Where do we draw the line between art and obscenity? How do we determine what is beautiful? And why do humans have the capacity to appreciate beauty?

Impact the Internet has on Relationships

How is the Internet affecting our culture and the way we form relationships?  Do you use voice mail or e-mail to avoid people? Is the Internet the place to find a date? Are we closer as members of society or or are we drifting farther apart as a result of the Internet?

Love

What is love, and how can we keep ourselves in it? Is it a fleeting feeling, or can it be sustained? Why can’t we have satisfying, lasting love relationships? Enjoy a thought-provoking discussion on the different views of love from anthropologists, psychiatrist and scientists.

Handout in PDF format

Men and Women

What is gender? Are there differences between men and women that go beyond the physical? Is it possible to generalize at all? Should we focus only on sameness between sexes, or is there value in recognizing difference? Enjoy this discussion, including samples of leading opinions in this controversial field.

Handout in PDF Format

Money

Why do we love it so much? Join us in a discussion of the widespread materialism of our American culture as we question the emphasis and value we place on financial security and comfort.

Parenting & Technology

Discuss some of these key concerns with technology and parenting. What’s going to happen with this generation, and the next, and our society in the future? How can we guide and protect our kids?

Facilitator's Notes            Handout in PDF format                 Handout in PDF format

Parenting: Does it Really Matter?

Why do kids turn out the way they do? How much of it is parenting? How have our parents affected us? This issue impacts all of us, parents and non-parents alike, so come and discuss the diverse and contradictory views on this question: "Do parents matter?"

Pursuing Happiness

What is happiness?  All of us want to be happy and yet many studies show we have never been less happy than we are now. Why is this?

Facilitator Notes in PDF Format

Self Esteem

We all need it — but where do we get it? Do we determine our own self-esteem, or is it determined for us? Does our self-esteem determine our performance, or does our performance determine our self-esteem? Discover how to translate these and other questions into real-life tools we can use to help maintain a healthy self-image.

Simplify Your Life

Stressed out?! We’ll look at what social scientists, popular authors, and the Bible have to say about managing our hectic schedules, reducing clutter and living with more meaning, depth, and purpose. Does your life need to be simplified? Take this short quiz.

  • I’m too busy right now to take this quiz. T/F
  • My house is overflowing with things I don’t need and can’t keep track of. T/F
  • My to-do list is longer than one page. T/F
  • I can’t find my to-do list! T/F
  • I schedule appointments with myself. T/F
  • I never spend enough time on what matters most. T/F

If you answered TRUE to three or more of these, WATCH OUT your gonna blow a gasket!! 

Facilitator's Notes                     Reaction Sheet

Sports: A Window Onto American Values

The esteem we place on professional athletes, the amount of time and money we spend as spectators and fans, to the increased involvement in youth athletics reflect our love for sports. But have we gone too far? Has the value of sports become an obsession? When does competitiveness become ruthlessness? When does committment become obsession? When does "doing your best" become "win at all costs"?

Handout in PDF format  Facilitator Notes in PDF Format

The Blame Game

Have we become a nation of victims? Is anyone ever responsible for anything? How much of my future is determined by my past? As legislation ratifies more and more rights, must there be more and more violations? Should we try or is it even possible to control "rights inflation?" Join us as we discuss what one noted sociologist has called "the most pervasive trend in the last three decades."

The Impact of Computer Technology on Today’s Culture

Without exception, technology affects each and every one of us. Experts point out that the impact of computer technology on our culture has surpassed that of the industrial revolution. We’ll explore the social implications of technology on community and personal relationships and, more importantly, our views as individuals.

The Problem of Evil

We will address such questions as "How can there be a loving God when we see such horrific displays of evil around us?" "Is there really such a thing as evil?" As we discuss these questions we will also look at how different world-views address these questions.

To Judge or not to Judge

People who are judgmental can be annoying. Tolerance is an important feature of any free society. Who am I to say another’s personal faith is wrong or that other’s tastes in fashion are somehow inferior? Yet, most of us would condemn groups like the KKK without hesitation. Also, when we face a city and country racked by rampant crime we often hear the call for stricter law enforcement and longer sentences. Why do we instinctively know that judgments are right in some cases, but not in others?

Handout in PDF format

Today’s Values

Where will they take us? What are values? How do our values impact our day to day decisions? What values are currently driving our culture? How might those values effect our future? Were the ‘good old days’ values all that good? Are there universal values that would work well for all of us?

Views of the Afterlife

Does life continue after death? How do different cultures and people view this interesting subject?

Facilitator Notes in PDF format

What do you want from Your Doctor?

What is our doctor’s role in making decisions about our lives and health? What do we expect from our doctors? Can (and should) they fulfill these expectations?

Handout in PDF format    Facilitator Notes in PDF Format

Why evil?

We will explore such questions as: why is there evil in the world? How do you deal with evil? Come and share your views as we attempt to understand evil in the world today from various perspectives.

Workplace Ethics

What determines what is ethical in the workplace? How can we resolve different-views of what is ethical? Come and share your views about this current and controversial topic.

Facilitator Notes in PDF Format


While some controversy is fine, subjects should generally avoid extremely controversial topics, such as abortion or politics. Such issues often have no middle ground on which agreement, friendship or understanding can be based. 

The discussion is not intended to preach the Gospel. Neither is there an effort to "win" a debate. The main point is to be interested in understanding other people's views, respectfully sharing our own, and to enjoy getting to know one another.

Facilitators of successful discussions should send in information on their topic to the C&C administrator at the office, so other groups can take advantage. Facilitators often visit other groups and offer their discussion there. Please offer a stipend to visiting facilitators to compensate them for giving up an evening to enhance ours.

If you are interested in arranging a C&C for your Xenos home group, send us an email and we'll contact you to make arrangements" that includes a link to cuisine@xenos.org.