Sounds from Yellowstone National Park
“Listen to your life. Be silent at some point at least once every day. Enter the inner sanctuary of silence within your soul. Be attentive to the Spirit of God who dwells within you and who will speak within you, sometimes even too deep for words.”
-Br. Curtis Almquist
Society of Saint John the Evangelist, “Brother Give Us a Word Daily Messages,”
June 14, 2019
Reading about Black Theology of Liberation as developed by James H. Cone:
The Cross and the Lynching Tree, James H. Cone, 2011.
A Black Theology of Liberation, James H. Cone, 1990.
Black Theology & Black Power, James H. Cone, 1969.
Go Tell it on the Mountain, James Baldwin, 1953.
https://www.christiancentury.org/article/first-person/what-i-learned-student-james-cones (there are links on this to other articles)
Hope to have thoughts as I read, listen, reflect and learn more.
To connect to ourselves, each other and the Spirit, sometimes we need someone to take time, to pay attention, to listen…to really listen. We don’t need someone to solve our problems or issues, but to understand, even to feel, our situation with us. And to support us. We need someone who cares about us, who affirms us, who takes us as we are, and who will be with us.
With this listening resource, we can hope to loosen the tight structures of our lives and realize that perhaps there are gaps where something different, something unexpected could happen. We can play with thoughts and ideas as we have not been able to before. We can even begin to listen to ourselves.
We aren’t sick, but we are human and sometimes we need someone to be with us as we talk through what’s on our mind. Through the process of Intensive Listening, by both speaker and listener, awareness of unformulated ideas or thoughts held too rigidly come to the fore.
The Speaker, the Listener and the Focus form a Triangle of Attention during an exchange. The Focus is whatever the Speaker wants to talk about; it may be a past experience, a relationship, a feeling, a situation. The Speaker draws the attention of the Listener to the Focus so that both try to see, to hear the same things. The Listener asks questions to clarify, so that the Focus becomes clearer. By objectifying the Focus and describing it to another, the Speaker can begin to understand it better.
This article says a lot of what I am thinking now. Amazing to find the words of another that so resonate. Thanks to Brian McLaren for posting a link on Facebook.
“But I say to you that listen, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. If anyone strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from anyone who takes away your coat do not withhold even your shirt. Give to everyone who begs from you; and if anyone takes away your goods, do not ask for them again. Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
These are the words of Mother Teresa brought to my attention by a dear friend in Scotland when I told him of my work these days with the poor and homeless. The quotation affected me greatly and sticks in my head; she captured the feeling exactly. Amen.
…about my work with those in need, those on the fringes of society, those who are my neighbors? No? Well, stay tuned, because I’m going to be writing more.
There is much to tell…about the work, about my call, about my questions, about the love…it’s a way to listen AND a way to draw attention to life.
…of Your Longing”
by Rainer Maria Rilke; translation by Joanna Macy and Anita Barrows
God speaks to each of us as he makes us,
then walks with us silently out of the night.
These are the words we dimly hear:
You, sent out beyond your recall,
go to the limits of your longing.
Flare up like flame
and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror.
Just keep going. No feeling is final.
Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life.
You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
—Rilke’s Book of Hours, I, 59
Click here to hear Joanna Macy’s reading.
As I continue to read Jim Wallis’ Faith Works, I draw your attention to the second section which includes these three chapters:
Do the Work and You’ll Find the Spirit
Recognize the Three Faces of Poverty
Listen to Those Closest to the Problem
The third chapter of this section really affected me. It ended with this:
“It’s difficult to get many different groups working together, but the principle of partnership is this–everybody does their share, and everyone does what they do best. Nobody gets to sit on the sidelines, and everyone brings some answers and some resources. It can work…Always the key is listening to those closest to the problem.” (emphasis mine)
Listening–deeply and purposefully–can be transformative to the speaker, the listener and the situation. Why don’t we engage in this powerful experience more often?