Introduction. This week we are continuing our spiritual listening practice as we grow in what it means to be in community. Last night, Dr. Bilezikian, “Dr. B” as we know him, taught us the theology and the reality of community out of the first three verses of the Bible. Three things Dr. B said are still ringing in my ears:
- “before there was anything, there was community”
- “it takes plurality to create oneness”
- “as a result of the fall, community was replaced with hierarchy”
These words compel my heart to dive deeper into an understanding and experience of community. This week, we invite you again to practice three-way listening as a way to participate in community the way God intends it in his kingdom.
As a reminder, here are the elements of spiritual listening…
Participation is invited, but not demanded
Invite the Holy Spirit
No fixing, advising, or rescuing
Listen to the silence
Affirm the gift of the story
Last week we tried two small steps. Let’s try these two this week…
(1) Listening in the Silence. So often when we listen to a friend, we seek to fill whatever silence there is with words to ease any awkwardness. This week, try allowing the silence to be, listening in it for what the Holy Spirit might be whispering. As Susan Shadid shared with us, there is “power in the pause” — something holy and creative happens in the midst of silence.
(2) Affirming the Gift of the Story. When someone shares with you, try saying something to affirm the gift they have given in sharing their story. You could say, “Thank you for sharing that with me,” or “I am so grateful you shared that story with me.”
Books: Community 101, Gilbert Bilezikian.
Articles: 3-Way Listening, Sharon Swing.