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Posts tagged "Listening"


Another Week Ends: Liam’s Hymn, UnOptimistic Hope, Medical Forgiveness, Neo-Feudalism, Toxic Productivity, Bradbury Imputation, and Bee Gees

1. First up, just in the nick of time, Oasis main-man/’90s troublemaker Liam Gallagher ushers us into the season with a soul-stirring hymn to the “kind of love that’ll be there when the world is at its worst.” The tune is what they call a real belter, potent enough to close out the next season […]

Another Week Ends: Active Listening, Moral Injury, Salad Righteousness, Yoga Humor, and Fat-Shaming

1. Leading off this week, Carlen Maddux has a fantastic interview with none other than Mary Zahl discussing the practice of active listening and its transformative, healing power. While most of our daily conversations could be said to be two people waiting for the other person to stop talking, active listening is something else altogether: […]

When the Solution is to Listen: The Timely Reminder of Helena Dea Bala’s Craigslist Confessional

“People Needed to Talk. … They Needed to Get Things off their Chests. Truly, to Vent.”

Signals Lead to Earplugs

“In the Past, It Was More Likely Insecure Teenagers Who Would Resort to In-Your-Face Signaling”

Above the Noise: A Word of Comfort in a World of Sound

The Ears, Martin Luther Said, are “the Only Organs of the Christian.”

Shaping the Future

Like Saint Peter, We All Want to Build Tabernacles to the Glory of God.

The “Centre Point” of Paradox

I suffer from what psychologytoday.com calls ‘polarized thinking’ (self-diagnosed). This is a way of seeing the world in ‘either/or’ terms. When I judge something — which happens, let’s face it, all the time — it’s either this or that, good or bad, right or wrong. It’s not some of this and some of that — […]

The Surprising, Unsought Gift of Sylvia

Can’t believe we’ve never posted a quote from Anne Long’s classic (and now sadly out of print) treatise on Listening, much of which was inspired/informed by the work of her longtime mentor and teacher, the hallowed Dr. Frank Lake. The book is a must, not just for those involved in ministry, but for anyone hoping to traverse an increasingly divided world. Here’s an excerpt from Section 2:

41m7cmrifql-_sx314_bo1204203200_Looking back, we may well recall individuals who have meant something to us at particular, sometimes crucial, points on our life journey. For me, it was Sylvia Lake, wife of the well-known Dr. Frank, yet with an experience and contribution very much her own. I first met her when training as a Clinical Theology tutor. There was an honesty, humanity, wisdom and wholeness about her which were, for many of us, a ‘fleshing out’ of integrity. She was ‘fully human, fully alive’, in touch with both joy and pain. And, as I discovered  in the times when she listened to me, there was a quality of loving in her that was resilient, straight and unsentimental. Gordon Allport, the Harvard psychologist, said that love as described in 1 John 4 is ‘incomparably the greatest psychotherapeutic agent — something that professional psychiatry cannot of itself create, focus nor release’.

This was so with Sylvia. Certainly it was more than a collection of human qualities that attracted me, rather a uniting of them into what felt both personal and beyond personality. She was at home in her humanity yet at the same time pointing beyond herself. At various points when I have been depressed I have turned to Sylvia and been helped, not only by her good listening skills but by something deeper–the presence of grace and God in her. I can think of others who, in similar ways, have been given to me at various, often critical, points in my life. They may or may not have been trained in counseling skills, which has helped me to see that, [in the words of Alastair Campbell] “In the last analysis there is no cleverness or accomplishment in pastoral care. It is no more (and no less) than sharing with another in the experience of grace, a surprising, unsought gift.” (pg 44-45)

The Power of Listening in New Girl

This post comes from my wife, Hawley Schneider. She has been my muse on many occasions, providing pieces of culture she thinks I should consider writing about or incorporating into my preaching and teaching. I keep saying, why don’t you write something about it? She finally has: I have a few shows that I like to […]

Listening to Embryonic Murderers with William Faulkner (and the Catholic Church)

An incredible little passage from Faulkner’s Requiem for a Nun, ht PW: Somebody to talk to, as we all seem to need, want, have to have, not to converse with you nor even agree with you, but just to keep quiet and listen. Which is all that people really want, really need; I meant, to […]