Saturday, August 11, 2018

Book 7 of 2018: Hearing Beyond the Words: How to Become a Listening Pastor

One day I was browsing through Facebook when one of my contacts recommended this book. Because Pastoral Care and visiting has always been an area of ministry with which I struggle and because I value the wisdom shared by the contact I decided I would give it a read.

The book uses hospitality as the way in to the topic of listening, which at first I thought was an interesting choice. However it worked very well.

I found that Justes addressed well what it means to listen "beyond the words". The book also captures the intimacy and vulnerability that this brings.

I read through, but did not do, the exercises at the end of each chapter. They really are set for a place where there are groups (or at least pairs) of people working through it together.  I see how it could be a very helpful tool in a classroom setting.

The book raises the question of what it means to really listen to the other. What might it force us to do? What might it cost us? And yet it is what we all really want. At the same time I think I am not alone in acknowledging that I do not always do it well.

I remember a person whose partner had died several months earlier comment that people kept asking how he were doing and yet never gave the impression that they really wanted an honest answer. To be in community means we need to look for the honest answer.  That may mean an interpretation of both the words and the other stuff beyond the words.