Whether we are facing personal conflict in our relationships, or leaning into the harder conversations of our society—like those around racial injustice and sexual identity—many of us struggle to listen to what needs hearing and speaking what needs saying.
Listening is a core competency for me as a pastor and chaplain, but I am finding listening also can be a revolutionary and democratic act.
When I worked for a business consultancy, I loved the pace. We worked with companies trying to make large-scale changes as quickly and efficiently as possible. The rate of growth and learning in these companies was steep; people would say a month in this kind of hyperdrive was like six months in normal operations. As our team moved from company to company, we felt like we were gaining years of experience in months.
A chaplain’s 24-hour on-call in the hospital can feel like that.
Surf’s up on religious doubt. We’ve heard about millenials leaving the church in droves (although—trust me—young folk are not alone in disenchantment with organized religion), the spiritual-but-not-religious, the backlash against SBNRs, and atheists holding Sunday go-to meetings. Now we are turning to the Janus of doubt/faith.
When it comes to church, I’m a wanderer: I don’t have a church home so much as a village of church tents. All this wandering has made me a connoisseur of church welcomes or the lack thereof. I can tell you where I did or didn’t feel welcome—though I can’t always say why.