Learn to Listen Better

Last week we completed the last of our 4-part “Be the Bridge” book study and discussion about being instruments of God’s work for racial reconciliation. The gatherings were powerful, unsettling, and provided opportunities for people to be open, honest, and discover God’s gracious, guiding Presence in small groups.  

As we read the early chapters, many of us were shocked by how much our history has been whitewashed. (The Tulsa Massacre 99 years ago was one of the more heart-breaking and shameful. Here are a few links about it. And next year there will be important events for this racial reconciliation process on the 100th anniversary. )

Tulsa Historical Society and Museum

New York Times Tulsa Greenwood Massacre Article

We also discussed some of the current patterns of racism that are so systemic that it’s much too easy for white folks to overlook. One of the most important lessons from these 4 weeks, and one that we need to continue, is that we all must learn to listen better.

As we drew to a close in the last week, the main feedback that was expressed was, “This cannot stop here. These conversations must continue, and prayerful discernment to hear God’s call to action must continue.” 

One of the ways to continue in deep listening will be offered next week in our new Practicing Prayerful Presence Group that meets Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:30 – 10:30 am on Zoom.

This next week we will especially focus on the process of discernment and as it relates to racial reconciliation. 

One very helpful resource I discovered while in seminary in 1986-89 and have recently revisited, is the wisdom of Vincent Harding. He was a close friend of Martin Luther King, Jr. and one of my main mentors while I was in seminary at Iliff in Denver. In need of soul-searching after a very close friend died unexpectedly, I especially benefitted through a small group class he and his wife taught called “Healing of Persons. Healing of the Nation.” At that time, he was also a consultant for the documentary series “Eyes on the Prize” that came out in 1987. 

Here are links to:

A powerful “On Being” interview with Vincent Harding from a few years ago, that speaks powerfully to not only a process for racial reconciliation, but for creative transformation for our whole country, and deeper relationships with “the Beloved Community” around the world.

A link to the “Eyes on the Prize” PBS documentary.

We need to do a lot more historical homework, and small group deep listening. By God’s grace, together we can discover soulful eyes to see and ears to hear, and respond to God’s guidance in deep and healing ways. 

Grace and Peace,

 

Dr. Len Delony
Associate Pastor of Spiritual Formation

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