Unhurried listening

I came away from the camp last weekend grateful for the opportunity to connect with people who I see  every week but don’t really know.

It takes time to get to know someone.  Unhurried time to listen and to learn enables understanding and connection.  It therefore stands to reason that it takes time for authentic community to be created. This is a challenging area for our life together at CMM,  because for the overwhelming majority of us we only see each other for an hour-and-a-half on a Sunday morning.  So I remind you of Wednesday Church as another opportunity for us to connect together. This Wednesday we are going to go on a brief walk-about through the city — starting at 7 pm.

Now some of us struggle with our temper and we need help with anger management. Others of us struggle with our passivity. This passivity is often done under the guise of “I am a follower of Jesus and must love everyone and forgive”. I found the following thoughts by my colleague John van de Laar insightful in this regard:

“In my work as a Methodist minister I have seen the lack of response used in relationships as a passive-aggressive strategy to “get under the skin” of a partner or friend. Disengagement gives us the power of control over the relationship, and leaves the other person powerless to make us connect. However, this refusal to engage seldom brings good outcomes. There may be times when it is wise to move away from one another and create space to think about how to respond, but this is not disengagement. It is engagement in a more careful way. When we disengage in order to hurt, manipulate or punish another person, the relationship is always set back, and trust is damaged.”

May God give us insight into ourselves!

Peace, Alan

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