Third Week of Advent December 11 - 17, 2016
Be patient, therefore, beloved, until the coming of the Lord. The farmer waits for the precious crop from the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You also must be patient. Strengthen your hearts, for the coming of the Lord is near. Beloved, do not grumble against one another, so that you may not be judged. See, the Judge is standing at the doors! As an example of suffering and patience, beloved, take the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord.
I find that laying plans for the future can be a fun and exciting time. It can also be frustrating and scary.
In planning for a harvest, it is not enough to hold our ideas (our seeds) safely in our hands or tucked away in a pocket. In order for there to be a harvest, those ideas must be placed in earth, and watered (the early rains), so that they may come alive and begin to sprout. Germination alone, is not enough. The dreaming and planning and planting of seeds that has become the seed bed of "St. Paul's 2020: Preparing a Place for All" needs the late rains, the financial support, to provide those seeds with what they need to grow: leaves, then stalks and, in hope, flowers so that the seeds that have been planted may bear fruit and seeds for future planting.
It can feel as though there is much at stake. And, as this campaign progresses, I anticipate that we will form stronger and stronger opinions about how much money to give and to what purpose. I find that it can be much easier, affirming, and energizing to discuss how "this particular aspect of the campaign" is really important to me. It can be more difficult -- worrisome and deflating -- to hear others express equally strong convictions about other aspects of the campaign: those pieces that are important to other people (who do not have the same needs as do I).
Though it is said that God sends rain to fall on all (Matthew 5:45) we must contend with the reality that our financial resources are finite. We may be faced with making difficult decisions: Which crops are we being called to irrigate? Which field(s) might we be willing to let lay fallow so that another may receive the needed water to produce enough for the harvest this year, as well as seeds for the future? Which fields are we willing to join with others in plowing now, even if "only" to plant a cover crop this year? What if "my" field is the one to which the community decides to give the least amount of water, or none at all?
Worry and uncertainty can so easily turn into fear. And our response to fear, more often than not, is to distance ourselves from its source, using our limited understanding of the other's values to entrench ourselves in our own view -- even in a community as open and welcoming and accepting as St. Paul's! We are all needed in community and all of our needs belong to the community. Let us listen to one another and not grouse so that we may prepare a place for all to the glory of God.
Let us listen to each other with open hearts. How might we show generosity and understanding to the other?
For me, worry and uncertainty can so easily turn into fear. And my response to fear can be to distance myself from it. When I do this I end up limiting my understanding of other people's
This week I invite you to join me in a practice of deep listening:Make a point of listening -- just listening -- to someone whose stance on something differs from yours. Rather than asserting and defending your viewpoint, just listen. Ask clarifying questions (if you are able) and make note of where their deepest needs line up with yours. How does this enrich their story for you? How might you begin to work together towards your common goal(s)?This week I invite you to join me in a practice of deep listening. I will make a point of listening -- just listening -- to someone whose stance on something differs from mine. Rather than asserting and defending my viewpoint, I will just listen. If I can, I will ask clarifying questions and make note of where their deepest needs line up with mine. How does this enrich the other person's story? How might I begin to work with this person toward our common goal(s)?
A Campaign Garden
The Daisy Model
"Advice from an old professor"
"If you are having an argument with some 'enemy,'... try to reword his position in a way that would make it at least palatable to you. Then invite [the other person] to do the same thing with your position. You won't appreciate the dispute- melting magic in that until you try it a few times."