Conference Minister’s Reflection
“What about MY beliefs and values? How do I do that thing about “speaking the truth in love?”
“What do I do when another person expresses opinions that I believe are harmful or objectionable? Do I have to just keep on listening? Isn’t there a way to encourage constructive dialogue without swallowing all my own convictions?”
Feedback from our well-attended Art and Power of Active Listening workshop in January reveals these frustrations. As pastors, teachers and witnesses to the Gospel, we want to respect and cherish each other. But how do we also testify to values and beliefs which may be deeply at odds with others in the congregation and community? How do we build a constructive and non-combative way to deal with differences?
I recently explored these concerns with Dr. Bud Upshaw, one of our coaches in the previous workshop. He introduced me to Dr. Allan Rohlfs. Dr. Rohlfs is a psychotherapist and longtime trainer in the international Center for Non-Violent Communication. The three of us wondered if Ohio Conference members and friends are ready to take another step to develop skills for managing the sometimes raucous and deeply divisive attitudes which mark today’s political, social justice, and faith-related challenges.
So I’m wondering what interest there is in a follow up workshop that would take us into the next steps of empathic listening with some emphasis on non-combative communication. Please take a moment to answer the following questions below or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Would you attend a day-and-a-half workshop designed to learn more about empathic listening in non-combative two-way communication?
2. Would you be willing to cover your own lodging and dinner costs? [The Conference will cover fees, and two lunches (and could make some scholarships available if necessary).]
3. When are you available during the next 4-5 months to participate in such a workshop?
I’ll look for your comments. We’ll build on what you tell me in order to set up an event which will “develop genuine competence and confidence in creating climates of true, non-combative communication.” (Thanks to Dr. Upshaw for this “mission” statement!)
By the way, I plan to use my Facebook page to comment frequently about all manner of things related to our mutual Conference ministries. I hope you’ll be my Friend!
I look forward to hearing from you!