It takes courage and humility to stay in difficult conversation. This video by Dylan Marron gives a sense of his “superpower” and suggests why we invited him, in particular, to share his views on building empathy with us at Discovery this Sunday. In the opening scene, Dylan telephones a virulent hate-mailer in the hopes of making a real connection, one to one, in a brave move and earnest reframing of the mutual caricaturizing that often happens with social media “conversation.”
It reminded me of a practice I learned in seminary and have used in group formation at Trinity Retreat Center. It’s called The Repeating Question. This practice, usually done in pairs, involves nothing more than a single question asked and answered repeatedly in an allotted period of time.
The format goes like this:
Partner A asks, for example: “What do you love?”
Partner B answers, for example: “I love New York.”
Partner A listens and says nothing but “Thank you.” And then asks the same question again (and again until the end of the allotted time, at which point they switch roles and Partner B does the repeated asking.)
Deceptively simple, this practice combines deep listening presence and reception on the part of one partner and deepening revelations of the heart on the part of the other. I encourage you to try it at home or with a friend; I bet you will be surprised to discover how challenging it can be to listen without responding, and how revelatory it can be to mine the depths of your many loves.
This Sunday during 10am Children’s Time, we’ll continue in our Season of Creation and think about what “Emanuel” can really mean: God with us and God in us. What does it mean to be a fully human person of God?
Preschool through 5th grade, 30 minutes
We’ll hear the Holy Family Godly Play story. Response: Have drawing materials ready.
Whole People of God
2nd through 5th grade, 30–45 minutes
We’ll focus on Exodus 16:2–15. What can we become? What will become of us? Activity: Make some space for moving around and have blank page with three columns drawn on it.
If you haven’t already, please register to join and receive a supply kit sent to your home.
Register for the Discovery series, starting this Sunday at 10am with Responding to the Urgency of Now, a conversation with the Rev. Winnie Varghese and activist, actor, and comedian Dylan Marron. They will reflect on how to connect in this time of COVID-19 and challenge the church community to explore what can happen in a conversation when there’s nothing to argue or debate.
- Watch this video by Dylan Marron.
- Read this New York Times article that offers case studies and suggestions for successful conversations across political lines.