Listen Closely

By: Dori Baker
May 09, 2014

Being listened to is so close to being loved that we can’t tell the difference.
- Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas

The room was full of young pastors—hip, cool, bright and beautiful people in their twenties—newly out of seminary or divinity school, embedded in their first calls. Gathered for a few days to make friends among ecumenical colleagues, they were open to wisdom that might help them stay connected to their best selves, the people God called into ministry, exactly as they are.

A seasoned pastor told them something I wish I’d known when I was a young pastor. It’s something I think we all need to know – lay or clergy, church member or seeker, young and not-so-young.

“Being listened to is so close to being loved that we can’t tell the difference.”

Thank you, Dr. Frank Thomas!

As I’ve learned to listen, deeply listen, slow down long enough to focus on nothing but the person in front of me, I’ve gotten closer to God – directly through that person in front of me.

As I’ve learned to construct spaces for others to listen deeply to one another, I’ve watched them watch God emerge before their very eyes.

And as I’ve structured and re-structured my life to find friends who will listen to me, I have been loved.

Nothing reminds me of this more on a daily basis than StoryCorps, the NPR project that constructs sacred listening spaces for friends, lovers, and kinfolk to share their stories.

Spend 51 minutes exploring the sacred art of listening with StoryCorps founder Dave Isay in this interview with Krista Tippett.

Learn to listen. Create spaces for others to learn to slow down and listen to each other. Find someone to listen to you.


Note: The Rev. Dr. Frank Thomas, author of the book The Choice: Living Your Passion Inside Out, was the keynote speaker at the recent Transition-into-Ministry Participants Gathering.

Tags: Inspired Leaders, Thinking Out Loud


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