CALLING PEOPLE INTO CONVERSATION
Nativity is working to create a culture and community that all people can come and converse and learn from a diversity of perspectives. As we approach what it means to be in Public Ministry, we are working with an intersectional lens and commitment so that we can have accountability within our relationship with each other, our community, and with God.
Calling people into conversation is how we want to be with one another. And also recognizing we all mess up, and speaking from this shared experience is important. Here are some suggestions to help each other through conversations that we may find challenging as we journey together towards intentional Public Ministry.
Here is an additional resource from Living Lutheran if you would like to learn more.
What am I feeling?
As the culture around us changes into being more aware of what is happening in our world and how it affects us, it is important to understand our reactions. Reactions may come from something someone said, a book, the news, a photo, a sermon, bible study, music, Covid, just to name a few. Self-knowledge allows you to see what causes you pain and conflict and enables you to embrace your contradictions and inconsistencies. When we notice our emotions building up, it is good to ask ourselves these questions:
- What emotion am I feeling? (Sad, Mad or Upset, Confused etc.)
- Where in my body do I feel this coming from? (When I get mad I feel it in my stomach/gut. However when I get sad or confused I feel it in my shoulders and neck).
- Why am I feeling this way? (Get to the heart of your emotion.)
Taking steps to understand your emotions and reactions prevent you from projecting your negative aspects onto other people. Understanding that there are things that may trigger us or others around us is important to recognize as well. When we care for ourselves we can better care for our community. Caring for our community means being able to have conversations that are challenging.
How do we talk to each other?
Christ modeled to us that he never shied away from a difficult conversation. He modeled ways that we can follow in challenging conversations. Bring your best self. This requires self-knowledge and self-awareness. Challenging conversations usually bring feelings of grief, anger, frustration and a fear of being judged or misunderstood. But productive conversations are (especially if they are about racism) are crucial. They allow perspectives to be exchanged, insights to be shared and beliefs and assumptions to be addressed in positive ways. Productive conversations create understanding, growth and empathy. Most importantly, they are the first step in generating ideas and solutions.
Bring your best self
Bringing your best self requires that you have a positive attitude, are willing to deeply explore your perspectives and remain open to the perspectives and experiences of others.
We spend most of the time formulating a response instead of devoting all our attention to what someone is saying. Active listening involves paying full and careful attention to the other person, looking him or her in the eye, avoiding interruptions, reflecting your understanding, clarifying.
Be kind and generous
Being kind is a vital way of bringing meaning to our own lives, as well as the lives of others.
Staying engaged requires you to be morally, emotionally, intellectually, and socially involved in the conversation.
For more information contact Nativity’s Public Ministry Department Co-Directors:
Kelly Sherman-Conroy firstname.lastname@example.org
Kyle Soderberg email@example.com