In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND
“There is a rise of ‘non listening’ among individuals and society. We are losing the ability to listen–in–depth and as a result there is increasing depersonalisation and a corresponding number of people who feel themselves disenfranchised. This can and does lead to violence, towards oneself and others.” Bill Kirkpatrick
I came across this quotation about a week ago, before the troubling and sad news arrived of Caroline Flack’s death. The depth of her pain and hurt should cause reflection in an age when we can communicate extensively but barely know how to listen, empathise, or even gauge how damaging and toxic our communications have become.
Silence, solitude, attentiveness, repentance, hospitality and selflessness are not arcane Lenten practices; they are what our culture is silently screaming for. Caroline tweeted profound and prophetic words shortly before her death…..
“In a world where you can be anything, BE KIND”
Kathryn and I attended a day last month with Russ Parker on attentive listening. It was challenging but very helpful and we plan to have Russ visit the Cathedral in 2021. The following was written about another day he facilitated.
There is a rise of ‘non listening’ among individuals and society
The importance of listening to one another in the context of our centenary commemorations in Ireland.
Dr Russ Parker (International Ambassador with the Acorn Christian Healing Foundation) is the author of Healing Wounded History. Russ has worked internationally in reconciliation and dialogue. The ‘Acorn’ programmes were adopted as part of the resourcing of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission in South Africa and its Director, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, became the president of ‘Acorn’s’ work in that country. Dr Parker recently led a day in Cork entitled The Church as New Acoustic Community: the proactive role of listening in conflict resolution. To set the scene, Russ Parker quoted the author, nurse and priest Bill Kirkpatrick, using the quotation attributed to him in the first paragraph.
Reflecting on the training day in Cork, Russ Parker said: ‘In the midst of a season of sensitive commemorations which have the potential to re–polarise the divisions within a Community we held a day conference to reflect on how the Church of Ireland can offer the gift of listening to all affected by their still wounded history. With the talk of the need for reconciliation between the divided communities we explored how reconciliation requires dialogue and how that dialogue, is impossible, without listening.
Right Reverend Paul Colton, Bishop of Cork, added that … “In the context of our centenary commemorations, attentive listening to one another, dialogue and engagement have become more important than ever”. This article was adapted from The Church of Ireland website.
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