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The Art of Active Listening
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Publication Date:
4/20/2011
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In any encounter between two persons, one or both of them may stand in urgent need of speaking and being heard. We should not be surprised by this need. Human beings desire for others to listen to them with consistency and care. When someone we value and trust listens to us, we feel valued and trusted ourselves. We also experience nurture. Someone who listens closely and with deep interest offers comfort, encouragement, and hope. Listening also marks a life of faithfulness among those called to follow Jesus and who base their lives on the teachings and examples he offers. Active and disciplined listening lies at the heart of meaningful relationships and informs authentic lives. Jesus tells us so. Moreover, as the age-old observation notes, God gave a person one mouth but two ears, which suggests that as important as it may be to speak one's mind, it's more important to listen to those who do.

In this one-session study, participants will understand the importance of listening in situations of pastoral care and will learn some tools for engaging in faithful listening.

Allan Hugh Cole Jr is Academic Dean and Nancy Taylor Williamson Professor of Pastoral Care at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, Texas. He is the author of several books including The Life of Prayer: Mind, Body, and Soul and Good Mourning: Getting through Your Grief

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