by Julia Powers
I am very decidedly a “city person.” So much so that, during seminary orientation last year, when some new friends invited me to “go exploring” with them I assumed they meant exploring downtown. Lo and behold, they meant exploring a state park. So off I went hiking.
For the past 4 days, I hit the road and spent time in Nashville, Tennessee, “Music City USA” with population nearly 700 thousand, and in Bryson City, North Carolina, a little Smoky Mountain town with population 1-2 thousand. City person as I am, you might guess which location I enjoyed most. But you’d probably guess wrong.
In Bryson City, I was struck with the gift of the small town, the gift of getting away from home, work, school, and errands, trading them all in for a slower pace and quieter place even just for a couple days.
by Julia Powers
Not listening lies at the root of spiritual abuse.
So, fittingly, I think listening lies at the root of spiritual abuse recovery.
It starts with telling one person — a counselor, minister, mentor, or trusted friend. Eventually, some people benefit from wider audiences, perhaps sharing their stories in creative ways.
COUNSEL: “I’m Listening”
Michael Nichols’ The Lost Art of Listening says that effective, restorative listening boils down to taking the speaker seriously, not interrupting, and not judging.
Sometimes religious people are the worst at taking people seriously, not interrupting, and not judging. Unfortunately, religious people might not take people seriously if the speaker is a woman or if they’re young (to which I would say Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 4:12 and plenty-more-where-that-came-from). They might interrupt because, well, they’re human and we all interrupt too much…but also if they think the story they’re hearing is getting uncomfortable and they’d rather dish out a nice scoop of Bible verses with a prayer on top.