Active Listening & Empathy


A. Reading & Noting

  1. Read Henri Nouwen’s In the Name of Jesus 71-101 (Chapter 3: “From Leading to Being Led” & the Epilogue).
    Note what consoles, challenges, or puzzles you while reading.

  2. Journal about your response to the following questions:

    • In your experience, does it seem “easier to be God than to love God” or to lead rather than being led?

    • What makes it difficult for you to love God or be led by God?

  3. See the Learning Community Gathering #4 handout.

B. Practicing & Noting

  1. Watch Brené Brown’s “The Power of Vulnerability” below & reflect on the prompting questions that follow.

  2. Practice active listening to 3 people before the next meeting. Reflect on the following questions afterwards:

    • How was I empathetic (“feel with”) or not?

    • Which active listening skill(s) could I better cultivate?

    • How did God and I “do it together,” or not?

  3. Journal before the next gathering using these prompts:

  • What did I learn about God, myself, and/or others in my praxis?

  • As I accompany others, do I find myself trusting God (following the Spirit) or relying on myself (making things happen) more? How so?

Reflection Questions on “The Power of Vulnerability”:

  1. What resonates or challenges you about Brené Brown's talk (regarding courage, compassion, numbing …)?

  2. How vulnerable have you been to God as you serve? To what extent do you allow God to see you as you are?

  3. Vulnerability is akin to what Nouwen describes as “the willingness to be led where you would rather not go.” With whom or where might God be inviting you to be led beyond your preference or comfort?