Week of May 19

Dear Friends:

Connecting, exploring and discovering.  

This past Wednesday a group of sixteen Talmadge Hill folks joined Danny Martin at the Mercy Center in Madison, CT for a full day retreat to delve more deeply into the topic of Mindfulness Dialogue.  It was a rich and productive day of learning how to engage in dialogue with those in our lives, and with the wider culture, in ways that foster a deeper, more attentive and fruitful connection. 

On an individual level, our lives can be transformed as we engage more intentionally and thoughtfully with those we encounter day-to-day. Lisa Michalski beautifully wrote: “We are each getting glimpses of the possibilities offered by a new awareness, ever-renewing ways of seeing, and new ways of listening and relating.”  

But there is urgency, too, that we allow this kind of mindful engagement to move beyond our individual worlds, and into the wider culture.  Danny reflected on why this work of mindful dialogue is so vitally necessary: “We desperately—and urgently—need a new culture that reflects our global circumstances and provides expanded values, principles, beliefs, and structures, and a new high culturethat would deep and refine these values and beliefs…  It was my privilege to walk a little of the way with you as you explore how to take the Talmadge Hill community (as well as your own personal lives) to a new level. This will surely include finding ways of addressing the challenges we all face today and doing so on behalf of a culture that is itself struggling to do so, and perhaps thereby contributing to the development of a new and adequate culture for today’s world: an awesome - but completely real – challenge.”

As Christians, all that we learn and absorb as a faith community is neverintended to stay within the walls of our church.  We are always meant to take our deepest convictions and most precious gifts into the wider, waiting, hungry world.  While it is not easy work, when we bring the skills of deep and generous listening, a willingness to examine one’s assumptions, and an empathic presence to our conversations, we begin to build connections characterized by creativity and love. More than ever, our culture needs people to model interactions defined by empathy, attentiveness and openness.  This is, in fact, the very work Jesus did, and exhorts us to do.  May we be open to the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, however challenging. 

Yours on the Journey,