HTH: Listening, by Anne Long

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HTH: Listening, by Anne Long

When it comes to one-on-one pastoral ministry, I can think of no better resource than Anne Long’s Listening. This book’s in-depth exploration of the practice of listening (and the healing power of truly being heard), has been one of the seminal resources and influences in my own ministry. Really listening, the way Long describes it, is anything but natural or reflexive. She says, “To listen, according to the Shorter Oxford Dictionary, is to hear attentively, to give ear to, to make an effort to hear something. ‘It is not a passive affair, a space when we don’t happen to be doing or saying anything and are, therefore, automatically able to listen. It is a conscious, willed action, requiring alertness and vigilance, by which our whole attention is focused and controlled. So it is difficult.’” The art of listening – to God, ourselves, and those in our care – brings with it healing and redemption.

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