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‘Vine and Branches Talks’ focus on listening, sharing our stories


May 31, 2018
Rev. Carol Zaagsma talked about the importance of deep listening.

By: Christa Meland

Watch Rev. Carol Zaagsma's Talk / Watch Rev. Rachel McIver Morey's Talk

Rev. Carol Zaagsma and Rev. Rachel McIver Morey shared TED-style “Vine and Branches Talks” related to staying connected to the vine that is Jesus; living with love, compassion, and respect; and honoring different perspectives while maintaining our Christian beliefs and ideals. Zaagsma focused on the importance of listening while Morey talked about sharing our stories from where we stand and listening to the stories of others as they would have them be told. Here are some thought-provoking quotes from each one:
 
Rev. Carol Zaagsma:
 
· “At the very foundation of such love and connectedness to Christ and one another is the ability to listen.”
 
· “People feel isolated when they are not listened to. This isolation can erode our relationships—our connection—with one another and with Christ. And when we isolate other people, then we are really missing the mark in working toward our gospel imperatives of reaching new people, growing in love of God and neighbor, and healing a broken world.”

  · “Sometimes what I hear come out of someone’s mouth causes me to bristle. And then it’s all too easy to stop listening, or even walk away. But my heart tells me that’s not the kind of relationship Christ calls us to. After all, we are all connected to the same vine.”
 
· “We don’t always see eye to eye on things, but you have come to be my friends, and I love being in the body of Christ with you. So no matter where you place yourself on any given issue, I’m just saying that we could all stand to listen better to one another. Can we not see past the argument to see the person…maybe try to see the other as Christ would?”
 
Rev. Rachel McIver Morey:
 
· “Our stories, told exactly from where we stand, have a new currency.”
 
Rev. Rachel McIver Morey talked about the importance of sharing our stories.
· “Testimony was key to the early class meetings and movement. Telling our stories was a centerpiece, not a side dish to be served sparingly.”
 
· “We have a two-fold obligation. The first is we have to share our stories…not your call story, not your well-honed argument…stories of that God moment where grace found us, or where we were found by grace. We must share those stories exactly from where we stand in our own skin and our own boots. Our second obligation is we have to listen to other people tell their stories as they would have them be told.”
 
· “If we let people their stories as they would tell them…maybe we’ll find out that there isn’t this monolithic group of unchurched or nones out there. Maybe we’ll find out that there’s your brother who stopped going to church years ago because he just couldn’t take the hypocrisy anymore.”
 
· “Our stories told from where we stand are the only tool we have. Their story was the only tool the women racing away from the empty tomb had. Thank God the disciples believed the women.”


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