Nurturing Hope: Christian Pastoral Care in the Twenty-First CenturyThe Power of ListeningJoy Together: Spiritual Practices for Your CongregationSabbath Keeping FastingPrayers of the Old TestamentPrayers of the New TestamentSabbathFriendingA Garden of Living Water: Stories of Self-Discovery and Spiritual GrowthA Renewed SpiritualityDeath in Dunedin: A NovelDead Sea: A NovelDeadly Murmurs: A NovelPersonality Type in CongregationsBeating Burnout in CongregationsReaching Out in a Networked WorldEmbracing MidlifeAdvent DevotionalDraw Near: Lenten Devotional by Lynne Baab, illustrated by Dave Baab

Friendship skills of asking, giving, and thanking: A biblical example and some questions for reflection

Lynne Baab • Thursday July 19 2018

Friendship skills of asking, giving, and thanking: A biblical example and some questions for reflection

The story of Jeremiah and Baruch illustrates the relationship between asking and intimacy. Jeremiah, that passionate and beleaguered prophet in the Bible, got lots of help from a man named Baruch. Jeremiah 32 describes an incident where God told Jeremiah to buy a field as an act of hope for the future of Israel. Jeremiah asked Baruch to take the deed for the field and bury it in a glass jar so it would be safe for the future, and Baruch obeyed Jeremiah’s request.

Jeremiah 36 records another vivid drama. God instructed Jeremiah to write down the words God has given him,...

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Friendship skills: Obstacles to thankfulness

Lynne Baab • Thursday July 12 2018

Friendship skills: Obstacles to thankfulness

I’ve been writing the past two weeks about the importance of asking, giving and thanking in friendships. Why don’t we do those actions more often?

Perhaps we are slow to thank people because we really don’t want to admit that we need others. We don’t want to admit that kind of weakness. Perhaps we don’t express thanks because we are so caught up in the stresses of our lives that we forget to take the time for that note or word of thanks. Perhaps we are so caught up in our own lives that we forget to notice what other people have...

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The friendship skills of asking, giving and thanking: We belong together

Lynne Baab • Friday July 6 2018

The friendship skills of asking, giving and thanking: We belong together

Giving and thanking shape friendships. When we ask for help, we are giving our friend a gift, the opportunity to give a gift back to us. And when we thank our friend for that gift, we acknowledge we depend on our friend. We need our friend, and we honestly admit that need. And this binds us together.

Brother David Stendl-Rast – who I quoted in last week’s post on giving, asking, noticing and thanking – believes that the person “who says ‘thank you’ to another really says, ‘we belong together.’ Giver and thanksgiver belong together.”[1] When we ask for help, we create...

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Friendship skills: Giving, asking, noticing and thanking

Lynne Baab • Thursday June 28 2018

Friendship skills: Giving, asking, noticing and thanking

Giving in friendship can involve providing help in a variety of ways. Giving includes presents. In the broadest sense, all acts of kindness in friendship are gifts: listening carefully, sending a card or message expressing sympathy, or accepting that a friend is experiencing extraordinary challenges at work and won’t be able to spend time together for a while. Acts of initiative can also be viewed as gifts of friendship: reaching out to someone who is new in town or new on the job, or sharing a vulnerable feeling with a friend to indicate they can do the same with you. Offering...

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