Two Hands: Grief and Gratitude in the Christian LifeA Renewed SpiritualityNurturing 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 GrowthDeath 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

Receptivity and Offering: Preparing for Christmas

Lynne Baab • Wednesday December 22 2021

Receptivity and Offering: Preparing for Christmas

If you’re like me, the Christmas season will involve some conversations – in person, online, or on the phone – with people who might be challenging. The section I wrote on receptivity for my book on listening seems particularly relevant for holidays:

Being receptive requires a kind of holy curiosity that enables us to wonder what God is doing in a situation before – and after – we arrive. Being receptive helps us slow down a bit and pay attention to what’s already happening in the lives of the people we encounter, their thoughts, feelings, concerns, passions, and desires.

Love motivates us to...

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Quotations I love: Knowing how to “tune in” and “tune out” of conversations

Lynne Baab • Wednesday May 26 2021

Quotations I love: Knowing how to “tune in” and “tune out” of conversations

“There are many causes of ineffective listening and all of us are guilty of some of them at some time. In fact, it is almost impossible to maintain a high involvement in listening all the time. We need to ‘tune out’ to give our minds a chance to rest, but we also need to be able to ‘tune in’ when we want communication to succeed.” —Terry Mohan, Helen McGregor, Shirley Saunders, and Ray Archee, Communicating! Theory and Practice

Ten years ago this month Dave and I were getting organized for a six month sabbatical. I had already conducted interviews with church leaders in...

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Quotations I love: A primary task of listening

Lynne Baab • Saturday May 22 2021

Quotations I love: A primary task of listening

“One of the primary tasks of the listener is to stay out of the other’s way so the listener can discover how the speaker views his situation.” —Robert Bolton, “Listening Is More Than Hearing” [1]

Can you think of a conversation where you started talking about a topic, and after you talked about it for a while, your perspective changed? Certainly our perspective can change from hearing another person’s opinion, but sometimes, in one of those rare and beautiful conversations with a good listener, we find that our views on something change as we talk through it.

You’re probably familiar with the concept of...

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Creativity, imagination and empathy

Lynne Baab • Friday July 31 2020

Creativity, imagination and empathy

I have long believed that imagination is required for empathy. In order to enter into another person’s feelings and thoughts about their life, I have to be able to imagine someone else’s reality. Here’s the definition of empathy, from a communications textbook, that I use when I’m teaching listening skills:

“Empathy is the cognitive process of identifying with or vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, or attitudes of another. . . .When we empathize, we are attempting to understand and/or experience what another person understands and/or experiences.” [1]

Notice the verbs in that definition: identifying with, vicariously experiencing, understand, experience. Imagination plays a key...

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