I, And, & WE
One of the most important skills necessary for a house church to be healthy and vital is for us to help create a gracious space.
Creating gracious space in a group includes:
- Building trust
- Speaking authentically
- Listening with full attention
- Remaining non-anxious in difficult conversation
- Being willing to support and be supported
Today we reflect on the trust building and speaking authentically by focusing on three words: I, And, & We.
As we interact with one another in TCC, we want to learn to speak for ourselves using “I” statements. When we speak, we want to make sure it is clear that we are speaking for ourselves, not for the group, not for others, nor for some kind of truth for all time. We are holy mysteries, beloved of God. So are others. Truth is a mystery that worthy of our striving, but we never are able to contain or define or control it.
So when you speak, make sure you speak for yourself, being conscious that you are speaking from your perspective. Be conscious that you are speaking for yourself at this moment and that later you will likely see a bigger, deeper picture. This encourages everyone to see that they have the space to share their view.
As we speak about a topic, TCC members are encouraged to remember the truth is bigger than our perception or attempt to express. When we speak, we are adding to a rich environment of questions and shared meaning.
Sometimes our conversations will lead to deep passions and intensity. This is great!
To maintain a gracious space in this intensity, try to use good connective words,such as,
“I appreciate that point of view. Another way to look at it. . . “
“I have never looked at it that way. My perspective has been. . . “
“Fred, I hear what you are saying. I wonder if we might look at it another way. . . “
These kind of connective words reveal that we honor others and that we have another perspective to offer.
We are on a collective journey and are creating a common story as we participate with God in the healing and creation of the world.
On that journey we are going to disagree. While there are some differences that are so central that groups simply cannot continue, most differences are not this important.
Remember that while we may have intense feelings about a topic, how we treat one another is more important than arriving at full agreement.
If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3If I give away all my possessions, and if I hand over my body so that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.4 Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant 5or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; 6it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. 7It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end. 9For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; 10but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. 11When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 13And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13