The Blessing Center is a non-profit charitable organization, based in Dayton Ohio.
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The Blessing Center's initial practice of holy conversation was as a means of providing pastoral care to children. We caution that our brief descriptions here do not provide adequate training for offering care to a child in crisis.
A formal practice of holy listening has been used to great effect in pastoral care settings with children and teens. (See, in particular, The Rev. Dr. Leanne Hadley's thesis in archived items on this site.)
Spiritual nurture, which is at the heart of the Blessing Center's ministries, depends on holy listening / holy conversation as a key component. By mindfully listening and speaking with our hearts full of love we can be truly connected to each other.
Listen carefully to my words; let this be the consolation you give me. (Job 21:2)
A holy conversation includes these characteristics: mindfulness, honesty, lack of judgement, lack of accusation, willingness to share feelings. It honors the innocent open talk of small children, the long winded explanation told by a lonely octogenarian, and everything in between. It tolerates anger and despair, hurt and fear, tenderness and joy. Most important, the holy part, is awareness that God is always present.
These principles can be used to aid communication and understanding with a small group of peers, within a significant relationship, when parenting. A regular time may be set aside for this exercise, or it can be employed on an as needed basis ."How was your day?" "How are you?" These questions which we routinely ask each other in passing will sometimes be all that's needed to begin. We have found, though, that holy conversation can often be easier when it is set apart in a space where we've established a routine of acknowledging God's presence and/or we take advantage of tangible objects to help feelings come to the surface. This conscious practice may lead to more frequent, intuitive use of holy listening in all of our interactions. That's a lovely spiral.