Ready to Keep Listening

When my former Senior Rector suggested I sign up for Shalem’s Crossing the Threshold: Contemplative Foundations for Emerging Leaders program, I don’t think he quite knew what this course would come to mean to me and how it would intersect in such beautiful ways in my life. I certainly didn’t. However, I can say without hesitation that I have been able to apply every aspect of this program not only to my personal centering journey, but also to the justice work that I have been called to do.

I’ve long felt a call to work for justice but never knew where to start. It’s overwhelming when it seems like every minute of every hour I see injustice, despair, and broken systems. How can anyone make a difference?

The answer to my call came in the form of a community organization called Capital Area Justice Ministry and in the Crossing the Threshold program. I became involved with Capital Area Justice Ministry at the same time that I began Crossing the Threshold. The Justice Ministry is one of 19 faith organizations in Tallahassee, Florida doing its best to identify the greatest needs and injustices in the community. The main aim is to follow Micah 6:8’s call: “He has told you, O mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”

The Justice Ministry is dedicated to making sense of what we see in our community and providing our elected officials and city managers with well thought-out solutions. We hold House Meetings where people come together to share where they’ve experienced injustice. Everyone has a chance to share. No one interrupts. No one attempts to “fix” the problem. We just listen.

This is where Crossing the Threshold (CTT) has made the biggest impact for me. Meeting with my CTT mentor, holding silence, and walking through the discernment process with my peer group have been invaluable in helping me to learn how to listen deeply. I focus on what is said and what goes unsaid. I listen to the silence to hear what God and the Holy Spirit tell me. I’m grateful to Crossing the Threshold for teaching me how to absorb what someone is saying without immediately jumping to find a solution. Because that’s not the point of our House Meetings at Capital Area Justice Ministry – the point is to listen.

I’ve come to believe that the greatest gift we can give one another is listening without interruption. How often are we interrupted during our days? By work, by our phones, by all those little things that come with living in this world? Now, imagine a space that is dedicated to silencing those interruptions and just listening. That is what Crossing the Threshold has given me and that is what I’ve been able to take to my House Meetings.

Now, here’s my fun Holy Spirit moment….

Just as I was finishing up the Crossing the Threshold program, I was asked to be an At-Large member on the Capital Area Justice Ministry Executive Board. At my first meeting with the board, the board asked me to talk specifically about the importance of our House Meetings and the listening process. I felt honored to share how the intersection of discernment and justice work has impacted me very deeply and the work I do for the community.

I absolutely credit the support of my Crossing the Threshold mentor and my peer group for helping me get to where I am. I’m very excited about the progress I see in my community, and I’m ready to keep listening.

January 01, 2023 by Claire Dodd 1 Comment
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Darla Marsters
Darla Marsters
1 year ago

Wow, what a great reflective article! ❤️


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