Humility, Learning, Listening – Excerpt from my book – The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together – Offered for FREE this week on Kindle!

by Mark Votava

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  •  Submitting to one another

“Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ” (Ephesians 5:21). 

  •  Honoring both genders equally

We need to submit to and learn from one another in the parish.  We should honor both genders equally and take a posture of reverence and learning from both the women and the men in our lives.  Oftentimes women are better practitioners of relational care in a local context than men are.

  •  Making the mistake of saying we can only learn from men

So we must not make the mistake of saying we can only learn from men.  We also need to take a posture of reverence and learning from both the elderly and the children among us.  The women, men, and children in our lives all influence our response to life through the difficult and not-so-difficult moments of everyday life.

  •  Embracing a humility that learns from others

There is so much these relationships can teach us.  We need to embrace a humility that learns from others.  Learning from others cultivates our responsibility of agency, our ownership to take meaningful action, as human beings in the parish.  Learning from others constantly cultivates the communal imagination.

  •  Others have something important to call out of me, to support in me

As Benedictine Joan Chittister says, “Humility is simply a basic awareness of my relationship to the world and my connectedness to all its circumstances.  It is the acceptance of relationships with others, not only for who they are but also for who I am.  I do not interact with others to get something out of it; I make my way with all the others in my life because each of them has something important to call out of me, to support in me, to bring to fruit a vision of God in my life.

  • Holding our relationships with a posture of learning

Without a humility that is constantly learning from the gifts of others, we are dysfunctional.  There is so much that can be teased out of us as a result of our relationships in the parish.  Our relationships become so much more important in shaping us when we hold them with a posture of learning.  When we see our relationships through the lens of humility we begin to learn from one another in so many ways.

  •  Our relationships help us learn about God

Our relationships help us to learn about God.  God is most clearly communicated to our senses in ways we can understand through one another. We will all be better off.  When men, women and children learn to see themselves as created equally in God’s image and start to learn from one another, we will live out a more holistic spirituality together.

  •  Listening is intertwined with learning

We cannot embrace a humility in which we are continually learning from others without a listening spirit.  There can be no learning from others without listening to one another.  Listening is intertwined with learning.  We have to really believe that we have much to learn from others with all our commonality and diversity.

What are some of the ways you are learning from others in your life?