Listening to Dissonance

Cracks Beach, by John Vonderlin, on Flickr

"... and in that moment it was like... something cracked, in my whole understanding of the life I was living, of the family I was a part of. The ground underneath me fell apart, and it doesn't feel normal. This can't be real, what's happening right now.

"But it is, and I don't know how to put together what this is going to mean. It was a moment in my life, of what I would call profound dissonance." 

What do we do with dissonance, when we're hearing something we didn't expect or weren't prepared for? Is it a sign that we're hearing things wrong... or can God actually speak to us in those moments? 

Listen to Leah's reflections below, or read the outline to absorb what it means to listen for God, when what you're hearing doesn't make sense. 

Listen: With the Body

". . . For those of you who have been through that season in life, of preparing to get married. . . you probably know that wedding planning is one of the exercises in getting to know your future spouse.

You fall in love, and then you engage in this. . . hell for however many months, and if you're still in love on the other side, you get married!

For Jason and I, we had this whole list of places we needed to go and venues to check on. . . and it was a Saturday, and I guess I didn't eat a very big breakfast. And Jason is very efficient, saying, let's get these things done and we can go on with our day.

Logically, I would agree with that. But around 11:30, my body started to feel a bit differently. . . . 

What's up with our bodies, and how do they integrate with the rest of us? And how can we use our bodies to connect in with God? Listen below, or read the notes to hear more about embodied practices you can take to connect with and listen to God. 

Liz Gill: Talking with God

"A few years back, I was in a situation where I had to make a decision.

I was in the process of working with a team to open a coffee shop and community center in Worcester, Massachusetts. And I was really excited – I had written in a journal years before that I wanted to open a coffee shop and community center where kids could learn how to use video equipment and make videos and put together stories, like in the news business where I had worked before.

Also on my team was my boyfriend. . . and things were pretty cool. But then the boyfriend surprised me with a breakup, and not very nicely. I tried to stay on that team but I couldn't. It was too painful to be near him and I was pretty broken up – so I quit. 

Crazy, right – I quit my dream job? 

And then I started looking for a new job. . ." 

Want to hear more of Liz' story? Check out the audio message below, or read the notes to hear more about how she has cultivated a practice of listening to God! 

Tuning In

"So... 1968 was the peak of a season of great unrest in our country.

There was a lot going on: the Vietnam war was raging, there had been protests happening for years, the civil rights movement had protests going on for years.

And it came to a head on April 4th, 1968, when Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated... in the wake of King's death, there were more turbulent demonstrations, particularly black activists who were protesting police violence. There was a shootout in Oakland... this kind of thing was happening throughout the country. 

And it was an election year. There were campaigns going on. So, it probably feels very resonant for us..." 

....This week we start a series called "Listen," asking how we can hear God amid everything else in our lives. Starting with the present day, we go back to 1968 and then back to the time of the Roman Empire, when Jesus gives us the story of a good shepherd whose sheep hear his voice.

Early Roman image of Jesus as a good shepherd.

Early Roman image of Jesus as a good shepherd.

But what can we learn from sheep about hearing from God in the midst of chaos? Listen in (or read the notes!) to find out, below: