Soul Matters are a way of engaging our monthly worship themes through deep listening and open-hearted sharing. Circle Groups are groups of 8-10 committed participants who come together once a month with a trained leader to nurture spiritual growth in the community. We do this by listening in three distinct ways:
- First, we listen to each other. Listening is a gift not often offered in our culture. Most of the time, we are “talked at” rather than listened to. Being listened to by trusted companions helps us hear our own voice again. And more than that: It gives our story back.
- Second, we listen to our lives. This is not easy to do. Directly or indirectly, we are taught to see life as a challenge not a companion. The goal is to conquer it, not listen to it. Circle Groups invite us to take another look and dance with life in a new way. Through spiritual practices and questions focused on our daily living, we engage the word not as an obstacle course to get through, but as a host of voices calling us to greater loving and living.
- Finally, we listen to our deepest selves. Introspective questions guide us in this work, but ironically, it’s the people and space around us that helps us go inward. We hear that still, “small voice inside” best when voices of friends speak in a disciplined way. Quaker teacher Parker Palmer explains: So what do we do in a circle of trust? We speak our own truth; we listen receptively to the truth of others; we ask each other honest, open questions instead of giving counsel; and we offer each other the healing and empowering gifts of silence and laughter… Our purpose is not to teach anyone anything but to give the inner teacher a chance to teach us.”
Together, these sacred practices of listening — to each other, the world, and our deepest selves — adds up to a more intentional and authentic life. It’s a journey back to connection, and ultimately a journey back home.
Nuts and Bolts
At the beginning of each month, participants will receive a packet of materials based upon the month’s worship theme (such as “Expectation,” for September). From these materials, each participant chooses one spiritual exercise and a deep question to sit with for the course of the month. At the end of the month, participants will gather with their small group to share their experiences of the spiritual exercise, of contemplating their question, and to reflect on the theme.
Soul Matters Themes
October: Deep Listening
February: Beloved Community
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