Game 3 of this year’s World Series in San Francisco included a poignant moment with 45,000 fans, players, umpires, park personnel, and broadcast team all standing up and holding an “I Stand for ______” sign where they wrote in the name of someone they know who is currently battling cancer. Some on the field held up two. What made this moment so effective was the deafening silence from a crowd that moments before had been rockin’ and rollin’ for the Giants. It was powerful, sobering and personal.
It was a scene full of empathy, when if for only a moment, everyone tried to stand in the shoes of a cancer patient, who, like the man in our video, at some time had to find out that a doctor saw something on the diagnostic test of their body that didn’t belong there. Can we see what they see? The Gospel of Welcome says we can, and we must, if we are going to be welcoming anyone into the kingdom of God.
In another scene, two young people are texting their parents about how they are. One is okay; the other is not. To care for them is to learn how to see what they see. And how do you do that? How can you see what someone else sees? You do it through a relationship. You get to know someone. You ask lots of questions and really care about the answers. You get up close and personal with someone. You sit with them long enough to find out what’s in that phone. What are they seeing that is so important? What makes the news good or bad? The Gospel of Welcome is all about seeing what others see.
Of course to make this work, you have to make yourself less important. Our conversations need to be about others. Most people out of embarrassment or shame will try and get you to talk about yourself instead. If this should happen, don’t consider it an opportunity to seize the attention thereby revealing that this was what you were after all along, but turn the tables. Keep it focused on them. You will probably get an opportunity to talk sometime, but not now. Now it’s time to listen.
Here’s a little technique I learned from a seasoned interviewer about how to go deeper with someone. You pick something out of their story that you want to feature, and ask them to tell you more about that. Then find something in what they just said, and ask them to tell you more about that. If you keep doing this, it will seem as if you are peeling away at an onion (you are, complete with tears sometimes), and the more a person is willing to reveal, the more trust that will be built, and the deeper you can go. But you have to stand in their shoes and see what they see.
We are starting into the second week of our membership campaign in which we seek to add significantly to our number of MemberPartners who support us monthly via credit card deduction or automatic check issued monthly from their bank. We have a couple who do it the old fashioned way by writing us a check every month. However you do it, we need your regular commitment for the Catch to continue, and you will stand to benefit from the added access and resources that a membership provides. So click on the video screen below and you’ll be taken to our membership contribution page where you can be encouraged by our video on empathy, and find the appropriate level for your giving. Join us as a MemberPartner today!