storycorps npr Listening is an act of love

The Sacred Versus the Profane–Not Always What You Think

StoryCorpsA few weeks ago I saw a StoryCorps vehicle and wondered what it was. I just listened to Dave Isay’s TED talk below. Now I know. Two people come together for an interview, an authentic, simple, pure conversation for about an hour that is recorded by a facilitator. Each participant is given a copy, and a copy is permanently archived in the Library of Congress as a collection of the real American voice. I’ve missed this somehow on NPR.

Dave Isay, who started this project, speaks of the deep power that is found in these simple conversations. He says that people often are moved to tears when listening to the simple, honest, conversations of two people. I would highly recommend your listening to his 20 minute TED talk embedded below, which contains a small number of excerpts from some of these powerful conversations.

Our world is awash with hype and hyperbole, with loud talk that is marketing and public relations or predictable sit com nonsense with a laugh track. We need more pure, simple, honest, authentic, face-to-face conversation, a “being together,” the intimacy of listening and being heard as we thoughtfully express ourselves.

I am fascinated that this type of casual communion is now so rare in our busied lives it arrests our attention and feels sacred.

storycorps npr Listening is an act of loveDave says that the themes of love, forgiveness, of saying goodbye are frequently the focus of these conversations: saying things to a person that you deeply feel must be said  while you can still say them. These are things we revere, we reverence, that we set aside as sacred.

That which is sacred: love, forgiveness, being with a person, saying goodbye.

Listening as an act of love.

I contrast this against the backdrop of the profane: Bob Jones III and his hateful rhetoric, his decades of bullying hate speech directed against numerous groups, his inability to listen at all, his fake apology for demanding gay people be stoned. Decades of wasted opportunity to authentically engage people in that which is truly sacred: simple love and basic  kindness. Decades of wasted opportunity to simply love people. Instead he has chosen time and time again to replace kindness and love with dogma and divisive creed. Having turned simple kindness into hate speech, I think one can safely say that he knows nothing of love. I think of Bob Jones as the Frank Underwood of religion.

Shame on his tiny little heart.

I am convinced that the message of Christ is people, not dogma. But, well…, Jones thinks he knows better.

Enjoy a glimpse into the sacred by watching below.