Transformational Listening Center Listening to God, to self, and to others Tue, 14 Aug 2018 16:31:56 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Transformational Listening Center 32 32 Annoucement About Cohort IV Sat, 21 Apr 2018 21:37:07 +0000 The Transformational Listening Center has been invited to conduct our classes for Cohort IV at Christ Church in Lake Forest. This is the culmination of a dream we’ve had for a long time, and we are looking forward to holding our program in their beautiful space. As a result of this change we are moving our meeting dates from Tuesdays to Thursdays. We will still meet at the same time (10-1) and will be starting our next cohort on Thursday, August 30th of this year.



We will be holding a Q & A lunch for those interested in our next cohort on Thursday, May 17 at 12:00 at Christ Church 100 N. Waukegan Road.  If you or someone you know is interested in attending, please contact us through our contact page so we can reserve a spot for you.


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Searching for Pearls Mon, 22 May 2017 21:07:51 +0000

In Matthew 13:45-46 Jesus tells this parable: “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (ESV)

In the movie National Treasure, Nicolas Cage is a dashing, cunning, and adventurous treasure hunter. When I ponder this short but powerful parable it occurs to me this is also a great metaphor for what I do as a Spiritual Director. Although I don’t look dashing, cunning or remotely adventurous I like to think of myself as a treasure hunter when I listen to others in Spiritual Direction. If you’ve never heard of Spiritual Direction I think it can be simply defined as one person listening deeply to another’s life as they convey to them their thoughts,  circumstances, and feelings, all the while looking for hints of God handiwork. Like the merchant in this parable, Spiritual Directors are looking for the hidden pearl of the great and mysteries Other in the fodder of everyday life.

It seems to me no happy accident that Jesus would use the metaphor of a pearl. Pearls are formed when an irritant (usually a parasite) slips into an Oyster, and in order to protect itself a fluid is released called nacre. This nacre is secreted layer upon layer around the irritant until a lustrous pearl is formed. Knowing how pearls are actually created makes this parable even more nuanced. The irritants of life are often the very things that form us, often revealing who we truly are and what we really believe. These “circumstances” can create hidden pearls waiting to be discovered if only someone cared to search for them and upon finding them bring them to our attention.

Spiritual directors listen, searching through the details and debris of ordinary lives for sparks of the Divine – those luminous pearls created from the irritants, even parasites, that are hidden away waiting to be found. There are so many more hidden pearls out there then anyone realizes! What makes listening transformative is when we listen in a way that helps another discover the hidden pearls in their everyday circumstances, in their trials, and even in their suffering. It is not easy, but it is incredibly valuable and worth all the time, energy and prayer that is involved in the hunt.

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Welcome to the new TLC Website Thu, 04 May 2017 10:30:33 +0000

Welcome to our new website and news/blog section. Our hope is to stay in touch with past and present students and friends of TLC as well as fill you in on what is going on at the Transformational Listening Center. We will also use this space to write about some of the core values of TLC with the desire that they might encourage us to keep on seeking the kingdom (Matt. 6:33). Hopefully you will sign up and then periodically find this little newsletter in your inbox with some helpful words of support and reminders to continue to listen for God, self and others out in your everyday life.

Important Upcoming Events:

Commissioning Ceremony for Cohort III
Tuesday, June 6

Cohort IV Begins
Tuesday August 29

TLC Reunion/Retreat
Friday and Saturday September 8 & 9

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Looking for Waldo Mon, 30 Jan 2017 16:28:07 +0000

“I was ready to be sought by those who did not ask for me; I was ready to be found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘Here am I, here am I.’”

(Isaiah 65:1 ESV)

This passage reminds me of the evening ritual my son and I had before his bedtime. Adam was a huge fan of Where’s Waldo books, and rather than read a story (I know-bad mom) we would pour over those crazy drawings. Each turn of the page presented different illustrations depicting various events with what seemed like thousands of people. Together, we would scan the drawings for one thing: a tall, slim, funny looking fellow with round glasses and a red and white knit cap named, you guessed it, Waldo. He was not easy to find as he was drawn in surreptitiously amongst the activities, actions, and hordes of people in each scene. With practice Adam and I got pretty good at finding him: one because we knew he was there, and two because we took the time to look for him.

I am not the first to see the correlation between the spiritual life and Waldo, but when I read the above passage in Isaiah with this invitation from God, it made me think of looking at the Where’s Waldo books without looking for Waldo. We would have missed the whole point!

How often do I go throughout my day like the characters in the Waldo books: unaware that somewhere God is hidden in the picture, inviting me to come look for him, to come and cry out for him? Often I simply forget to look; other times I am too preoccupied to look; and sometimes I don’t want to look. What if I do find him—then things will have to change. I will have to change. You can’t find the living God of the universe and not be impacted. I know that my deepest desire, my truest self, wants to find him, to have him mess with me, to change me. But there is another part (the flesh) that say’s, “Hey, I’m fine, thank you very much.”

I have such fond memories of looking for Waldo with Adam. It was a ritual at night, but like most things in life I had no idea that God was there too, and that God would use that little life experience to teach me a great truth. God is always in my story but I need to practice persistently looking for him. I need to remember God is crying out to me, “Here, am I, here am I!” Oh that I would have ears to hear and eyes to see where God is hidden or where God is speaking! Oh that I would remember that God is in every scene, every frame of this thing that is the story of my life! Lord, let me see You, let me hear You in the story of my life events today. May it be our ritual together.

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What’s the Big Deal About the Kingdom? Mon, 30 Jan 2017 17:41:06 +0000

Have you ever asked yourself that question? I’ve wondered about this for years but never felt like I got a satisfying answer. The gospels use the word kingdom so often it is hard to miss. “Jesus went through out Galilee… preaching the good news about the kingdom of God” (my paraphrase of Matt. 4:23, Matt 9:35 and Luke 4:43) Jesus’ parables often start out with: “The kingdom of God is like…” followed by a story like metaphor for some aspect of Jesus’ kingdom culture. We are exhorted to have “ears to hear” – as though there were a secret message hidden within his parable.

Dallas Willard was the first person that really helped me to understand the mystery of all this “kingdom” language through a lecture series called…wait for it, “The Kingdom of God Teaching Series”. Words like government, society, culture, or country convey the idea that Jesus is introducing through the word kingdom. One doesn’t have to travel very far to meet people from another country. Quickly we realize the differences in language, dress, mannerisms, food, entertainment; the list is endless.

Once we understand that Jesus is talking about his country, his culture; then we realize he is extending us a personal invitation. It’s as if he is saying, “Repent – rethink your thinking – for God’s country is right here” or, “Hey think about it, how is this life working for you? Why don’t you move to my country? The door is wide open but you will have to constantly be repenting – thinking it out again – because this is upside down, opposite everything you’ve come to expect. Do I have your attention now? Then join me in my kingdom enterprise.”

There’s no need to get all cleaned up or run to the post office and get a passport. Shockingly the door is open to anyone. Rather get ready for a mind altering, heart opening, soul cleansing experience. We’ll find we are more at home, all the while more confused then we’ve ever felt in our life. We die a thousand deaths only to be reborn again and again.  We realize this kingdom is all around. It is available all the time, but we will have to learn to see it because it is an invisible reality. We find we are developing eyes that see and ears that hear.

When I first invited Jesus into my life I thought his job was to help me live my life as I became like him, but I was missing something. The realization that God’s kingdom is an invisible reality that I am continually being invited into changed my paradigm. I realized my job was to learn that language, that culture, that etiquette and the ways God’s country operates. It was like learning that the sun didn’t revolve around the earth but in fact the opposite was true. What a relief to not be the center of the story, instead I’m invited into another reality, the God life, and the larger story that is referred to by the simple but profound word – kingdom.

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