Not Scaring Others Off


I know nothing of this author or his book, but I woke up to this in my inbox this morning.

This is what I wish the Bible-thumpers would understand, and I wish I’d known it before I got into my 50s. If we could understand what he says here we will find ourselves in conversations that matter with people. If we don’t, we’ll forever wonder why people run from us…

Parker J. Palmer in The Courage to Teach:

If we want to support each other’s inner lives, we must remember a simple truth: the human soul does not want to be fixed, it wants simply to be seen and heard. If we want to see and hear a person’s soul, there is another truth we must remember: the soul is like a wild animal – tough, resilient, and yet shy. When we go crashing through the woods shouting for it to come out so we can help it, the soul will stay in hiding. But if we are willing to sit quietly and wait for a while, the soul may show itself.

13 thoughts on “Not Scaring Others Off”

  1. The 9 Arts of Spiritual Conversations: Walking Alongside People Who Believe Differently
    by Mary Schaller e-kindle on Amazon for 9.99 CDN is a pretty awesome read. The paragraph
    alone by Parker J. Palmer in The Courage to Teach: is an awesome game changer. It kind of cycles back to the Church Outside the Walls, “How Did We Get This Way”?

  2. Definitely concur. And paraphrasing you, we really don’t want a teaching, sermon or lecture but a genuine life that shares itself with us in an uncritical way.

  3. That quote touches me deeply, both personally and professionally. I am on this journey of finding out who i am without ‘church’. I have experienced the fixing thing and i must have tried at times to fix others.
    I am discovering connecting with people in the everyday as well as finding others of faith who encourage me. Thank you for the encouragement of your blog. Your honesty is really helpful and helps me to understand why i have felt and thought over many years. I find myself connecting with God and others in a more real way that i ever have. Still with much more to discover though!

  4. “This is the covenant I will make with them after that time says the Lord. I will put my laws in their minds, and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, ‘know the Lord’, because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest.” Heb8:10-11

    I am more convinced than ever that we try way too hard to do things we were never intended to do. Remember when we were children and we thought like children? Dad had rules like “don’t touch the fireplace or the stove…ever”, and don’t do this and don’t do that, in order to keep us safe because we lacked judgement and understanding, and for a time it was good and constructive, but there was more behind the instruction and the rules. There was a “spirit” behind it all meant to keep us from harming ourselves and each other. As we got older we began to use the stove and light fires in the fireplace and we realized the rules were never the point…the point or the spirit behind it all was the point (not harming our-self or others ). Once we grew up a bit and got the “point”, once it was engrained, written on our hearts and minds, there was no need for the rules that governed “the point”. I think the point isn’t about getting good at quoting scripture or engaging in advanced “bible-speak” in order to convince, or win, or convert. I think the point is simply to embody “the point”, to grow up. Is this not what Paul is referring to when he says that when perfect comes the imperfect disappears? Which also then becomes a much more “organic” fellowship between ourselves, humanity, and Father God.

  5. It reminds me of how one coaxes an an animal to themselves. An animal won’t come to you if you approach it aggressively, no matter how great the treat you may offer them. If you ever hope to connect with them, you have to get down on their level and sit still…and wait.

  6. Clare Daubeny (number 5 God Journey!)

    Yes Wayne this arrived this week to me also via Plough Publishing Daily Dig and I love it too and take it fully on board. Very true

  7. Are you a horse?

    At the risk of Love . . .
    We engage our heart
    finding . . .
    Being broken like a Horse;
    our Reality is . . .
    We are broken by ourselves,
    as we yield to Love that has no agenda.
    The Love funnel . . .
    As Love serves our need,
    broken and repaired simultaneously,
    The Love Paradox.


    Life is complexly simple if we let it. Life can
    also become very complicated depending on the
    keyhole we view it through.
    Using this example of a Horse and the comparison
    with the old way Horses were broken in, I make the
    point of what Love will do.
    LOVE never fails
    LOVE has undefined power to bring about change.
    Understanding this as revelation occurs, we discover
    both our need and ourselves.

  8. So very good Wayne! Thank you for sharing this. I read a book by Brian McLaren several years ago called “More ready than you realize”. He was attempting to change the Bible Thumping method of evangelism to seeing evangelism more as dance. It resonated in my heart at the time but because I was still stuck in a performance based Christianity, with my heart not yet captured by Father’s love, this just became another method that I attempted to employ. A principle, if you will. After hearing you and Brad discuss our relationship with Father as a dance in one of your former podcasts. A dance with Him leading and me responding to his nudges I realize now why this wasn’t working in my life because I had the cart before the horse. It’s become far more clear these days that without Father’s transformational love changing us from the inside/out it’s impossible to even employ the, evangelism as dance method, because without His nudges gently guiding us, it only becomes another dead work without his leading. Just some things that occurred to me this morning. Thanks again.

  9. Wow Wayne!
    Thank you for this. Definitely agree with Michael Cox. Kevin the scripture you share is perfectly in line with this. Oh! My soul rejoice with this truth!

  10. Some pretty profound thinking here. When we bring our self imposed nonrelational agendas to any encounter we miss the opportunity to connect in a genuine way.

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