On Franciscan Peace, Podcast #3: Bill Schmitt and David Seitz, Part Two

Jesus Heals Blind Bartimaeus, Johann Heinrich Stoever, 1861

Click on the play button below to listen to the podcast: (For part one, click here.)

Possible Questions for Discussion:

Julian the Apostate said “Christians were making Romans look bad because they were offering charity not just to other Christians, but to non-Christians as well.”  This “love-in-action” was a major catalyst in lifting Christianity to its place as the dominant religion of the west.  “Love-in-action” does not seem to be a direct example of dialogue.  Do you agree, however, with David and Bill, that it can open pathways to deeper conversations and thus help Peace to thrive in our world?

Are you a person who likes to listen to the stories of others?  Or are you more likely to find someone else’s story tedious?  When I first listened to these podcasts, I had to admit to myself that I probably fell in the latter category.  It made me realize that this is something I had to work on if I were to become a successful peacemaker.  Is there anything else in these two podcasts that made you think, “I need to work on that in order to become a better listener and thus a better peacemaker?

Some of the traits of St. Francis that we most admire seem to be traits that a good listener would have.  A simple approach to the world, humility and a respect for Creation (which naturally translates into a respect for all our brothers and sisters) were mentioned.  Are these traits that you already equated with being a good listener, or did you have to consider this before you agreed, or disagreed?

Bill and Dave talk about people as a commodity.  When Dave became the minister for his region, he set himself a goal of putting “people before tasks.”  Jesus was good at this.  He often embraced interruption in order to listen to someone who might not have otherwise been on his radar.  Think perhaps of blind Bartimaeus in Mark, Chapter 10.  Do you feel the need to work at putting “people before tasks” as part of your development as a peacemaker?     

Dave described his dinner encounter with former national minister Tom Bello by saying that Tom made him feel that “he was the most important person in the world.”  He described this as a spiritual gift that Tom had cultivated.  Do you know someone with that same gift?  If you think about it, are there things you can do to cultivate this skill in yourself?  How would improving this quality in yourself make you a better peacemaker?  

Further Thought:
Dave summarizes the overall discussion by reinforcing one last time that the unceasing build up of Peace depends on dialogue.  We must be willing to listen to the human story of the other.  By the end of the dialogue, we may not find ourselves in agreement but we accept that it’s ok to have differences. The one thing we do agree on is our responsibility to respect each other as human beings created in the image of God.  That sounds easy on the surface, but if the current polarization in our culture is any indication, it surely is not.  

  • Am I, in the role of peacemaker that the gospels and the Rule calls me to, willing to respect the other even if they do not return that respect? 
  • If enough of us are willing to risk unreturned respect, could that serve as a ground zero for a resurgence of Peace and unity in our world? 
  • Is this a risk that Francis and Jesus took? Must we take it as well if we are to emulate them? 

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