What are you teaching me but don’t know you are?
These learnings for me are whispers heard in conversations which move through a journey of inquiry.
Through humble inquiry (opening mind) I discover what you know but I do not,
Through diagnostic inquiry (opening heart), we discover what is most important of all to each other
Through confrontational inquiry (opening will), we identify what we can do together, and determine not to be put off by what gets in the way of this.*
This process is infused with the prophetic. If Walter Brueggemann’s definition of what makes Human history is useful, then history comprises of both crying out and being heard. He claims, ‘the task of prophecy is to empower people to engage in history,’ which is, ensuring people’s cries are being answered.
When people cry out, and there is no answer, the prophet emerges in the form of women and men who hope for more with those who cry out. The tasks of the prophet are those of inquiring, listening, and whispering.
In particular, there is in every person, a restlessness which will not go away. It is not easy to voice this, and when others hear it, they are not sure how to respond. The response might be well intentioned, but unhelpful, like the “off the peg” euphemism – “another door will open, you’ll see” – or in some deep care – “don’t worry about it, I’m here.”
It’s not the prophetic process is not caring, it’s just that it cares too much to leave us without new hope anchored in reality and possibility.
Here is the timeless story of the protagonist who wants something and overcomes all obstacles to get it and to bring it back for others.**
“In that special silence, you can hear or see, or get a strong sense of something that wants to happen that you wouldn’t be aware of otherwise.”^
(*Humble, diagnostic, and confrontational inquiry are the three elements of Edgar Schein’s process inquiry, from Humble Inquiry, which I have overlaid with the three elements of Theory U from Otto Scharmer.)
(**Check out Joseph Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces.)
(^Joseph Jaworski, from Peter Senge, Otto Scharmer, Joseph Jaworski, and Betty Sue Flowers Presence.)