Gregory C. Ellison II is Associate Professor of Pastoral Care and Counseling at Candler School of Theology, Emory University. He is the founder of Fearless Dialogues, a grassroots community initiative that draws unlikely partners together to create positive change in self and others. This process stands on three pillars: See. Hear. Change. It places primary emphasis on seeing and hearing as gateways to transformation.
Fearless Dialogues are laboratories for nurturing reverence and wonder. American culture has brainwashed people about "stranger danger" and others fears that can morph into paranoia. One of the major challenges facing black youth is ostracism. The theologian Howard Thurman observed in Inward Journey:
"To be ignored, to be passed over as of no account and of no meaning is to be made into a faceless thing, not a man. It is better to be the complete victim of an anger unstrained and a wrath which knows no bounds, to be torn asunder without mercy or to be battered to a pulp by angry violence, than to be passed over."
Fearless Dialogue enables us to focus attention on the real; as Jesuit priest Walter J. Burghardt put it: "The real, reality, is not reducible to some far-off, intangible God-in-the-sky. Reality is living, pulsing people." Ellison presents "The Long Loving Look at the Real " as a start-up spiritual practice. The author then charts the challenges of crafting communal spaces for asking hard questions, listening empathetically, and inviting the inner teacher of the soul to be present as a guide.
Ellison ends this inspiring paperback with a process of reflective listening around questions — see the practice here.