Where to Find the Tool of the Day
If your congregation's membership includes medical professionals, you may be able to borrow a medical stethoscope. Online, you can purchase a spy toy listening device such as the keychain spy listener ($5) or the supersonic ear ($20).
Listening tubes made of rolled paper, large sea shells, or cupped hands work in a pinch as listening tools. Audio headphones will do, symbolically, as the Tool of the Day.
Unitarian Universalist Sermons on Listening
Reverend Ellen Cooper-Davis presented a sermon, "Listening to Center," on October 15, 2006, at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal, Illinois. The sermon reads, in part:
Hearing a story in its own context means that we are attending to what the listener is saying right then, in that moment. We are not filling in information, imagining the ways they will end the sentence, jumping to conclusions or interrupting. It means we are radically present to that person in that moment. It also means that we are listening for the heart of the person's experience, beneath the veneer that their words may be putting on it. This is sacred work.
You can request a copy from the church office.
Reverend Ann C. Fox presented "Deep Listening" on October 13, 2002, to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Fairhaven, Massachusetts. The sermon describes the spiritual power of deep listening and offers concrete guidance for becoming a better listener. It reads, in part:
Our lives and our relationships could be greatly improved and more rewarding if we experienced more listening. Deep listening, listening with the entire focus of our minds is a central teaching of the Buddha from the Lotus Sutra. The Buddhist monk, Thich Naht Hanh, says that a great deal of unhappiness is caused in the world because people do not feel listened to.
Online "Listen" Exhibit
The San Francisco Exploratorium website describes the online exhibit, "Listen: Making Sense of Sound," as:
... a collection of interactive, ears-on exhibits... (which) help visitors focus on subtle and profound aspects of hearing, experiment with new ways of listening deeply and carefully, and think about how others hear the world and focus on subtle and profound aspects of hearing.
Of particular relevance to this session is an interview with an auto mechanic, Lisa Miller, who discusses diagnostic listening for cars, and uses a mechanic's stethoscope. There are a variety of online activities, as well.
"The Name Game" and Shirley Ellis
Find out more about the recordings and career of Shirley Ellis, the creator and original singer of "The Name Game," released in 1964. See a clip of Shirley Ellis performing her song, "The Name Game," on YouTube, or type your name into an interactive box on Randy and Jen Cox's personal website to play "The Name Game" online.