A Book Discussion

At VantagePoint3, we have been cultivating the art of seeing others for 23 years . Close friends know that we call this “particularizing a person.” As our lives and the communities we lead continue to re-calibrate and lean into what matters most in 2024, the importance of relationships is front and center


As a team, we have been captivated by David Brooks’ newest book, How to Know a Person: The Art of Seeing Others Deeply and Being Deeply Seen. 


David Brooks is an outstanding, curious journalist with a proven track record as an author and thought leader. He wrote this book out of a desire to improve his human relationship skills and out of the conviction that he wasn’t very good at seeing and noticing others. Brooks believes that one of society’s most pressing needs is to go deeper with others. He also builds the case through the book that this skill can be learned.


In a New York Times interview, Brooks says, “I’m not an exceptional person, but I am a grower. I do have the ability to look at my shortcomings and then try to prod myself into becoming a more fully developed person.” 


At VantagePoint3, we are a network of “growers.”  That’s what God made us to do! But we can develop this more deeply for ourselves and those we lead!


Brooks goes on to say, “Being openhearted is a prerequisite for being a full, kind and wise human being. But it is not enough. People need social skills. The real process of, say, building a friendship or creating a community involves performing a series of small, concrete actions well:

  • Being curious about other people
  • Disagreeing without poisoning relationships
  • Revealing vulnerability at an appropriate pace
  • Being a good listener
  • Knowing how to ask for and offer forgiveness
  • Knowing how to host a gathering where everyone feels embraced
  • Knowing how to see things from another’s point of view.”

I’ve slowly inhaled Brooks’ book from cover to cover with more underlines and dog-eared pages than those that are not. He is talking about the work we do through building up mentors and our VP3 processes, but he does so with language, depth, and insights that are helping me improve my skill set and desire to hear and see others more deeply.

Are you captivated yet??

A Longing for Spiritual Conversation…

A few years ago I stumbled across a journal entry of Henri Nouwen; and as so often before, his words deeply resonated with my heart. Nouwen wrote,

“I have come to realize how hard it is to have a real spiritual conversation. I keep wondering how people with deep religious convictions can speak together at table about the life of the Spirit…. It always strikes me how grateful people are for a good spiritual conversation, but also how hard it is to make such a conversation happen.”

In the circles in which I move, I sense a longing among people for better conversations, more soulish conversations, conversations around the big questions and wonderings of their lives. And yet, despite all this longing, people confess a reluctance, or perhaps inability, to initiate such spiritual conversations. Why is this and what can we, who feel such things, do about it? 

From youth soccer sidelines or neighborhood chit chat to informal dinner conversations to small group Bible Studies or mentoring appointments, how can we deepen our conversations?

To begin with, I want to invite you to watch our webinar Jump Starts for Intentional Spiritual Conversations, in which we dove into this set of questions. 

In preparation for this time, I found myself deeply affirming that the quality of conversation we offer others is inextricably tied to the quality of attention we provide others. How then can we grow in an attentiveness that leads to cultivating more meaningful spiritual conversation? 

Three initial thoughts come to mind, growing edges of sorts, for those of us who long for better spiritual companionship and conversation.  Read More

learn to be a mentor

A small yet powerful matter

I pin my hopes to quiet processes and small circles, in which vital and transforming events take place.

Rufus Jones (1863-1948)

Adults need a space and place to move deeply into their own experience and grow in the light of Jesus and his way in the world. Simply telling others where they must go or what they must do won’t cut it. Our mentoring tables need to be set for unhurried conversation.

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