After thinking about how ‘taking care‘ is a sign of sacred space I want to examine another feature of the sacred, namely revelation.
Hermanowicz, a specialist in sociological methods which are interpretive rather than statistical, argues that the interview is an intimate encounter with the aim of encouraging or facilitating the interviewee to uncover themselves. Hermanowicz explicitly uses a sexual/romantic metaphor to explore this dynamic between the interviewer and the interviewee. This uncovering is both a process by which the interviewee articulates hidden or less visible parts of their life but also involves a process by which the interviewee comes to share components of their experience which they had not been fully aware of before.
Obviously such intimacy involves a form of trust and care which must be respected by the researcher. It is clearly inappropriate to abuse that uncovering.
Here I want to draw a comparison between this form of uncovering and revelation. To uncover is to reveal; and this revelation is both to the interviewer and also to the person who is speaking. When God is revealed to us it is not in the form of theological propositions: rather God is revealed to us (cf. Bro. of Jared). God shares with us him/herself; revelation is a self-giving act.
I want to propose that Home and Visiting teachers should aspire to this kind of experience in their visits. It occurs to me that revelation should be the goal of our time together and that this should be a kind of uncovering (predicated on mutual trust and respect). The key difference between HT/VT and the interview setting described above is that the uncovering should not be unidirectional. All participants should be willing to enact and accept this form of revelation.
Using this as a criteria suggests the ability to move beyond vague notions of ‘having the spirit’ with us in a visit (seemingly defined as the nice feeling that attends being cared for) and toward a more specific conception of what it means to enter a form of shared life. Admittedly these experiences are not common, for a variety of reasons, but using this notion of revelation as our aim might help us to focus upon those things which will appropriately facilitate intimacy and fellowship. Focusing upon this form of revelation might lead us into different answers when we ask ourselves about the message we are to share, the service we are to perform, where we should meet and when.
Revelation is, in part, revealing ourselves to another while also coming to a deeper awareness of ourselves. I believe HT/VT can provide a space in which we are safe to experience this form of revelation.