Sunday, January 01, 2017

Servant Listening

Our sanctuary - Jan. 1, 2017 - a great place for listening.

I received some new books for Christmas. One is The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness In a World of Distraction, by Adam McHugh. I read books like this slowly, like a steady rain soaks the receptive earth. As I read, I listen.

Listening always preceded evaluating. The fool evaluates without listening.

Most people cannot listen. McHugh writes:

"We love to talk about listening. It’s easier than actually listening. There is much lip service paid to listening, but listening is a service of the ear, the mind and the heart. Listening is an act of servanthood, and serving is hard. There are no accolades in serving. When a servant is doing his job, no one notices. If we wish to imitate Jesus and become servants, we must learn how to listen." (McHugh, Kindle Locations 206-208)

This is the core of being a follower of Jesus; viz., servanthood. Real servants listen, and discern. McHugh calls this "servant listening." He writes:

"Servant listening is an act of surrender, in which we lay down our verbal weapons, our preconceived notions, our quick advice and our desire to steer the conversation toward ourselves. We release our grasp on the terms and direction of the conversation." (Kindle Locations 204-205)

Servant listening is an act of freedom. Only a free person who trusts in God can let go of the fallen tendency to evaluate without a clue.

My recent book is Praying: Reflections on 40 Years of Solitary Conversations with God.

I'm teaching a five-month class on prayer, beginning Sat., Jan. 7, at Redeemer.