Friday, February 08, 2008

Stop Look and Listen

Many a times I forget to listen. I'm a ENFP and I'm naturally excitable and can get extremely focused on dreams, cuases and ideas. I attempt to convince people that the ideas I have are the most important and most valuable for them. Some are just personally very, very important to me (Like the best way to have a coffee - its a heresy to do certain things to your coffee and I will tell them about it in no uncertain terms - i'm also a coffee snob - no star bucks for me!) but there are other ideas that I think I have some good thoughts on or things that we should be doing that I will tell you about becuase I'm excited about them. I'm naturally an advocate and will advocate strongly for my passions. But the issue with this is I can forget to listen, listen to the other voices that are crying out to be heard and to be listened to.

I had a good lesson in this over the last few days. Me and my younger brother Ben went up to the Wairapa for a guys day at the maslins farm. Most of those who went are probrably about five or six years my younger. I found the conversations fascinating to listen to from a vantage point. Some of the conclusions that they were coming out with sounded fairly similar to what I came out with at thier age. Others represented conclusions I had just come to now.

I just love the idealism though with teenagers. The willingness to give ideas and challenge the past preconceptions. Some of thier thoughts made me cringe and I just had to say something. Like when one of the guys said "The morning church focuses too much on mission." It was one of those moments (due to my passion for mission!) that I had to respond. But most of the time I listened.

It was great, we had some awesome conversations in the car on the way back. One on the dangers of prosperity doctrine, the bahai religion (which was short and sweet) and one conversation of buddhism. I enjoy the willingness they had to talk about different beleif systems while refering to christianity as the story beleive is the one true story of redemption, love, grace, our human condition and who God really is.

Conversation is really important to me. I need it. It gives me great stimulous. Over the last couple of years I have had some really really good conversations about spirituality and I hope to have many more over the years. I really enjoy hearing the desires of peoples hearts. I love being able to wrestle with people, share my life with them. I enjoy humbly being a prescence of Jesus in these enviroments sharing my life with people.

Listening is important too. I walked down into town yesterday. I stopped at the top of the hill and looked out upon the beautiful city that I live in. I had another moment of realisation that God has put me here for a reason, that this is when God wants me and that I've been called to be in a conversation with this city.

The importance of listening is that only then can we learn what makes the places we live beat, what is causing pain in the place we live, what causes pain to the people who live thier. We need to listen to both the dreams of those around us and the pains of those around us. Only then do we have to right to humbly respond.

I dislike the way many have come to beleive there is a culture war going on within society between "family values" or "Christian values" and secular society. Many times they have come to beleive there is no hope for society (denying the awesome power of Jesus to change the hearts of people) and closing themselves off from the lost. At worst they decide that to show that they are right, they bomb abortion clinics or treat homosexuals as unhuman through slurs and isolation. Rather than being agents of love and grace and being Jesus and bringing the message of love and forgiveness to the lost. Dialoging and sharing life as Jesus would do.

But I also find it disheartening to see the truth become less and less relevant. People who turn to alcohol, drugs, sex, work, money etc for fulfillment only to find there is no wholeness in these ventures, they find that all thier quests end in the words of the writer of ecclessiates that they are "meaningless, a chasing after the wind."

As you know I beleive that Jesus offers a new way to be human. He offers wholeness for us broken vessels. Jesus came to earth and lived among us to show love, to show a new way to live, and went to die on a cross as an ultimate act of love becoming forsaken so we could be forgiven and so we could have hope in the resurrection of the dead and receive eternal life.

Becuase of this I beleive we need to be constantly in conversation with the lost, the hungry, the lonely, the poor, and the weak. Sharing Jesus with everyone in the way we live.

So we should remember to stop look and listen to those around us.


Rev. Don Spitz said...

You believe in murdering unborn children in their mother's womb and yet you condemn those who would save those children's lives. You need to be saved from your sins.

Nathanael Baker said...

"You beleive in murdering unborn children in thier mothers womb and yet you condemn those who would save those children's lives"

I don't think blowing people up saves peoples lives, actually it goes totally against that.

I would say that I'm proudly prolife but I'm not going to blow anyone up for my beleifs!

Where will my focus be, providing care for pregnant women, being there for those who make the decision to have children, even providing support and pastoral care for those who have abortions, becuase I beleive that would be what Jesus would do.