The Thirty Minute Blogger

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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Faithful People: Listen and Help

One of my seminary professors told us ministers-to-be that God just doesn't need us to defend God. That is not our job. I've been tempted lately to write argumentative posts against some pretty silly notions that have been gaining traction lately (the one aggravating me the most lately assumes children are stupid but I'll say no more), but have been restrained time and again from acting upon that impulse. Who needs another voice saying, buddy, that just ain't so?!

Instead, God reminded me last night of at least one thing I should be doing instead. It is something I have the gifts to do. I was at a banquet with my family. On one occasion, during the dinner, the person next to me asked me what I did for a living. Discovering I am an American Baptist minister--and after a short and reassuring conversation about what that meant--led to a long and interesting discussion in which I listened more than I spoke. We found some great common ground. It was quite nice.

Later, the bartender caught my eye. He looked beat. I went over and talked to him for a while. It was late. The crowd was dispersing. We had an opportunity. I mentioned he looked ready for the night to end. One thing led to another. My career came up again ... but only after I learned some fascinating things about his two careers ... and once again we had a long and rewarding conversation. Reassurance was provided when needed and all was well with the evening.

With all the arguments going around, all the downright weird accusations, all the lines drawn in the sand by angry people on extremes of just about everything, we could use a whole lot less grandstanding from soapboxes and a lot more human discussions one-on-one dealing about our common issues ... and being human, living in a rough and tumble world where life gets hard ... where we often make it harder ... we do suffer many things together, no matter what we do or don't believe. We can find common ground if we take the time to listen. From there, we can do some wonderful things together and with much better understanding. There's no getting rich or famous doing this. There's no making of news. There's no winning of arguments or beating of opponents. But, it is one of the things faithful folk are called to do. It comes under that second great commandment. 

3 comments:

Bob Lewis said...

Stolen and Shared ( the link anyway)

A GREAT post.

Sir Cake said...

We do need to communicate better, whether you believe (as you do) or not (me). There's far too much yelling and judging, and not enough talking. We have to listen, think, and empathize better. All of us.

J.S. Brooks said...

Hi Bob, Glad to hear it. Sir Cake, we are in agreement. How much more we could all accomplish together.