Pastors, Car Accidents & A@$ Holes…REALLY?

 

listening but not really

by Kenneth Justice

~Yesterday at coffee a young woman sat down next to me and had an obnoxiously loud phone conversation that I did my best to ignore. After she finished the call it was clear that she was upset over something because she repeatedly kept making one long “SIGH” after another….

To be honest, I was trying to pretend that I couldn’t hear her loud “SIGHING” because among other reasons I was in the middle of trying to read an interesting blog post that a pastor had written about me in which he was refuting one of my articles.

After 6 or 7 minutes of her loud “SIGHING” though I couldn’t take it anymore so I closed up my I-Pad and struck up a conversation with her, “So it sounds like your phone call didn’t go well” I said

You don’t know the half of it!” the stranger said, “I was in a car accident last week and this guy rear ended me totally crushing the rear of my car…I’ve never been in an accident before and this whole last week has been overwhelming…”

It turns out that she was living in New York for the past 6 years because of college and work…but recently had to move back home with her parents due to personal problems which we will omit from the story…..

We talked for a half hour or so until her sister arrived to take her to work…..and to be honest, I was very uninterested in the conversation. I had been up since early in the morning yesterday and had hoped to have a simple coffee and some time to myself…..unfortunately my 45 minute lunch break was entirely monopolized by the young woman and her troubles.

But for that young woman…..she really needed to let off some steam. I’ve been in a couple car accidents in the past and  I know how stressful the experience can be; having to deal with car insurance companies, deductibles, and other whatnot can really get to you…..

I didn’t offer her any great nuggets of wisdom, I merely listened to her and said, “Yea, I’ve been rear ended myself and I know how much of a hassle it can all be“; I empathized with her….because that is all she was looking for me to do; she just wanted someone to listen to her complain.

Did I really need to spend that lunch break all-by-myself; No….. I get up early in the morning every day and always have 2-3 hours to myself without fail…..so its not like I couldn’t spare a little bit of time listening to that young woman’s troubles. To be honest….I didn’t really want to listen to her; I could tell that whatever conversation we had would be all about her and that she wasn’t looking for any back-and-forth communication. It’s not like I wake up every morning hoping that I can spend half my day listening to strangers talk…..but sometimes life isn’t about what I want.

So much of our lives remind me of that situation yesterday; we do things not because we have to….but because its a loving thing to do;

—-) Parents don’t always feel like spending time with their children but they do so because that is what good parents do

—-) Teachers don’t always feel like listening to their students….but sometimes listening is what builds the blocks to more effective teaching…sometimes a student needs to be listened to more than they need to be talked at….

—-) We don’t ‘have’ to help the homeless, the single mothers, the people without faces…..but we do so because we can; because we have the ability to and because we love them…..

Sometimes we simply have to be there for someone; we don’t have to say anything, we don’t have to share any valuable wisdom or life experience….we simply have to be there.

When I was younger I was taught a misguided view of Jesus; he was portrayed to me as some great preacher; as a dude who walked around and talked at people everywhere he went. So when I was a twenty-something, I believed it was my responsibility to ‘be like Jesus’ and talk at people; and for many years I was nothing more than a Christian a** hole.……

It wasn’t until my late twenties that I began to see that what I had been taught about Jesus wasn’t the whole story; the reason people gave him their ears….was because of the countless hours he spent listening to them.

You see, the misguided Christian culture I was raised in believes that it is the Pastor’s job to first and foremost preach at people….and this then is taught to the laity; ‘go out into the world and preach at people the good news’ is what they say.

But, when I went back to stories of Jesus as I became older I began to see an entirely different dude than I had been taught about as a youth;

—-) There he is listening and loving a woman who is sleeping around more than Paris Hilton

—-) There he is ministering to a woman with a menstrual problem

—-) There he is listening to the petty bickering of his close friends

—-) There he is hanging out at parties where people are getting wasted

—-) There he is touching the sick, the leprous, and the lame

Jesus was called the good shepherd….and lets be honest; shepherds are first-and-foremost NOT preachers; but rather they are caretakers….they look after the sheep.

So did I preach at the young woman who sat down with me yesterday? Nope. In fact, I rarely ever talk ‘at’ people anymore…..its not my style. I don’t want to be nothing more than another Christian a*$ hole…there are already enough of them out there.

Instead of condemning Muslims, atheists, Hindus, and everyone else who is not a Christian….I would much rather interact with them having positive dialogue…..I’d rather reach out and love others by being there for them to the best of my ability……even though admittedly; its not always ‘what I want to do’…but sometimes its not about what we ‘want to do’….its about what we must doits about doing whats right….

For now the right thing to do is for me to order another coffee,

Kenneth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



Categories: Religion

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96 replies

  1. Hey, I have a coffee shop story. I stopped in my afternoon to sit and talk to my credit card co. Then as I sipped a text came. It was a stranger that had been at my spiritual fellowship. She got my name and number off a schedule of meetings where we write our names for new women. She was really having a bad afternoon. Her text writing was badly misspelled and she told me she was with her common law husband for 13 years. I hadn’t even remembered seeing her and I was judging her. I thought about my problem. That my character is riddled with what does not seem like brotherly love. The next day I sent her texts. I met her at the meeting and hugged her. All of this did not take much from me but meant the world to her.

    • “All of this did not take much from me but meant the world to her.”

      Ellen, great story and that last line is really touching; because that is what goes through my mind so often; it takes SO LITTLE for me to listen to someone or interact with them but the LITTLE that we do can mean SO MUCH to others 🙂

  2. Thank you again !! May we all be blessed with even more time to listen to others with the heart to do so!

  3. it is about doing the right thing. making the world a better place one person at a time. not converting but helping not changing but understanding
    one great post to be reading on while having a coffee.

    • I wish more religious institutions saw the world this way (some do, but not many in my experience).

      Reading this makes me think of a church I once attended. They supported a pro-life viewpoint, but they didn’t shame women who had abortions or were thinking about it. They didn’t preach at them or condemn them to hell. Actually, they didn’t even say the word abortion. Instead, they talked about a charity program they started to provide for the needs of single mothers. They asked for donations of strollers, cribs and diapers. I think they may have even had a sign up sheet for people who would be willing to babysit for free.

      The church did their share of talking at people, and I’m sure the women who came for help were preached to on some level. I just thought it was a kinder way to support the pro-life viewpoint then the shaming we see in the media. They weren’t saying “don’t have an abortion. You must live with your sin.” Instead, they said, “look at this gift God gave you. I know it’s hard to see it that way now, so let me help. It will be worth it in the end.”

      Someone at that church listened to the women, who were scared for a list of reasons, and created something to address those fears.

  4. I agree that Christians need to be involved in dialogue with the world – and dialogue means we listen. There is a place for preaching, however.

    The Apostle Paul writes in Ephesians 4 ~ “It was He who gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip God’s people for works of service…”

    And even Jesus was called Rabbi. He listened, yes, but he also preached 🙂

    • The preaching of Jesus was an extension of his service… For most pastors and preachers today their ‘preaching’ comes first and their service is secondary; they have it backwards.

      Here is a simple blog article on the subject of jesus being a servant <click>

      Here are three must read books by theologian Ronald Sider & theologian mark Noll for anyone who wants to talk with me more seriously on the topic, read these books and I can have a deeper discussion;

      1> http://www.amazon.com/Rich-Christians-Age-Hunger-Generosity/dp/0849945305
      2>http://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Evangelical-Conscience-Christians-Living/dp/0801065410
      3>http://www.amazon.com/Scandal-Evangelical-Mind-Mark-Noll/dp/0802841805

    • In the post-resurrection world, the early church had a division of labor so that all people could exercise God-given gifts. Even the Apostles appointed deacons to serve so that the Apostles could focus their attention to prayer and “ministry of the word.” The result in the division of labor was the spread of the Gospel (Acts 6).

    • I’ve no respect for pastors who aren’t willing to imitate Jesus….any pastor who merely wants the primacy of their ministry to be preaching can go back to seminary as far as I’m concerned.

      We are not called to imitate paul or the disciples in the book of acts: we are called to imitate Paul AS HE IMITATED JESUS…..

      Pope Francis seems to have a much more biblical understanding than that which you’re trying to express <pope hugs disfigured man>

      but I think we’ve established that you can’t stand what I have to say about Jesus….its evident by your comments past and present…perhaps you hate what I believe, perhaps you are stubborn in your beliefs, perhaps you’re merely hung up on being obsessed with preaching….I really don’t know

    • I’m not sure why you’re getting riled up – I’m not angry or rude but trying to dialogue with you.

      I have no problem with what you have to say about Jesus – I’m not sure where that’s coming from. I do think that ministry is not simply one-sided. You seem to be ignoring the NT passage I mentioned.

      The 1st Century Apostles were concerned about their preaching and teaching ministry and they never went to seminary. It’s about releasing people to exercise the gifts that God has given them.

    • “but trying to dialogue with you”

      Don’t even go there dude; as w/ comments you’ve made on previous threads your monolithic approach ignores anything I say in response to you; you completely ignored the three links I posted for you that gave a deeper theological defense of my position, because you once again ignored me I have no clue if 1) you’ve read the three books I listed 2) read none of the books I listed 3) have a theological problem with the premises of those books….because all you do in your comments is ignore me and respond in your pococurante style.

      “I do think that ministry is not simply one-sided..”

      Your statement is irrelevant because we are living in an era when “ministry” is entirely one sided and slanted toward ministers, preachers, and pastors who are nothing more than talking heads. Where are the servant leaders who spend there weeks in ministry like Jesus and whose sermons are merely an extension of their humble service unto the “the least of these”

      You ignored the link I gave of the pope; where are the masses of preachers and pastors who are hugging (cheek to cheek) the ugly, disfigured, Grotesquely figured people of the world; I see the pope doing it….I seeing Jesus doing it on every page that I turn in the gospels……but what do you want to do; you want to ignore my thesis and have some kind of pithy argument about the right of pastors to “delegate” the dirty work to others so they can spend their days dressed in suits and writing books and blogging!

      Dude, don’t even tell me what dialogue is because that’s all I do; I respond to 1900 comments a week on my blog as well as hundreds of emails every week…and thats on top of my daily vocation….so don’t you come here with some kind of lofty air that “you know how to dialogue” and “Kenneth does not”…..this is now twice in a week youve tried pulling that card and I’ve had enough of it…..

    • I’ve never made any comment about me knowing how to do something you don’t. My remark about dialogue was simply that your anger seems disproportionate to my intent (which is to dialogue).

    • Yet another example of me taking the time to write you a response and you ignoring and not responding to nearly everything I wrote…dude….this is clearly a trend in your style.

    • Didn’t you do the same? You didn’t address my biblical issue from Act 6 and came back at me with your own material.

      Again, I agree that all Christians need to be servants! Your approach, however, neglects the important element of proclamation.

    • This is my last comment here for ya dude cuz I’m not fond of banging my head against a wall; I posted three books by theologians who lay out a deeper foundational basis of where im coming from and now here in yet another comment from you I still have no clue if you’ve read all of them or any of them because you simply won’t respond….so no, I did NOT do the same thing you did….I swear, either you simply don’t read everything that people write, you simply don’t care….or you’re just marching to your own beat….I dunno dude, but this is a trend you display in each of the comments you’ve made on my articles……

    • I read your blog because i enjoy it. I comment on posts to continue conversation. I have commented on more than 2, but you only remember the last two. It seems like you give no latitude for readers to disagree with you. When i disagree with you you get very heated and rude – not necessary. 🙂

      I do read all of your responses. I get where you’re coming from. Even so, I still think you’re missing a piece of the good news – proclamation.

    • “Rabbi” means teacher (as I’m sure you know). Not all teaching is done by using words; very often the best way to teach is by example. Jesus (I use that name under protest, as nothing in Aramaic would sound remotely like that! 🙂 ) would have understood this better than anyone, and he would have also known how his words could and would be misinterpreted and misused for purposes that have nothing to do with love. I’m quite certain that he preferred to demonstrate God’s love in the world by simply acting so that others would follow suit. Words don’t lead to love; love leads to love…

      And yet I always find it interesting how infrequently the words he WAS reported to have used in the Gospels are quoted. One hears a lot of Paul, and WAY too much of Revelation, etc., and yet in all the times I went to church when I considered myself a Christian I don’t believe I ever heard a single reading of the Sermon on the Mount (which, I believe, sums things up better than any other part of the N.T.). I guess it doesn’t mention the word “sin” enough to make people happy!

    • This Sunday I’m concluding a 9-week series through the Sermon on the Mount. We’ve taken it piece by piece to examine how Jesus calls us to live differently than most expect.

      I agree with you that Yeshua demonstrated love, but he was also a teacher. My point was simply that we need to present a balanced view of him; a view that embraces word AND deed.

      🙂

    • That’s good to hear! And I agree that he wants us to live “differently than most expect” and question the assumptions, laws, and downright hard-heartedness that worked against compassion and love for everyone. I frankly don’t think he gave a damn about what is called “sin”, aside, perhaps, from the sin of withholding love.

    • There were encounters he had where he loved on people but then sent them on their way saying, “Go and stop sinning.”

    • So the Gospels say. I don’t mean to offend, but I don’t take everything written in them as “gospel truth.” I could go into the reasons why, and we could debate it, but neither of us would be convinced. I can only say that it’s what I believe in my heart and mind, based on the personal rather than on any given dogma. Call it kind of a gnostic standpoint, in that sense.

      I hope that you have a wonderful and peaceful Christmas!

  5. Good ‘voice’ on this one. Good ‘voice’ on all of them, but y’know…

  6. This was refreshing to me. I have a very hard time with religion as a whole and it is in a big part do to the dogma that lingers all over it. You have an openness to your views which I love and respect. Glad I found your blog (=

    • Tdawneightyone,

      one of the terrible trends in Christian thought for too long has been a stubbornness and unwillingness to dialogue with people. Sadly, too many Christians come off like a@$ hole’s; of which I used to be one for a long time……hopefully I am moving in a different direction from where I was in my youth.

      Thanks for the kind thoughts 🙂

  7. You don’t have to be a Christian to see the wisdom in that. To me, it’s our innate humanity, that we work so desperately to overcome for fear of being “used.”

    • Mikels,

      I totally agree…its not necessarily a ‘Christian’ thing at all….but since I am one I tend to add that dimension to my thought in various ways 🙂

  8. BTW, something in the comments reminds me: in my opinion, Paul was the ultimate Christian ***hole.

    • Mikels,

      lol…perhaps I will tackle that on another day. But I can totally see what you might be getting at because Paul was very much a whole different personality than someone like James for instance or John….Paul’s letters have in many ways been difficult for me to work through my whole life. for whatever its worth; theologian N.T. Wright has been a tremendous breath of fresh air when it comes to my perspectives on Paul 🙂

    • I prefer to let Paul speak for himself, and he comes off as a mean, anti-Semitic misogynist. Ask yourself why he was so preoccupied with Corinth, know throughout antiquity as a great place for sailors to get prostitutes, hmmm?

    • I’m not sure about anti-Semitic….but through our modern western lens I can totally understand why he could be viewed as misogynist….it really sucks for me being a Christian to see so many churches use Paul to try and defend their misogyny…..

      I do think though that western scholasticism has taught many of us to read Paul through a slightly tainted lens and for me N.T. Wright has been challenging a lot of the traditional understandings of what Paul “meant” as Wright has been trying to say perhaps Paul means something else entirely different….

      But I’m totally not trying to convince you or anything…merely explaining where I’m coming from, and I can totally feel you in regards to what your getting at…..

    • I do see your point about Paul in his historic context, but, unfortunately, he isn’t, as you alluded to, So I read Paul in the context of our own time, and how he is likely to be interpreted now, and it ain’t pretty. You know, it’s true that he wrote in the context of a misogynist time; that doesn’t change his message about women. Ok, anti-Semitic may have been a bit harsh, but he *was* at great pains to remind everyone that being Christian was definitely NOT being Jewish. And I still think that, given his ideas about women, Id like to know a bit more about where he spent his time in Corinth, or, more to the point, how. Aren’t I evil? 😉

    • Lol no I wouldn’t say that makes u evil….i have very similar questions about so many other things that are said to have occurred in the bible and in other historical books……

      Paul was an intense dude to say the least…..if we accept the basic historical aspects of his life to be true; he went from being a radical Jewish dude who was out trying to murder Christians….and suddenly the next day he completely starts singing a different tune….pretty intense dude to say the least

      Putting aside his failings for a moment; i can’t imagine how much stress he must have been dealing with cuz after his conversion it wasn’t just the Jews who were attacking him, it was also the Christian leaders as well; most commentators believe the book of acts was written to convince Christians of his day that Paul in fact could be trusted and was no longer a “christian killer” …so he was under fire at every turn….not to mention all the trouble he brought upon himself when he took on the Romans…which eventually led to his imprisonment and death…..

    • Good points. Still, my least fave, except possibly for Revelations, which is weird and delusional. But I’ll let you get back to your coffee. Thanks for the dialogue.

  9. These things you mention about Jesus are why I haven’t given up on religion yet. I like who Jesus really was, and I even find inspiration in other religious figures (Buddha for example). I don’t want to throw it out the door. Instead, I want to come to a deeper understand of what these religious figures really meant to teach the world. Sometimes, the answers I find go against the human rules institutionalized through many mainstream religions.

    • TK,

      we are in the same boat. There have been so many times in my life where I really questioned whether or not I could remain faithful to the Christian religion in the face of so many troubling aspects….but each time I turned back to the gospels (especially Mark) and just looked at the life of Jesus I found encouragement to keep pressing on 🙂

      “Sometimes, the answers I find go against the human rules institutionalized through many mainstream religions”

      100% agree

  10. Wow, walking the walk instead of talking the talk? Knock me down with a feather….no, I am kidding, that is not real sarcasm. But yes, no matter what the faith, the first job of a pastor, priest, priestess…whatever title is to CARE.

    Or as this old ex-military pagan often says, “Lead from the front!”

    • “Lead from the front!”

      that sounds familiar and I’m trying to rack my brain as to where I’ve heard it before….Was it General Washington or someone from the 20th century??

    • I couldn’t tell you for sure; it’s been said around military circles for a very long time.

  11. This literally made me cry. I don’t know why, but I don’t feel so alone now. THANK YOU for listening.

  12. I’m going to take this to heart today, doing the loving thing for someone else, even if I don’t want to do so. Action in service, my friend, action in service.

    • ” doing the loving thing for someone else, even if I don’t want to do so”

      I only hope people understand that what I’m often saying in my articles is that I’m so damn awful when it comes to doing ‘the loving thing for someone else’ because most days I am usually so busy with all the various crap I gotta get done that to stop and talk with someone is the last thing on my agenda

  13. Sometimes being heard is better than being fixed. Thank you for listening.

  14. Hey, I really enjoy your posts. What a cool concept for a blog! Though I don’t consider myself a Christian, I appreciate those who try to live life with Christ like ethics/morals (and try to practice them myself.) I find that the skill of listening is very underestimated, both as a speaker AND as the listener. Nice to see this pointed out. Have a great day, I am about to have another cup of coffee myself. 😀

    • Some days I wake up and wonder to myself; what is my blog theme again??? lol…but I guess the more I write about the people I talk to the more that a particular trend in this blog seems to be taking place…thanks for the comments 🙂

  15. 🙂 Enjoyed this! Thank you.

  16. It’s funny, you really don’t know when a simple smile, a bit of kindness, listening or giving another moral support is going to make a strong impact on that person.

  17. I will say I believe there is a difference between preaching AT and preaching TO people. Preaching to them simply means spreading the good word and then letting them decide for themselves. Preaching at seems like there’s an effort to force people to change – which you can’t if they’re not willing to change, they won’t. Also preaching at indicates a lack of listening whereas preaching to, there could still be a level of listening involved. That said, I agree with you. There are many times when we don’t want to do things but really, in my experience anyway, when you do it anyway, there’s a huge benefit. In fact, often times that person ends up enjoying having done it because of a hidden or unexpected reward… that feeling of having given back or being there for someone who really needed it. That’s a good feeling. It may not always be fun to listen to someone just gripe for 20 minutes or longer but it’s the little things that matter most to people as much as they make it sound like it’s not. I don’t know Kenneth, maybe you made Santa’s “nice” list after all lol 🙂

    • “It may not always be fun to listen to someone just gripe for 20 minutes or longer but it’s the little things that matter most to people as much as they make it sound like it’s not. I don’t know Kenneth, maybe you made Santa’s “nice” list after all lol 🙂 ”

      I can’t emphasize ENOUGH how difficult it can be at times listening to people complain for 20 to 30 minutes…it can be SO trying….but such is life I guess…..and I’m keeping my fingers crossed about getting on Santa’s nice list; I’m hoping he doesn’t keep count of how many F-bombs Ive dropped this past year 😉

    • I guess I’ll just have to start bitching to you then Kenneth LOL. I’ll make sure to time how long it takes to read my complaints so that way it’s sure to be at least 20 min worth of reading LOL. J/K. Try and remember that she clearly needed to get that off her chest and you were her “hero” even if it were horribly inconvenient for you for a while. People need that from time to time. Patience is a virtue my friend. 🙂

  18. At the end of looking through all the comments I drifted off and clicked on the worpdress “bloggers you follow also follow…”. Thought you might like to be At Coffee with this one ….

    http://mustardseedbudget.wordpress.com/about/

    • Paul…

      I clicked on the link, it looks like the dude who runs it is a pastor right? He Seems like a nice guy….I dunno though..lately I’ve been getting so many emails (and a few comments) from pastors who don’t like me that I feel like Santa may be putting me on the naughty list this year….though I had a really nice email yesterday by a pastor who had a few kind words to say, it was nice to get at least one!

    • A very hardworking and decent guy – who adds the quote: “Train your entire team of ministries in the science and the art of praying for money”. Is this an ok USA thing? (BTW – from the comments you make about your early life as a Christian/church – I hardly think you can feel put out with a few pops back in return). I am getting a tad fed-up with the anti-church brigade as well as the church brigade myself. Found I had penned a rant without any edits or tidying – look at it and thought Good God where did you come from! A pennyworth .. neither side has the high ground. Both sides just seem to suck the love out of god quite happily. Must go .. off to At Church now (in a cold freezing carpark and a converted double decker bus): “The Jesus Bus” as the rowdy youngsters call it! 🙂 And keep writing. God needs you. Even if his pastors don’t.

    • Your last sentence made me smile

    • “BTW – from the comments you make about your early life as a Christian/church – I hardly think you can feel put out with a few pops back in return”

      OUCH! but you are probably right.

      Sadly….’the church’ or I should rather say; the fundamentalist conservatives Christians absolutely loved me back in the day…I was their ‘darling’….I was asked by a dozen different churches to be a youth minister and just as many asked me to go to seminary in order to come back as an assistant pastor……

      I look back on the way I used to be and how I was so loved by the church that it is actually rather repulsive in many ways.

    • Yoh is goin’ to burn sinner. Burn in the fires of hell fo’ et er nettttttteeeeee! On yo’ knees sinner …. Kind of stuff? I must send you an email sometime about my younger days. I was a closet-spiritual couch potato.

  19. Kenneth, you knocked it out of the park on this one. I just love reading about how you make a difference in our world. I’d have bought that black coffee for you today! 🙂 We walk a similar path and reading your words gives me such a smile. Every day I get out of my classroom a little bit later because of the people I stop and interact with throughout the church. It makes my day to see their faces light up when they see me coming. They know I’m going to listen, whether I want to or not. How could I not, I mean I live for those smiles I get. Thank you for my smile this afternoon.

  20. Reblogged this on Oldest Daughter & Red Headed Sister and commented:
    He’s like a brother from another mother, this guy gets it.

  21. back to the dialog . . . why are we supposed to imitate Jesus? in the first place . . . and how does one imitate anyone anyways? . . . Jesus was a teacher, I’d get pretty pissed off if all my student did was imitate me . . . Now it might sound like I’m picking here, but I fundamentally believe that our ministry lays far beyond Jesus or any other religious teacher . . . . and as long as we imitate we will never find our own.

    • Jj,

      Well in psychology were taught that a lot of learning is done through imitation…I had half a semester on this very phenomena….Children learn and mature by imitating their parents (some times it’s good…sometimes bad)

      There’s nothing wrong with imitating the good things people do…is there?

    • there are two ways to look at it . . . imitation and improvisation . Imitation binds you to a physical source . . . improvisation opens the door to all creativity. . . . Jesus excelled as a teacher to emulate but . . .

      IMO this where the church faltered, they put Jesus on an alter and worshiped him instead of taking his teachings and creating something greater. . . . . when he said “these works that I do, you will do greater.” (or something in that vein) no one was listening as they were too busy begging for a new Mercedes Benz . . . .

  22. Things that seem of just little value to us, can be ALL that someone else wants…

  23. Kenneth, I think this column is poignant given your previous one about the fellow at coffee the other day who couldn’t comprehend why you talk with people. Here was a woman who you didn’t want to listen to, but you did. I think something that’s really interesting is that sometimes people (or just me?) can be entirely happy listening to others wax lyrical about something they love, even if they’re in a soliloquy rather than conversing, simply because you get to share their joy for a moment. But sometimes, like this time, you didn’t want to. I would like to hear more about why you enjoy your coffee shop chats.

    • Elizabeth,

      Thanks for the great observation regarding the parallel between the articles (I actually wrote them on the same day as complimentary to each other)….

      In recent articles I’ve been attempting to convey as much as I can my own failings or shortcomings as it were……I realized a while back that some people may be erring in their assessment of me in that I’m something ‘special’ when it comes to talking to strangers….and today’s article (along with others I’m working on) are aimed at finding examples in my life that demonstrate I’m no better than the next person; most of the time my mind is a zillion miles away from the needs of those in front of me…..but like I was trying to point out today; we don’t have to be anything special in order to make a difference in the lives of others…sometimes all we have to do is listen to people……

      🙂

  24. “I believed it was my responsibility to ‘be like Jesus’ and talk at people; and for many years I was nothing more than a Christian a** hole.……” Ha ha…sounds like some of the evangelistic training that I’ve seen (as I cringe). Except it wasn’t like Jesus and it didn’t work either. Thank God we can be free from that! 🙂

  25. Reblogged this on Unto The Hills Ministries and commented:
    It seems he get the point, and it is a good one. Too bad too many Christians miss it completely. God bless, PT

  26. (Snicker) You had me at periphrastic.

    This is a good reminder that we need to listen as well as talk. Now I appreciate some good old fire and brimstone preaching from time to time, and I definitely believe in taking a stand on moral issues, but I have no use for legalism, that soul-sucking man-made set of rules that is heaped generously on top of God’s rules. People who do nothing but preach and rarely stop to listen are usually legalistic, in my experience. They can chase more people away from the Gospel than towards it (and I went off about that in a recent post on blaming the victims).

    God is truth and grace. Some of us relate to the truth part more, some to the grace part. What you’re saying is to practice more grace, and I believe that can be done without compromising those sometimes uncomfortable truths that are a part of becoming a follower of Christ.

    P.S. Your writing style’s a kick. And thank you for taking the time to listen to that woman. You might have saved her from getting into another collision because she was distraught.

    • ” Now I appreciate some good old fire and brimstone preaching from time to time, and I definitely believe in taking a stand on moral issues…..”

      ya know…’fire and brimstone’ preaching was a pretty minor element of Jesus’s style to say the least. even in his opening statement at the synagogue when he read from Isaiah he made it very clear that he had come for the poor, the captives, the sick….And then when he interacted with those people at the bottom he spent his time healing them, feeding them, loving them, letting the little ones sit in his laps (and I suspect he told them stories while doing so), talking to women (which was taboo)…and 99% of the time when he used harsh language it wasn’t toward ‘the least of these’ it was toward the religious leaders; i.e. the modern equivalent of pastors, deacons, elders, etc.

      thanks for your comments 🙂

    • I know what you’re saying. I believe in a balance of truth and grace, not all one or the other.

  27. Knocked another one out of the park. I’m right there with you on loving people where they’re at, and not preaching at them.

  28. talking at people happens in a lot of our culture/society. its a shame. i agree with you wholeheartedly on this post. sometimes the best way to love people is to shut up.

  29. Probably nothing is so painful than an accident and it remains with the victim like a nightmare.The people who don’t care neither for themselves nor for others should think what are they doing.No law can reduce the frequency of accidents rather than self-realization.It’s the time to rethink and re- plan our lives.

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