The ‘word of the week’ coming out of the sermon Sunday was listen. Folks were encouraged to really listen to the world around them, and hear people the same way God may be hearing them, instead of placing our own filter over the words of others.
Okay, got it. Here’s what I’ve noticed so far this week…
1. I began reading Midnight Lunch, a collaborative team-building book by Sarah Miller Caldicott, the great grand-niece of Thomas Edison, on whose leadership skills the book is based. Regarding the importance of diversity within the small team, Caldicott quotes Edison: “I didn’t read books. I read the library.” His point was, of course, that we need to listen to many different voices, hearing and appreciating the various histories and contexts. In so doing, we are better prepared to creatively approach our ever-changing present.
Listen to others. Got it.
2. Shane Windmeyer has written a powerful piece clarifying his relationship with Dan Cathy, the head of Chick-fil-A. Windmeyer is a national leader in the LGBT community, and Cathy’s restaurant is, well…you know the story. This is a wonderful example of two men truly listening to one another, especially when the participants are so clearly on differing sides of the argument. Please take a couple minutes and read the article here.
Listen to others. GOT it.
3. I’ve been trying to listen to both sides of every argument/belief/story/etc. Seriously. For example, on Twitter I follow as many differing viewpoints as I can (within reason; I don’t follow anyone associated closely with Westboro Baptist Church or Rush Limbaugh).
I follow @RickWarren and @ANNELAMOTT and @MattChandler74 (left, right, and center; you’ll have to figure out who’s who).
I follow @IsraelinUSA and @PalestineCenter.
I follow @peggynoonannyc and @BarackObama.
I follow @JennyDellNESN and @RealMichaelKay (that’s a big deal right there; that’s Red Sox and Yankees!).
Here’s the deal: we are not going to agree with everyone we come in contact with. But we’ll never have any relationship if we don’t make an effort to listen to them! Before we have any opportunity to show/share the love of Christ with anyone, we have to know who they are, where they’re coming from, and what their needs may be.
Remember, Jesus didn’t say ‘change your neighbor.’ He said ‘love your neighbor.’ Any change that happens will be because of His redemptive power, not our judgmentalism.
Listen. Got it?