Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Still Listening

It's been nearly four months since I last wrote anything, meaningful or otherwise. Of course, I have several reasons for not doing so. Holidays, increased workload, increased service workload, and the ubiquitous not knowing what to say have all rightly contributed.

I've procrastinated as well. Several issues have shaped my landscape or world view in the recent weeks. None are unimportant, but none are life threatening at the moment, at least to me. Brevity has become a prerequisite when expressing a thought or opinion. Why express yourself in several paragraphs when social networking media channel you into 250 characters or less? And even there, if your target audience has an extended friend or subscription base, your words are more than likely missed or overlooked.

It's not that I don't do things. I do plenty, says my dear wife. In the business sense, I "manage expectations." I'm also generally told that what I do, I do well. Still, there's stuff that's been nagging at me to do the last couple of weeks, particularly writing. I scan my Facebook page daily, try to stay on top of current news and news trending, as in what's the buzz at the watercooler, if there was one.

The Electronic Age has left all of us drowning in a sea of words. Words are cheap. I can go back to the Old Testament and read, These people pay me lip service, but their hearts are far from me. The Apostle James said that faith without works is like a screen door on a submarine (thanks to the late Rich Mullins for making that much more obvious). Francis of Assisi preferred to preach the Gospel in his own way, and when necessary, used words. Ever since Gutenberg published the first Bibles in print, words have become cheap - and they're cheaper now than ever. It's a major election year here in the US of A; the rhetoric - and the underwhelming response to it - really shows how cheap words, and a person's word, have become.

The Roman Catholic Mass readings for today address this very thing. The first, taken from Isaiah 55:10-11, says that God's word shall not return to (him) void, but shall do (his) will, achieving the end for which (he) sent it. The second, taken from Matthew 6:7-15, is where Jesus gives us the blueprint for prayer (the Lord's Prayer). All good; yet there is one element that remains. As words themselves have become so cheap and devoid of meaning amid the cacophony of the times, the other element in prayer is listening.
Lyrics | Steven Curtis Chapman lyrics - Still Listening lyrics

 Listening is what has been hard to do, but might explain some of the lack of posts or responses here or elsewhere. I want to be certain of what God is saying, now more than ever. Going forward, my intent is to open my heart. Doing so is risky. I won't go deep into research to defend what I believe is truth, which leaves me prone to error. I'll most likely ask more questions than I might answer. I think that's a good thing, because it opens the possibility for dialogue (albeit between people separated by computer screens). To not question, not be open to criticism or an exchange of ideas, is no more than self-serving. But for now, I'm still listening; surveying the landscape; getting a feel for the climate. I have much going on with that alone.

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