Not Done Listening

     Recently I have had conversations with a few people, both from my previous home in Pennsylvania and in this community that I find rather taxing. What I mean is that they are persons who are absolutely convinced that their position, theologically or politically, is the correct one. I submit that the Christian witness is at a disadvantage whenever one person seeks to foist a simple, dogmatic position on another. So certain that they have the right answers they no longer listen. This obstinacy diminishes the Christian witness by its simple denial that there is anything new from the Lord, no deeper understanding to be discovered.

     Perhaps the greatest strength of the Reformed Tradition of the Christian faith is the declaration that we are not done listening; listening to God and listening for God through one another. All our speech, all our notions of theological orientation and political initiative must continually submit to humility and civility. Speech must be steadied with equal measure of listening.
     This is not to deny passion in our convictions. The North American church would be the stronger if more of its members were to experience their convictions a little more deeply and share them more expressively. Yet, we must maintain some uncertainty about our sense of what is right. More, we would experience greater delight in the church if more maintained greater uncertainty about their righteousness. What must happen increasingly is the spiritual discipline of pointing beyond ourselves to God. We all would benefit from the sinners prayer in the Gospels. “Lord, be merciful to me, a sinner.”
     Correctly heard, scriptures teaches that the line that separates good and evil, right from wrong, runs right through the middle of every person. We are all culpable for the brokenness in our communities. For that, we all need a God-sized savior to match the enormity of the present need. Fortunately, the Gospels declare that that is precisely what has been given to us in Jesus.


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