Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Listening?


I am just back from a long weekend with Paul Young in Toronto.  I can’t begin to report on all the different venues and wonderful conversations, but I can say that in each and every situation we had a large time.  What struck me most was the hunger and openness of people from all ages and from a wide range of ethnic and cultural backgrounds.  Things have dramatically changed in the last twenty years, and the fundamental change has been in openness to discuss and to wrestle with the reality and the meaning of the Trinity.  The Holy Spirit has been leading people around the world to the awareness of the fact that we are all deeply, personally, and profoundly connected.  We simply have not had a vision of Jesus, and certainly not of his Father and of the Holy Spirit, to help us understand or to process this connectedness. 

I have no interest in lapsing into the old 19th century liberalism, which posited the Fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man, without any reference to Jesus Christ at all, as our point of unity.  As you know, I believe that Jesus has gathered the entire human race together in himself, taken us down in death, given us life in his resurrection, and lifted us up into the life of the blessed Trinity in his ascension.  The basis of our unity as people, as nations, and, dare I say, as denominations is Jesus himself.  In Jesus, because of his identity and humble incarnation, and because of his submission to us in our darkness, we can say and shout that the human race is bound together forever.

Along with the book signing events, conferences and conversations, Paul and I both had the opportunity to be interviewed by 100 Huntly Street and by Crossroads 360.  The entire morning was fascinating as the 100 Huntly Street folks are serious, devout believers.  We wrestled together, on and off camera.  Everyone loved every minute of the discussion.  And that was just it; the freedom to be myself, to say what I honestly believe, and the heart to be heard, even if rebutted, was wonderfully striking.  I will not speak for 100 Huntly Street and say that they all agree with me, or with Paul, but I will say that we were given a real hearing, a listening, a careful hearing.  And I walked away thinking ‘what would it be like if we could actually listen to one another as believers?’

Of course my mind kicked into overdrive as to why we don’t listen, really listen to one another.  And that is the question.  Don’t hide behind the ‘we.’  Let’s cut to the chase.  Ask it out loud.  Why do I not listen? 

I have only been married for 30 years, so I am a long way from being an expert on relationships and marriage, but I would say that my own consistent, blundering mistake is, and has been, that I have not listened to my wife—really, actually, personally listened.  I may not like it, but the question staring me in the face is simple, ‘why not?’  That is a good question, a good question for life, for relationships.  'Wh do I not listen?'  Listening assumes that you don’t know—but want to.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

My wife and I saw you and Paul at Chartwell Baptist Friday night. Thanks to you both for so clearly communicating the truth of all humanity's inclusion in the Triune life of God. I wish the evening could have been twice as long as I wanted to hear and experience so much more from the two of you. God's richest blessings upon you and Paul as you continue your journey together as friends and colleagues.

- Richard Harstone

Aaron Dunn said...

Greatly enjoyed meeting you last Friday night Baxter. Cheers for the book signing. Ps enjoy the cd :)

Aaron