Tuesday, September 22, 2009

taking others seriously

There is a known epidemic in our nation of not taking others seriously. We see it on the cover of major news magazines, and hear it in the news media, both on television and radio. And we have a thoughtful, articulate president who wants us to engage in dialogue on issues, but he is effectively, or largely shut down, because that is largely not the culture of mainstream America.

We in Jesus know from Scripture that every person is made in God's image. Enough said already. That means everyone has inherent value and dignity, and deserves to be heard. Does that mean we buy anything or everything they say? Of course not. But it does mean that even when we do disagree we then seek to explain our own position and seek a response and dialogue.

In Jesus we are called to live out and proclaim a gospel ("good news"). And we must do so. But we must do so as those who are set and bent on blessing others. For us in Jesus that includes enemies. And everyone. And blessing is not cursing. Therefore we must avoid the plague that has swept our country of refusing to take others seriously. And just as important, we must consistently show a better way: the way of truth and love in Jesus. Including to those who put down others.

What would you like to add to this?

Tomorrow, Chapter 1, "Joining Mary at the Feet of Jesus," in Sitting at the Feet of Rabbi Jesus, by Ann Spangler and Lois Tverberg.


Dave J. said...

The problem is that people's brains don't want to listen to what doesn't match their worldview. Which is also why Jesus struggled so much to be understood.

One of my podcasts features an interview with the author of "Just Listen", which has the subtitle: "The Secret to Getting Through to Absolutely Anyone."

He says you need to forget your personal history (past), and agenda (future), so that you can communicate in the present.

Anonymous said...

good reminder on communication and response in dialogue.

i see that you are going to post on the book. i got a few pages into the first chapter.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Dave J.,
Good thought about leaving the past behind with no thought of the future. Letting them have our ear completely. Then we may really hear them, and then we may end up having true dialogue. Not hearing another only means each is trying to get their points across and "listen" only for that reason.

And thanks for the link. I have it on, and some really good points. Becoming a good listener takes intentionality and work/effort and it is important to help each other, for sure.

Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks, nAncY.

And I look forward to going through that book this way.