he Word’s perspective is that listening needs to happen first; and speaking needs to come after the istening. How, then, did “speak” come first, before “listen”? I am referring to, by the way, the title of this blog.
Conflicted? No, I am not conflicted. Listening is a spiritual discipline, and connects with two other spiritual disciplines: stillness and silence. Individually, we are invited into the practice of listening, stillness, silence.
The tension with speaking and listening is stirred up by an addictive-thinking society, a society desiring more-more-more, a society that thinks it must keep moving faster rather than slower, a society craving stimuli (noise, visual, comfort). A fellow by the name of James wrote: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.” Yes, I read it in the Word. Another piece I have kept close, along my journey-road, goes like this: “Where words are many, sin is not absent.” Yes, I read this, as well, in the Word. And Benjamen Franklin wrote this little piece: “By swallowing words unsaid, one has yet to harm his stomach.” I don’t know if this was before or after the kite-thing, where electricity emerged. I have heard it said that Benjamin Franklin bought a loaf of bread, picked up a bottle of wine, then got married, and … BOOM! … discovered electricity. I suppose marriage feels that way, at times.
For some, there is a disconnect between a) the healthy tension of listening / speaking, and b) the choice to not move, until one “hears” from God. One of my thoughts, about all this, is … by staying grounded, keeping one’s ears open, avoiding the junk, praying continually (praying as we go) … prepares one to be ready to speak, when it is right to speak. Here is the “safety tip”. We are going to blow it from time to time. It is impossible for us to “get it right” in every scenario we find ourselves in.
In The Silence of Adam, written by Larry Crabb / Don Hudson / Al Andrews, The Silence of Adam addresses the problematic silence that men practice, connecting with the fear of moving. Another angle, looks like this (to me): a man needs to find his voice; and a man needs to move into his world. The title, The Silence of Adam, comes from Adam’s silence, when he was supposed to speak. Bottom line: Adam chose not to speak; Adam chose not to move; Adam yielded to fear, which led to his problematic silence and his metaphorical paralysis. Well, there it is: two sides of speaking and listening. For me, I want to speak out of my listening, out of my prayer, and out of my intent to … not be stupid. By the way: if you or anyone else experiences a sense of being compelled to express an opinion about this post, or about Adam, or about listening & speaking… feel free to do so.