Reflection #20: To Listen Is To Love / A.J. Hendry

Reading: Luke 20

I happened across a couple of videos today of some Christians with fairly conservative and fundamentalist views talking about a whole range of different topics, sexuality, church, whether Christians should dance in worship (heads up, they shouldn’t), it was interesting viewing to say the least.

Where I can I try engage with content from people I know I have a different perspective from. I believe it is important to listen to one another, and I know, that once I stop listening, once I stop hearing the other, that I am in danger of forgetting how to Love.

If I ever get to the stage of demonizing another person or group of people, we both, will have become less human.

To listen is to Love, and in order to Love, we must leave ourselves open to the Other, we must be willing to see those we disagree with, to hear them, to Listen, regardless of whether we agree with them or not.

As I listened to these men talk about their faith, one thing I noted was how strict and judgemental their god was. Now this could have sent me on my own little judgy party, judging their judgyness, but as I reflected I began thinking of how the same spirit of judgement that seemed to come through their conversation is easily present in so many other spaces.

It’s easy to point to another person and call them judgemental, harder to look at ourselves and recognise that same spirit within us as well.

Liberals, conservatives, progressives, fundamentalists, all can be guilty of othering, of forgetting the humanity of their neighbour, of creating their own boxes, and drawing their own lines between whose in, and whose out.

None of us are innocent of this.

We have all been tempted to sit in the seat of judgement, rather then sharing with our whānau the cup of the Divine’s grace. Equally, we all have the opportunity to break the cycle. To choose to see one another, to choose to listen to each other, to refuse to allow ourselves to make judgements on each other based on media sound bites, or the grapevine of public opinion.

None of us are the sum of the worst idea that we hold. First and foremost we are human. When faced with someone who holds a perspective I might strongly disagree with, I find it pays to start there and work backwards.

A.J. Hendry

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