Dialogue keeps us connected and protects our gravity.
Everybody gets listened to, but people who make and nurture disciples and who make love happen get listened to more.
Today’s Bible reading and an excerpt from it
Read 1 John 4:1-15
Little children, you are from God, and have conquered them; for the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world. They are from the world; therefore what they say is from the world, and the world listens to them. We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us, and whoever is not from God does not listen to us.
More thoughts for meditation
Not all thoughts are created equal. Some thoughts are from “the world.” Some are from God. We have to discern who to listen to. In the recent history of Christianity the listening has been all about who has the best rational argument—whoever makes the most accepted point (or whoever can afford the most screens) gets listened to. But Jesus does not say, “You will discern my followers by their production values.” We are known by the fruit we bear. Those who reproduce lifelong disciples of Jesus are people who deserve our ear most of all. People who demonstrate life-giving love get listened to more than people who just think they deserve to be listened to, by virtue of how society sees them.
The truth just told is getting more radical every day. Postmodern dialogue is supposed to be value-free—true love is supposed to be not having a solution or imposing your own thoughts. Dialogue is supposed to be about co-creating our own reality. This might be why the Congress cannot come to any conclusions—only the people who can win the dialogue get the power! It would be better if they would listen for evidence of the Spirit of God at work and follow it with gratitude.
In a circle of hope, gathered around Jesus, everyone should be heard and honored for who they are. But we discern whether what someone says is from God or just from themselves, or worse, from the fallen parts of our world. We try to form what we say and do to be worthy of Jesus so we are worth listening to.
Suggestions for action
Pray: Be clearly seen and heard in me today.
Your pastor or cell leader may not be the main leaders in your life. Who talks you into thinking or feeling things that you know aren’t from Jesus? Are you being led by people who shouldn’t be leading you? Do you listen to the loudest voices or to the voice of Jesus? At least acknowledge the influences that move you. Ponder what it would mean to stop reacting to what they say. (It might be good for them, too).