What we don’t do

I am reading Richard Foster’s book on humility at the same time I am reading my way through Revelation as part of my daily office. Revelation 2-3, along with Foster’s book, remind me of two things we deeply lack in the American Church, which is reflecting too much of our current cultural problems.

Foster went on a year-long study and meditation of the virtue of humility. It has become obvious this is a virtue American culture does not care for, but by extension there is not much of it reflected in the American Church.

The letters to the seven churches in Revelation also have one theme in every letter: LISTEN.

“Let anyone who has an ear LISTEN to what the Spirit is saying to the churches.” (Rev. 2:7)

It is lost on us that we want others to LISTEN to us… and we are so unwilling to listen to another view. We want to be HEARD… but we don’t want to do the hearing. We justify it by assuming we’ve “heard” their “side” before, or that they’ve talked “long enough.”

We want OUR views expressed and are completely unwilling to soak in a conversation that does not “agree” with us.

Carry that into the Church. We are so willing to pound the pulpit with what God “has said” and have very little discipline to sit in silence and think, “What does the Spirit really want to say to me, or to us as a Church?”

For the past 20 years there has been exposure after exposure of some deep ugliness residing in the American Church in every slice of theological position we have. From Roman Catholics to fundamentalist Baptists to megachurch pastors, scandals have been the “news of the day” on a regular basis.

One thing I have not heard in any of the mess in any of these situations is a call to a solemn assembly where the American Church would repent and LISTEN to the Spirit. Not once.

Americans don’t want to listen to each other. American Christians don’t want to listen to varying viewpoints from their particular theological positions. American Churches are not interested in stopping and listening to what the SPIRIT may want to say to them.

Humility. The ability to listen.

We are lacking these characteristics by the ton… and on we march. We march on in our pride and “rightness” and we will miss what the Spirit will do next…

One thought on “What we don’t do

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