Monday, December 8, 2008

The joy of noise

TE4-6274: my first phone. Well, my parents’ phone when I first remember having a phone – and I am told that I made it mine pretty much all afternoon, every afternoon. I would sit in the high-back chair in the living room corner with my little feet turned up at the edge of the seat, with the clunky black rotary phone on my lap. Talking to Mrs. McGuillacutty, my very best (imaginary) friend.

I grew up in a household of talkers. So much so that the nurse at the school where I went to junior high once sent my mother into gales of mirth by saying to her that “Mr. Roeder must be very quiet,” thinking that there must not be much room for him to be heard among the Roeders she knew. Mr. Roeder wasn’t at all quiet: he was a Federal Prosecutor with a courtroom-loud voice and a lot of opinions.

As you might guess, I made Mrs. McGuillacutty’s acquaintance because I did NOT live in a household of listeners. . . . . and, like most of us, I really needed to be heard.

Mrs. McGuillacutty did her job well, and I learned to frame and communicate my very best 4-year-old ideas, and not to be afraid to speak them. But she didn’t provide me much perspective: She didn’t offer me her own ideas or ask me tough questions. Living amongst talkers, I did figure out that those other ideas existed; but I didn’t know how to fit them together with mine.

And this is why I so cherish being a part of a community of talkers: nothing forces me to pick up an idea and turn it over, to examine it from another perspective, in quite the way running headlong into somebody else’s idea about the same thing or a related thing does.

I love listening to y’all; as Jimmy said Sunday, whether I agree with you or not. I try to listen to God, too. But the older I get the more profoundly I suspect it’s often God speaking through y’all, and the best worship I can do is to listen seriously and deeply. Even when I don’t agree.

Maybe mostly when I don’t agree.

Speak up. Speak out. Your voices are the moisture and warmth I need to make my bread rise . . . .

1 comment:

The Mrs. said...

It was a great sermon and I loved your bread rising analogy!!!