the art of listening

  • What are my city’s particular needs?
  • What are my neighbor’s uncelebrated strengths?
  • What are other folks (churches or not) doing well?

These are three very important questions that the Lord is highlighting for us right now. Another very important one that Justin McRoberts highlights here is "What is God already up to that I should join Him in?" 

When we engage our friends and neighbors around us in the Stockbridge neighborhood and at the Love Feast dinners on Wednesday nights, these are some of the big questions we are asking ourselves. 

Here is another challenging bit to chew. He writes:

"Not only do the poor need us, we need the poor to remind us what being human is about. In the same way that the poor learn to identify themselves with their lack, the wealthy likewise learn to identify themselves with their wealth. It is in the meeting of the two that we can recognize ourselves and one another as human." 

One of the theological distinctives that the Lord has helped us to understand and walk in over the years of doing work in this neighborhood on the West Side is that because we are all made in the image of God, we are all valuable and have the DNA of our Father in us. We love to go looking for the treasure of that Father-likeness in people we might not expect to find it in with our common expectations. What a joy it is to be able to see that in people who might not see it themselves, call it out, encourage and cultivate it so that it can grow.

I saw it in Dominic this last week as he confided with me in his grief over the potential of not being able to see his son anymore due to some relational tension with his mother. Dominic has asked for prayer for his son every single week for at least the last two years. After all this praying for Dominic's son, I found out while talking over dinner at the Love Feast that it is not his blood son, but a boy who he's adopted into his heart so much so that he loves him like a true son. I had no idea that this was the case because I had seen how strong this father-love in him for this boy is. What an incredible display of the Father's heart of adoption I see in Dominic!

Of course we rely so much upon prayer and the Holy Spirit in this process calling out those Kingdom traits and cultivating them, because we know that the joyful surrender of every area of our lives to Jesus and His beautiful Kingdom is the only way that those inherent Dad-like traits are going to have a chance to mature into what they were intended to be. 

Lord help us to see with Your eyes. Help us discover what You're up to and where You are already present. Help us to see how you have marked us with your own DNA. Let us surrender ourselves to You, Jesus, so that we can become who you've made us to be on this earth--and glorify you in it!

:: tim ::