Pastor’s Corner: What We Hear

September 14, 2022

“…Still a man hears what he wants to hear and disregards the rest…” – Paul Simon, “The Boxer,” 1968

I’ve done it. You’ve done it. Keiki have done it. Adults have done it. Kupuna have done it. We’ve heard what we want to hear and disregarded the rest.

We’ve also experienced it from the other side. We’ve watched children, co-workers, friends, parents, politicians, and (gulp) pastors ignore half or more of what we’ve just said. How do we know? Because they rush toward the thing they heard and go around the things we told them they needed to do to achieve it.

You know: The chores. The preparation. The work.

We’ve also watched (and we’ve also done) something both similar and opposite. We’ve focused on the thing we don’t want to hear and ignored the rest. On these occasions things can go very badly indeed. When I concentrate on the things with which I disagree, I lose the places of agreement and the possibilities for creative solutions. When someone does it to me, we nearly always lose the momentum toward a common understanding.

If anyone in the universe has reason to be frustrated that people listen to only half what is said, it is God. God’s relationships with the heroic figures of the Bible are invariably filled with confusion, contradiction, and conflict. Sarah, Jacob, Bathsheba, and Jeremiah all had their ups and downs with God. Mary Magdalene, Paul, Martha, and John had good moments and bad.

Let’s do our best to listen to one another and to God, to appreciate the fullness of what we hear. Let’s do our best as well to be patient with one another as our words are half-heard – as patient as God has been with us.

Pastor Eric

Categories Pastor's Corner Reflections | Tags: | Posted on September 14, 2022

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