I Can’t Hear You!

There’s a recurring theme in the coverage of major sports that bothers me. If you watch these things, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

The scene is the outside entrance to the players’ locker room or stadium. There is a traveling estate (bus) parked near the door. Players are disembarking and heading in. There are fans and reporters standing along the perimeter of the walkway.

martin-lutherAs the adored athletes stroll by, they act like there’s no one else around. They can do so quite easily because they are wearing state-of-the-art headphones.

I often wonder what they’re listening to: Mozart, rap, the latest Christian teaching on social justice? Then I think, “Are they listening to anything at all?” Maybe they just put them on so they don’t have to interact with anyone else.

When I was a kid, there was a TV series (a comedy) called Hogan’s Heroes. One of the main characters was a Nazi soldier named Sergeant Schultz. His famous line was, “I see nothing!” He used this every time he heard something he wasn’t supposed to hear.

There are loads of examples we could site of people refusing to hear for one reason or another. Sometimes we call that selective hearing.

“Selective hearing can be experienced everywhere.”

Selective hearing can be experienced everywhere. It’s probably most disturbing when it’s found in the church. At this point, I must admit I’m probably as guilty as anyone.

We end up in the church to begin with because we somehow heard the call of God upon our lives. Regardless of how we heard it, it drew us like a magnet. Then things got tough.

We began to realize that being a Christian is a whole lot different than saying we’re Christian. We began to experience a call to discipleship—a call to commitment—a call to DO rather than to simply SAY.

“Once we heard the call, it became hard to avoid.”

Once we heard the call, it became hard to avoid. Eventually it became a lot easier not to hear the call at all. We put on the state-of-the-art headphones, and we went our merry way.

Oh don’t get me wrong. We still do a lot of the right things. We still have a sense of what the call is all about. But we’ve gotten really good at hearing it when we want to hear it and blocking it out when it’s inconvenient.

Jesus Did His PartI’ve gotten really good over the years of wearing the headphones when the call draws me into areas where it’s going to cost me my pride. I want to be who I want to be, and I want everyone to know how good I am. Sometimes answering the call threatens to strip me of that pride. How dare the Lord put my status in danger.

I’ve spent thirty-five years in pastoral ministry. Much of that time, I’ve played it safe. I’ve placated those who could (or would) make it hard on me. I’m guessing it’s time to begin slipping off those headphones.

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