Skip to main content

More on listening

Sorry, I'm posting so much at once, but with classes beginning again, it's been crazy.

The Ears of God

For Christians, pastoral care differs essentially from preaching in that here the task of listening is joined
to the task of speaking the Word. There is also a kind of listening with half an ear that presumes
already to know what the other person has to say. This impatient, inattentive listening really despises
the other Christian and finally is only waiting to get a chance to speak and thus to get rid of the other.
This sort of listening is no fulfillment of our task. And it is certain that here, too, in our attitude toward
other Christians we simply see reflected our own relationship to God. It should be no surprise that we
are no longer able to perform the greatest service of listening that God has entrusted to us - hearing the
confession of another Christian - if we refuse to lend our ear to another person on lesser subjects. The
pagan world today knows something about persons who often can be helped only by having someone
who will seriously listen to them. On this insight it has built its own secular form of pastoral care,
which has become popular with many people, including Christians. But Christians have forgotten that
the ministry of listening has been entrusted to them by the one who is indeed the great listener and in
whose work they are to participate. We should listen with the ears of God, so that we can speak the
Word of God.
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer -
from Life Together 99
from A Year with Dietrich Bonhoeffer Carla Barnhill, Ed., HarperSan Francisco, 2005


Popular posts from this blog

If and If and If

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 10/1/17 at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church. The scripture text is Philippians 2:1-13

Paul’s letter to the Philippians is one of my favorites. It is full of positive, uplifting theology, like “RejoiceintheLordalways; again I will say, Rejoice (Phil. 4:4 ). It’s a feel-good kind of letter. Today’s passage from Philippians is chock full of great stuff and I could get at least 10 sermons out of

I'm Back & Giving Thanks

Sunday, 9/17, was my first Sunday back in the pulpit after 7 months. I am not completely healed from February's back surgery, but am mostly there. The doctor is letting me work only part time until our next visit. This is the sermon from Sunday, 9/17, preached at St. Timothy Lutheran Church and St. Mark Lutheran Church.  based on Psalm 103 1:-13.
When I read today’s lessons, I couldn’t take my eyes of of Psalm 103. This psalm is an individual psalm of one who was struggling in a desperate situation, who called out to God and God delivered him.This is my story too.
As most of you know, I had back surgery in Feb. and I too, received God’s deliverance. Following the back surgery, I contracted an Ecoli infection that nearly killed me. I am here today to declare with the psalmist: “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name. Bless the Lord, O my soul, and do not forget all his benefits…”
The odd thing about this psalm is that it isn’t a prayer. It is not ad…

Flying Rebukes

This is the sermon I preached on Sunday, 2/25/18 at St. Timothy. Lutheran Church. The text was Mark 8:31-38. 

Immediately before today’s gospel reading, Jesus had asked his disciples who people say that he is. This is where the light went on for Peter and he made the confession, “You are the Messiah” (Mark 8:29). Peter certainly gave the right answer and was likely thinking of the attributes given to whoever would be the Messiah. The Messiah, people thought, would deliver them from the crushing rule of the Romans. The Messiah would fight their enemies. Basically, the Messiah was a strong king-like figure.
But, now Jesus fleshes out for Peter and others what that is going to look like. They were completely unprepared for the reality.
“Jesus began to teach them” (v. 31). Hadn’t he been teaching the disciples all along? Maybe, but this was different. This wasn’t teaching about miracles and healing. This is the turning point in Mark’s gospel, marking a new beginning.
“Jesus began to teach the…