Post Number: 227
|Posted on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 - 8:00 pm: || |
Have you ever seen the Tee-Shirt that reads something like: "IF A MAN SPEAKS HIS MIND IN A FOREST AND THERE IS NO WOMAN PRESENT TO HEAR HIM, IS HE STILL WRONG?"?
I've been pondering the idea of "voice" lately. If I speak and there is no one around to hear me, do I still have a "voice? What does it mean to have a "voice" in matters and is it really necessary for a person to feel fulfilled? What are the mediums for our "voice"?
When I was growing up, our family had many heated discussions around the dinner table. Dad was a staunch SDA school principal, mom was a closet rebellious thinker doing her best to play it safe for the sake of Dad's job, (Mom, if you read this, know that I say that with admiration!) and we 3 kids were great at pushing and prodding and asking questions. Add to that all the great sabbath school discussions and arguments with my teachers and boy! I felt that my voice was strong. Not always understood, but at least I had a venue for spouting off.
Since leaving behind a church that loves to argue in all it's cognitive dissonant glory - and more so, since finding myself living alone AND disconnected from any particular body of believers, I have come to see that what I thought was a "voice" was just really loud noise. For all my spouting, I never learned to listen.
What has been your experience? Doesn't the SDA culture tend to create noise makers rather than listeners? One of Bill O'Reilly's favorite words is "bloviate" - is there a chance that this word describes the type of communicators that the SDA church seems to create? How can one be a good listener if they are not willing to "hear" different perspectives with an open mind - and if they refuse to stop running to their prophet who will explain everything for them?
An important question that I have to ask myself is: Despite leaving behind the SDA church, is there a chance that I still have a tendency to bloviate, even if it is about God's grace? Have I jumped the fence only to find myself still wanting to argue and get on my Gospel soapbox? (Is there such a thing?) Do I have to be heard in order to feel a sense of purpose and fulfillment?
There is an interesting tidbit in the latest Oprah magazine about a man who "decided to give my town a gift of my silence, to not speak for one day. I started learning things, the first was that I hadn't been listening." This gentleman decided to be silent for a year and then 16 more!! He says, "When I didn't speak, it allowed a more intimate communication. People let me touch them. I could tap them on the shoulder, I could grab their hand and write a word on their palm. I could physically move them to see something."
The process of posting this thread is fulfilling a need of mine to express myself .....how can I adapt and refine this need so that I will be a better listener?
Any thoughts on any of these matters? Please let your "voices" be heard!
Post Number: 537
|Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 6:32 am: || |
Despite leaving behind the SDA church, is there a chance that I still have a tendency to bloviate, even if it is about God's grace? Have I jumped the fence only to find myself still wanting to argue and get on my Gospel soapbox?
I have come to see this as a problem for me very early on - because I have spent my whole life "arguing" for the truth - while most of the time I never had it anyway. I have such a strong tendency myself to carry that over into my new found freedom and spend all my time looking for a debate.
The Word of God does command us to proclaim the gospel, and also to "contend for the faith" so I don't think the problem is our speaking so much as our motives for doing so. Most of my life I have been motivated by wanting to be right, smarter, etc.. etc... It was about my ego and striving to show others they were wrong.
Now, I am praying God to motivate me from only love - first for Him, to seek that He is glorified in my speaking - and second, out of love and compassion for others. The gospel saves their lives! It's not about me being right, it's about being a communicator of saving truth - and my ego can't be tied up in the results because I really don't have the ability to change anyone's mind, only God does.
I think people can really sense what your motives are. Listening does demonstrate you care - and is very important. Once you demonstrate you have heard and understand what others are saying, they may be more inclined to listen to what you have to share as well.
Very good point - and I don't think I'll ever not need to be heard on some level. I'm sure many people wish I would shut up and just listen!! ha.
Post Number: 228
|Posted on Thursday, October 30, 2008 - 3:51 pm: || |
I think you hit it head on.... the fact that motive is the problem, not the actual speaking. Good thoughts. Thanks for sharing!
Post Number: 53
|Posted on Saturday, November 15, 2008 - 4:38 pm: || |
It's been such a long time since I posted here that I think I've forgotten the "ropes". Sorry.
The OP very much rang a bell with me. It was only after joining my new church family that I realized how discordant my associations in SDA had been. To my chagrin, I also realized that, at some level, I was energized by the constant back and forth.
My new Family of God (I say "new" - it's almost 2 years now - but 2 years is a very short time compared to 50!) holds to few essential doctrines. We believe in Jesus Christ as the only center of our Salvation and Worship, and in the Unity of the Body of Believers. That's it! Each believer is free to be persuaded in his/her mind about everything else. It was this spiritual and intellectual freedom that attracted me, after a long and frustrating church-hunting expedition, to join this church.
While I found myself immediately attracted to these gentle Christian folks, I was puzzled at how disorienting I found their accepting manner to be. SDA SS tended to be raucous with every person arguing for his own position, SS with these folks was downright boring. I found them so obviously disaffected with the slightest criticism of any other church that I quickly learned to avoid the topic of SDA as if it were a plague.
After worshiping with them for a few weeks, I remember telling my husband (he doesn't go with me :<) ), I thought it was the oddest thing. In SDA, where we had each doctrine tightly nailed down and one might have expected a very high level of agreement, there was constant bickering. Everyone had to agree on every word in a sentence! Here, I had been worried that the plurality of viewpoints would cause friction. I waited for the ax to fall, figuring that perhaps they were on their best behavior because I was a visitor. Two years later I realize that freedom spawns harmony. We really DO hold a wide variety of beliefs in just about any area you can think of. The level of these peoples' Christian respect is inspiring. We are in full accord on the Main Thing...
...And He's The Only Thing That Matters.
Post Number: 727
|Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 3:37 am: || |
Pegg, what do you mean by OP? What does that stand for? Sorry to be so dense, but I want to understand what you're saying.
My experiences in Adventism never included folks arguing. In fact it was just the opposite. If anyone brought up something that threatened to rock the boat, someone else would quote Ellen White and that would shut everyone up immediately. That always really bothered me.
In my Presbyterian church, we have some very stimulating discussions and I love it. We agree on the salvific points of doctrine, but have a freedom to disagree on everything else. We have loving and respectful debates, if you will.
Post Number: 1715
|Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 7:23 am: || |
OP means "Opening Post"
Post Number: 54
|Posted on Sunday, November 16, 2008 - 3:44 pm: || |
"Pegg, what do you mean by OP? What does that stand for? Sorry to be so dense, but I want to understand what you're saying."
Thanks for pinch-hitting, Mary!
Sorry. I was confused the first time I saw it, too.
I should have remembered. <wink>
"My experiences in Adventism never included folks arguing. In fact it was just the opposite. If anyone brought up something that threatened to rock the boat, someone else would quote Ellen White and that would shut everyone up immediately. That always really bothered me."
Interesting comments, Honestwitness -
Perhaps I should qualify the argument part.
They never argued about the doctrines themselves.
The 28-Fs are set. Departure is not allowed.
It was personal interpretations within the framework that caused friction.
As if every person felt compelled to bring all the others into complete capitulation to his/her point.
I haven't been to SS in my old church for a very long time,
But this is definitely how it is in the one my folks attend.
I know what you mean about the Ellen White thingie. In my experience, she is so all over the place that both sides in any argument can usually quote something she said to support their position. (If not, they can always argue that's not exactly what she meant to say, times have changed, today she would surely offer different advice because one time she said... --> yet another quote follows)
"In my Presbyterian church, we have some very stimulating discussions and I love it. We agree on the salvific points of doctrine, but have a freedom to disagree on everything else. We have loving and respectful debates, if you will."
A few years ago I wouldn't have known what you meant by 'respectful debates'.
Now, yes I do know what you're talking about.
We can each state his/her own point. No one is trying to win over the other.
...Except Me...I Have An Embarrassing Tendency To Go For The Jugular!