Friday, April 29, 2005

Did I say that out loud?

I would guess that everyone has had the experience of being misunderstood or misunderstanding someone else. In a life where speaking and listening is a profession, this can be very demanding, confusing, and sometimes exasperating. It's my theory that the gap between a persons mouth and someone else's ears was established during that Old Testament Tower of Babel incident. You may recall that as the inhabitants of the land were making a valiant attempt at constructing a tower up to God He confused their languages mid-project and forever more communication gaps have existed between people. They don't teach you those things in pre-marital counseling. when you could really use it. The whole process of preparing teaching moments and preaching series can seem like such a waste of time when people come up to me and say things like, "I loved it when you said...." and I have no idea where that thought came from. Sometimes it scares me. Sometimes I have to question whether or not it's really the stuff that I prepare or something locked deep down inside that is going to be heard by those within the sound of my voice. Have you had the experience of your voice being recorded and when it's played back you have no idea who it is that is speaking? I hate that. I still can't listen to my own tapes nor can I watch on video unless the sound is muted. I wonder who in the world would come back week after week to listen to a voice like that. Especially hearing the things that they obviously hear that I don't think I'm even responsible for saying. But then again, I've been accused on a few occasions of "not listening". It's only been a few anyway, but the reality is that it goes both ways. There is some kind of cosmic scrambling that goes on between people. In a preaching sense, my confidence has to come in a faith that God's Spirit arranges what we need to hear and filters out the mindless confusing drivel that I sometimes mistake for essential, insightful or brilliant information that people just can't do without. I have had teaching times and preaching times that if I were an Olympic judge would have merited an easy 9.8. It is inevitably after those times that someone near and dear to me will stop by and say, "I don't get it." The opposite is almost always true. After I feel like some message has clearly missed the mark people will later on comment "I loved when you said...". It all causes me to wonder if the curse of the Tower is still alive and well. At least it is in my family.

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