“The ministry of listening” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Christians have forgotten that the ministry of listening has been committed to them by Him who is Himself the great listener and whose work they should share. We should listen with the ears of God that we may speak the Word of God.

“The ministry of listening” by Dietrich Bonhoeffer


See also


At some point, we need to Make America United Again

(written Jan. 21, 2017)

It was a very strange election year, for many reasons. (I didn’t feel that either party, during the election, put up a viable candidate.  OK, that can happen from time to time.)

The thing that concerns me is how divisive many have become.

I don’t believe that tearing down and ‘throwing gasoline on the fire’ are ways to make things better.

I think a strength of our country, since it’s inception, has been our ability to work together, to sit down together, and work things out.

A Story

One of the most important things I learned as being a member of Delta Kappa Pi (DKP) at Doane University was the following process our group used:

  1. We would disagree on a topic,
  2. We would discuss and debate the topic,
  3. We would vote on the topic and come to a group decision,
  4. All, on both sides of the issue, would get behind the decision, and make it work.

This process worked well and kept us united. We learned to:

  • Actually sit down and discuss, not argue.
  • Agree to disagree, as needed.
  • Agree, for the purpose of moving forward.
  • Put our differences behind us.
  • The balance of debate and agreement. Yes, debate. Yes, eventually come to consensus.  This balance may be what it all comes down to.

This year, since the election in November, significantly more (what, 3 orders-of-magnitude) people have taken license to protest and therefore be divisive to our government and our country.

This attitude of my party, my group, individualism above all is damaging. I don’t just point the finger at the demonstrators in the streets, but also to our politicians themselves. We all need to learn the process and lessons I learned while in DKP.

I feel we should back the president, whoever they are. I feel we should use the structures and mechanisms that are in place to have peaceful debate and resolution of difference.

We seem to be on a path of anarchy.

I think we need to always look to build community and teamwork.

(I think we need to work from an attitude of love – but that may be another topic.)

Donal Trump  won the election. His slogan was Make America Great Again. (I’m not here to discuss the pros or cons of that slogan or President Trump)

My hope that, in the next election, we can focus on Make America United Again. After all, we are (supposed to be) the United State of America.  I think being united is a precursor/prerequisite to many things when it comes to moving forward in a positive manner.

Thank you to DKP for teaching me an important lesson I have used for my whole life.


Suggestions for everytownresearch.org 

The website http://everytownresearch.org advocates for common-sense gun laws to improve gun safety and reduce the number of gun deaths. (I’m pretty sure they are not just raising money, but want to work toward a solution.)

I like the fact that the website has specific research. It is a good site and seems to be going in the right direction.

However, to work toward a solution, I recommend the following:

  • Make a list of specific recommendations. This should be a concise and cogent list with links out to more and more details (as is the power of the Internet). (Having a bunch of famous people say ‘demand a plan’ over and over does get people’s attention, but ultimately there needs to be a (specific/actual) set of steps to improve things.
  • Listing ‘The Gun Lobby’ (and the NRA) as an issue puts the wrong spin on our website (and your approach). Putting ‘The Gun Lobby’ in a list along side suicide, illegal gun trafficking, and domestic violence sends the message the ‘The Gun Lobby’ is inherently bad and needs to be eliminated.  (Even if you do feel they are bad, and prefer they be eliminated it is better to work with them than point fingers and label them as part of the problem.) Remove ‘The Gun Lobby’ from the list of issues and find another way to express the concern.
  • Don’t the us versus them approach, but rather take an approach where you want all (reasonable and sane) people to work together.  If, in fact, you have actual common sense gun laws in mind, then you need to work with the NRA and The Gun Lobby to get them in place. If you don’t think that there’s ‘any way’ that such a thing could be done, then we may be doomed to more and more senseless gun killings.  I believe that the NRA would agree to common sense gun laws.
  • I find it odd that you do to have a phone number on your website. If you really want ‘common sense solutions,’ then you want to open up communication and you, therefore, need to be willing to talk about it.  I find it odd that in your Contact form drop-down list of reasons for contacting us does not include something along the lines of ideas for working toward a solution. I recommend putting a phone number on your site and making it clearer in your contact form that you are looking to work for a solution.

Relationship w Jesus ≠ Relationship w Abraham Lincoln

Loving God 101, Part 01: Relationship with God. Really???

“episode 85” from Jesus at 2 am podcast.

Listen at http://www.jesusat2am.com/2015/05/21/introduction_to_christian_spiritual_formation_1/

Kirk Winslow says, “The ultimate goal is love – and love grows in relationship, not by performing a set of behaviors!  In this episode I offer a short introduction to spiritual formation and take up the specific language of “personal relationship.” Can one have a personal relationship with Jesus?  Really???  I think the answer is “yes.””

I like the three keys in this podcast and a good explanation of Paraclete


Four Alls of the Great Commission



Matthew takes us from the particular to the universal (Jewish disciples to disciples from all nations

The Four “Alls” of a Truly Comprehensive Vision

The Four “Alls” of a Truly Comprehensive Vision

7 Free Online Tools for Sermon Writing


6th one is Christian Classics Ethereal Library  – The mission of the Christian Classics Ethereal Library (CCEL) is to build up the church by making classic Christian literature widely available and promoting its use for edification and study by interested Christians, seekers and scholars. The CCEL accomplishes this by selecting, collecting, distributing, and promoting valuable literature through the World Wide Web and other media.

Today’s thinking

from Stuart Briscoe’s message. 2-23-16 on WDLM-QC (original date unknown). “The Church’s Responsibility, Part 2”

People think and act differently.  This needs to impact that way we communicate and minister.  The problem of secularization: People are turning from a concept of transcendence and find meaning in the immediate and the material.

ideas from Alex Guinness…

We (people) are turning from:

  • Word to image
  • Action to spectacle
  • Truth to feeling
  • Conviction to sentiment