I'm a listener. It's something I've cultivated over the years despite the fact that I come from two families who are talkers; both of my parent's families love to talk & sometimes our gatherings can be rather boisterous (or contentious depending on your political or spiritual leanings).
When you listen, you learn.
“Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” so you can tell a lot about people by just hearing what they have to say, so here are some of my observations about people:
The older generation appears not to care anymore; many (not all) have adopted a rather fatalistic mindset in this hour:
- They're not planning on voting this year, many are 'just tired of the whole thing...
- They're not going to fight against Biblical prophecy, what will happen will happen & they can't change anything on any level...
- They've given up, they're just waiting for Jesus to come back & get them out of here as they are tired & discouraged
The younger generation is somewhat the same way:
- The ones who've who've grown up in a Christian household have had it drilled into them that Jesus could return at any moment so why make any long-turn plans? Live for the moment, enjoy life now...
- They've seen the silence & ineffectiveness of the Ekklesia in society for the last 60 years & fail to see the relevance or influence of the Church today. Where was the Church during the civil rights movement in the 60's? Where was the Church during the abortion issue in the 70's? Why isn't the Church doing anything about the homeless & the jobless? Where is the Church during the current same-sex marriage & transgender issues?
- They've had it w/ the institutional/country club Church: slick suits on a Sunday morning in a formatted, boring predictable service, being taught “love one another” but seeing hate & “intolerance” during the week
One remnant of the younger generation has a different mindset & a sliver of hope:
- They don't see this place their home, but they're going to make it a great place while they're here
- Whereas the previous generation saw “spiritual things” as only pertaining to the Church & separate from society, they see “spiritual things” as also being immersed in community & government, there is no distinction between the two to many of them
- Their idea of fellowship (what some people call Church) is more organic & less organized, more free-flowing & less formal, more Spirit-led & less structured, more caring & less critical, more inclusive & less exclusive
I've learned a lot by just listening to people, sometimes they simply want to be heard without any feedback or response from anyone; I've learned that “there's a time to speak & a time to be silent”. Personally, I think Jesus was both a great speaker & a great listener & He got a great deal more done.