Let’s Talk About it: Listening to what isn’t said


The reality of the other person is not in what he reveals to you, but in what he cannot reveal to you. Therefore, if you would understand him, listen not to what he says but rather what he does not say. Kahlil Gibran

Who do you listen to? Or better yet,

 who is listening to and watching you?

I shared with a pastor recently that my husband and I do not feel welcome in his church and will probably not be coming back even though we enjoy the service. It isn’t necessarily what has been said to us directly but rather what is being said around us that makes us feel this way. I wish I could put my finger on exactly what it is that we are hearing, or seeing but I can’t. There is an underlying communication that we aren’t welcome unless we make ourselves fit in with their orthodox point of view. We feel like square pegs trying to fit into a myopic pin point of a hole.

We aren’t orthodox. We’re confessional as far as Lutherans go, and yet — we feel unwelcome because we’re different. Not wrong mind you, just different.   They call praise music “sick and wrong” and we’re praise musicians. They refer to people working the church plants as “nice and well intended, but misguided” — and we’re church plant volunteers. Their deacon speaks of how wonderful he feels being part of such a “godly” group of leaders — unlike his last church — which is our present church by they way.

We’re life long Christians — feeling unwelcome and looked down upon in a Christian church within our own denomination — all in the name of  who knows what really. I wonder how a non-Christian feels when they come in their doors? Do they come back – or do they silently leave like we did.

What kinds of things do you say when you think no one is listening? What does your body language look like when you think no one is looking? Who isn’t coming back to your church? Or — another question – have you ever felt hurt and unwelcome in church? How did you handle it?

4 thoughts on “Let’s Talk About it: Listening to what isn’t said

  1. The human race is like a “pack” animal. We have to be in groups, and the preference is groups “like us”. A person who ONLY associates with “like” attitudes and mind sets is missing out on a great opportunity for growing in thier walk (and possibly even sharing the truth with a person who has a warped interpretation of scripture). Once they realize that their “like mindedness” is not always supported in scripture, they can let go of the pious “Sanhedren Syndrome”.
    It is all pointing back to pride. When we feel that we have THE answer, and YOU have the right to be wrong if you so choose, we are one breath away from God saying, “Hey…I thought I taught you better than that…” and then ZAP…we get knocked down a few notches. Humility is the key to learning. Fearing God is the key to wisdom. Love is the key to reaching the world.

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  2. First, to respond to the “Praise Music” issue, I tell people that I would like to see in the Bible where it says that only one particular kind of music is acceptable and pleasing to our Father! Then I mention David and his “Dancing in the Streets” episode. I assure you that was not done with a robed choir and a pipe organ. this is another one of Satan’s subtle lies to keep people from reaching out to others. Pride and self righteousness is the 2 legged stepstool on which many people stand.
    Now…who is listening to me? I can’t tell you. But I have had parents tell me that their child mentioned something I said or did that made a difference in that child’s life…and I don’t even remember saying or doing anything. I have decided to live my life the way I feel God wants me to live…even though I frequently fail miserably. I am human, you know…and as long as we wear this sinful flesh, we will fail, but throught the power of the Holy Spirit, we will do better than if He wasn’t with us.

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    1. and I know there is no such thing as the perfect church – but it really got me thinking about the past few months. My favorite teaching quote ever is from a pastor now in Bartlesville – “Deana what people will remember isn’t so much what you teach them, but whether or not they are loved.” — He wasn’t discounting teaching and sound doctrine in his statement, he was reinforcing a scriptural truth, without love we are nothing and our works are invisible to God. Scary thought. LCMS is torn in half and the extremes on both sides have resorted to name calling, propanganda and nastiness. We’re just riding it out, praying for healing and walking away from toxic people. There are other middle roaders like us — I’m sure once the dust settles and satan is finished with his little season in lcms things might return to some sense of decency. I hope.

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