I'm a BIG Taylor Swift fan. So Rocky got the family tickets to her sold out show in Cleveland this last summer at our football stadium. It was amazing!
At the end of the show the crowd poured out onto these large ramps zigzagging down to the street. As we were walking there was this loud hum of people talking. Thousands and thousands of people talking above us and below us. In front of us and behind us.
If aliens appeared and heard this I wondered what they would think. Was it a mating call? Was it a defense mechanism? Nope. We just talk to talk.
We talk nearly constantly.
Put a group of us together and you can be assured there will be constant talking.
Sometimes we get in situations where we aren't allowed to talk. But it's only so someone more important than us can constantly talk.
Other than sleeping, the only gathering I can think of where someone is not constantly talking is a Quaker meeting.
"Unprogrammed" Friends meetings follow the tradition of gathering in silence, without the services of a designated pastor or minister.
If you can think of another time and place where humans congregate and there is no talking please let me know.
I'm starting to get invited to speak at local events now on our work with houselessness. And I've been going to a fair amount of city council meetings.
It seems everyone prays these days before meetings. Kiwanis, Rotary, government meetings, lunches, breakfasts, dinners. Praying. Praying. Praying.
If feels more like a Rite of Passage. Like a "are you in our club" kind of mindless ritual. You are always invited to not stand to say the prayer. I've never seen anyone dare not stand. It would be an act of great revolt to not stand. Plus, most of these meetings are filled with people that come to them in hopes of getting business, or have some other ulterior motive, out of the people there. So you'd have to be an idiot to not stand for the prayer no matter what you think of the Christian God we always pray to. I've yet to pray a Muslim prayer or Jewish prayer at one of these meetings.
"Lord, hear our prayer," is said in unison at Catholic services.
So not only are we constantly talking at each other. We're constantly talking at God.
This amuses me because it suggests that God is in need of a telegraph to understand our needs.
Like God is sitting at the end of a telephone writing down needs and wishes like Santa Claus.
I assure you, God knows your needs better than even you know your needs.
I'm beginning to think that if you feel God isn't listening to you it might be because God can't get a word in edgewise.
There is a place where I've seen this script get flipped. It's with the houseless.
They don't ask God for what they want. They feel blessed.
They ask what God wants of them.
In a place where you are stripped of everything. All your friends are gone. All your possessions are gone. All you have (or in my case, had) was a tent in a some guy's backyard. You don't ask God for things. God has given you all you need.
You ask God where to go next.
Finally, you stop talking and you start listening.
I assure you, God it telling you things.
I was talking to a young supporter yesterday about where she wants to go to college.
She wants to go to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago because they have a very strong advocacy and outreach program. Her dad wants her to stay in Northeast Ohio.
One message is from God. One message is from society.
One message is a message of faith. One message is a message of fear.
The path is obvious. God always tells us to have faith. Fear is the opposite of faith.
God shows us these paths all the time.
If you don't like God language, that's fine. Call it instinct. Call it intuition. I just happen to be into this whole God thing right now so that's the word I'm using.
Sometimes there is no message. (The message is there. You just can't hear it.)
That's when you just need to start walking. Just walk. Just do.
Do something that comes from a place of love.
Learn an instrument. Read a book. Go to church. Go to school. Have coffee with a friend. Spend time with your kids.
But stop talking. Let them talk. Listen to them. Process them. Understand them.
When you stop talking and start listening you will begin to hear God talking to you. Then move in that direction.
Stop praying. Start walking.