The Importance of Listening and of a Blog Taking Feedback

A blog post the other day raises the issue of how important it is to discuss and listen. When I wrote about an EFCA church in Bloomington, Minnesota that led to a discussion with the pastor. Whether it be the EFCA, Acts 29 or other organizations this blog wants people to know that it will engage and listen and discuss these issues. This blog does not hide behind a computer screen and bunker down. In contrast it will engage people and have discussion. 

“Wisdom is the reward you get for a lifetime of listening when you’d have preferred to talk.

Doug Larson

If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!

Luke 11:13 NIV

From the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento

One of the most dangerous issues today which troubles me is that of tribalism. At some point I would like to do a longer and more detailed post about the dangers of tribalism. When the internet was rolled out it was done with the intent to improve communication and discussions. Sadly in time what has happened is just the opposite. False news sites have proliferated, troll farms are pumping out disinformation and against all that people are setting up and sheltering in their own echo chambers. That is poison and toxic and we are seeing the results of that kind of living. I see evidence of this and am reminded of this when I research and scan and look at web pages or social media. So for this evening I wanted to take a break and spend some time communicating a topic that is important to me. 

 

How This Blog Operates 

This blog works hard at not operating in an echo chamber. I actually work at trying to build relationships and getting to know people from all sides of life. If I didn’t do that then this blog would have serious problems. In normal times when I travel on the East Coast and also to the Midwest I seek out places. For example you can read my write up of visiting Harvest Bible Chapel in Chicago in, “The Wondering Eagle Visits Harvest Bible Chapel Rolling Meadows.” In writing about the EFCA I also have popped up at a lot of churches as well. In writing about an abuse situation in Blairstown, New Jersey I visited and reflected on it in, “Personal Reflection on Attending a Service at the Evangelical Free Church of Blairstown, New Jersey.” Then there was another time where I visited an EFCA church in Staten Island, New York City called Salem. I wrote about that visit in, “A Visit to the EFCA’s Salem Church in Staten Island, New York and Some Feedback” And this is not just limited to Christian groups. One of the plans I was working on is to attend the Center for Inquiry’s Drinking Skeptically which is a social activity for atheists in Washington, D.C. The current pandemic threw a major wrench into everything which is disappointing.

But his blog makes a honest effort in building bridges and getting to know people from all sides as I think that is necessary. It also makes an effort to listen to different sides. Yes I don’t go to church and yes I am trying to figure out a direction  in many ways. Yes I am on the edge of it all and see more problems with religion and faith then sometimes benefits. But its still important to listen and get to hear other perspectives. 

 

Recalling Oxboro and Ben Groen 

The other day I wrote a post about an EFCA church in Bloomington, Minnesota called Oxboro. You can read that post in, “(Updated June 10, 2020) Ben Groen From Oxboro Evangelical Free in Bloomington, Minnesota Teaches That Those Who Criticize the Church Want to Run From God.” After writing it Ben asked if he could speak with me. And like I do in other situations I said that was fine. Ben and I discussed a number of different things. He asked how long it has been since I went to church. And I asked him a number of questions. He explained a little more about the sermon he gave and also clarified that questionable organizations like Harvest Bible Chapel or Sovereign Grace Ministries deserve criticism. He said it was hard to watch those scandals unfold. Ben also communicated how he felt hurt but with what I wrote. I listened to him and stated that it was not my intent to hurt him so. And I told him that I am sorry if he was hurt. I walked away from the situation learning a little more and grateful that Ben Groen spoke up and shared his perspective. Its important to hear and its necessary in the grand scheme of things. 

 

This Blog is Always Open to Feedback and Discussion and Will Listen 

Regardless of who you are, or which church or ministry you lead this blog wants you to know that I will listen. I don’t operate in the echo chamber and I don’t close the doors intentionally to discussion. From Acts 29, to Sojourn to the EFCA. If you want to chat or engage about the issues that are being raised by this blog I am more than willing to do so. We may not agree but discussions are needed and are essential to life. I also know that many churches, ministries, pastors and more are not interested in discussions and have a warped view of gossip, slander, etc… From this blog’s perspective that rests upon them and speaks volumes about who they are. Those who can’t or don’t want to engage in the end show their insecurity. But I don’t sweat that aspect, for me it goes along with the territory of writing. Likewise I know that some some will not want to talk and again that rests upon them. When you are touting the faith and talk about how vital it is but then you can’t discuss the different aspects or challenges that reveals volumes. It takes humility and an honest pursuit of truth and discussion. These issues are not isolated. I can’t tell you how often I have seen scandals or issues affects churches that I was involved with. That is why this blog raises these issues as well. But if anyone in any church wants to chat the line of communication is always open. Just shoot me an email and let’s set up a discussion. And I will be happy to listen. 

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