Who Should We Be Listening To?

We were sitting in a church service in Central PA. 

Interestingly, politics were being discussed.

A question was posed.

Who should we be listening to right now?

In regards to history. To culture. To this pivotal time when you’re either this or you’re that. You’re on our side or you’re not. 

Who should we be listening to?

A woman sitting directly behind me said something that hung in the air and swirled in my head for many days after.

There are times in history that are points of great transition. But transition doesn’t come without pain. Think of a woman giving birth. She will hit a time in her labor called transition…that pivotal time when she starts saying things like “I can’t go on”, “I can’t do this anymore”, “It’s just too hard”.

Then, shortly after, new life is born. Something new comes into this world. A new season begins.

This is transition.

This may seem dramatic to some of you. These phrases uttered by a woman in labor seem a bit too much to be holding up against our current cultural climate. I want to ask you to put yourself in the shoes of someone else in this country. Consider the powers at play. How does it feel to stand in the shoes of someone with less power, less privilege than you have? How does it feel to sit in the residue of our collective history as a nation?

So, are we (as a country, as a people, as humans on this planet sharing space) going through a time of transition? There’s a whole lot of pain, that’s for sure. From the death of Nia Wilson, to the fires in California, to ongoing stories from the border, there’s plenty of pain to point to. Will we come out on the other side? Is there an “other side”?

I don’t know if I have answers to these questions, but it leads me back to the original question…the question we keep coming back to.

Who should we be listening to right now?

Yes, first and foremost, we should be listening to the teachings of the God we follow. Of course. Always. In fact, the teachings I follow lead me to strive to live listening, to live hoping, and to live in the mess of justice and redemption.

What if we listened to those without the privilege of the odds on their side? Those whose odds are ever (not) in their favor.

Privilege is everywhere. You can’t escape it. I can’t escape it. My white privilege extends beyond the boundaries of the United States. I cannot think of even one place I have traveled to where I have not been given special attention, special allowances, special privilege. So, while Ross and I are on the very cusp of moving away from the US, our own transition of sorts, we will not escape our privilege. We never will.

Instead, we must come to terms with it. We must look it in the eye and sit in the uncomfortable reality of the imbalance of power that exists. And then, we must continue noticing. Noticing is important work. Notice when you’re served first. Notice when you’re not. Notice when you’re watched. Notice when you’re not. Notice the way stories are told when you watch the news. Notice who is heard. And who is not.

And notice WHO we are listening to.

Who should we be listening to? 

I will continue to hope and believe that all this pain is pushing us toward transition. I will continue to hope that we are birthing something new.

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