Rodney Clapp (Christian Century): Hard of listening

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Is hearing or the failure to hear a matter of responsibility and culpability, or is it not? Maybe another family story will help sort this out. Eight years ago, I suffered an ear infection that led to a puncturing of the eardrum. A doctor wanted to test how much damage had been done, so I was ushered into a sound-proof booth and administered a number of tests. When we were finished, I asked the technician about the results. She replied that, for a 45-year-old man, my hearing was slightly above average.

"Well, isn't that interesting," I said. "Now I have medico-scientific proof that my wife and daughter are wrong. They think I'm getting hard of hearing." The technician didn't miss a beat. "There is a difference between hearing and listening," she said.

So there you have it: there is a distinction between hearing and listening. We may have functioning hearing organs and still fail to listen to what others are saying. Put differently, hearing is a matter of physical endowment, but listening is a skill at which we can work to become better, more adept.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Christian Life / Church LifeSpirituality/Prayer* TheologyPastoral Theology

Posted August 28, 2010 at 8:29 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]
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