Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dr Quentin Schultze (Listening - Texting)

Title: Listening for God's Call in a World of Instant Messages
Attended a wonderful lecture on Wednesday evening. Another worthwhile hour spent.Dr Schultze started off with St John Chrysostom. I hear and read about Chrysostom increasingly nowadays. He is christened the 'golden-mouthed' for his great oratory skills. Essentially, Dr Schultze sees himself as in the same department as Chrysostom called Communications, together with Augustine who trained as a rhetoric. He posed the problem of modern communications whereby communications among people have taken a beating.

The act of listening has to do with the act of obedience, according to the Hebrew word שׁמע (shama). To listen imply obeying. Some of the problems of modern communications:
1) We listen selectively
2) We see freedom as 'getting away' rather than getting intimate
3) We are more multi-tasking but less multi-loving
4) Instead of doing 1 thing well, we do many things mediocre
5) We miss out on the beauty of nature by being busy with things, especially communications (check email, Internet, yak on cell phones, TV etc)

A very insightful observation from Quentin was on the depth of literature written by people who have been imprisoned. People like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther King Jr, and Václav Havel (1st President of Czech Republic). These people during their imprisonment did not have the freedom to access communication devices like we do. Yet their writings are very powerful. They are imprisoned in their physical cells. We are imprisoned in our electronic world of distraction. They are deprived of basic freedoms. We, living in an environment of many things, are deprived of the capacity to focus on that one thing.

Things are not going to get any better in our modern lives unless we start focussing on the Transcendent God. What are the 2 things to take away?

A) Care for others. (intimacy)
B) Pay attention. (intimacy)

The purpose of communications in the eye of the world is to get a message across. However, in the eyes of God, the purpose of communications is to build intimacy, as an expression of loving God and loving neighbour.

We need it in order to remain sane and human in this world.


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