Listening defined: “Making meaning from sound”
Listening filters that increase listening: culture, language, values, beliefs, attitudes, expectations, intentions
Reasons for the decline in good listening
- We invented ways of recording that has lowered the premium of listening – writing to audio to video recording.
- The cacophony of sounds and sights in our world makes the task of listening tiring.
- Headphones take big public spaces, shared sound scapes into millions of tiny little personal sound bubbles where nobody is listening to anybody
- We’ve become impatient where we don’t want oratory and sustained arguments anymore but sound bites.
- The art of conversation is being replaced by personal broadcasting (texting, facebook, twitter, etc.)
- We are becoming desensitized so the media and advertisements have to use drastic measures to even grab our attention
WE ARE IN DANGER OF LOSING OUR LISTENING. Listening is our access to understanding. Conscious listening always creates understanding. A world where we don’t listen to each other at all is a very scary place indeed.
5 tips to improve your listening (Here’s Julian’s post explaining these briefly)
- Have 3 minutes of absolute silence a day
- Enter a sound mixer and distinguish as many individual channels of sound as you can.
- Savoring – it’s about enjoying mundane sounds – it’s really interesting
- Move your listening positions to improve what you are listening to (Active-Passive, Reductive-Expansive, Critical-Empathetic)
- RASA – Receive, Appreciate, Summarize (use the important word “so”), Ask (good questions)
My thoughts from the video and the notes above:
- From the listening filters funnel: My prayer as a preacher is that the congregation and those gathered would listen with a sense of expectation and a posture of intentionality. I know that when I hear a sermon without a focused intentionality and expectation I benefit far less than if I would with them.
- Listening to audio and video sermons has a danger of minimizing the value of precision in listening the first time through. If it’s written down, if it’s recorder, I feel I don’t have to listen as well because I can always rewind, replay, or reread the information given. But that ability, a gift from God I’d argue, can include the temptation to be a lazy or less focused listener. I know that’s my tendency when listening to the plethora of sermons and lectures I hear which I download from the internet.
- As a pastor, I need to think of how to improve the intentionality and sense of expectation in CrossView’s hearts and minds as we prepare to listen to God’s Word preached. The thoughts that come immediately to mind is to cultivate a sense of expectation and intentionality myself; pray for it; email the members the text for the Sunday preaching; and
- Times of silence in a CrossView gathering are precious. Mark Dever taught me this. Including times of silence between reading, prayer, songs, and not opting for the quick and slick transition has advantages in improving listening and reflection. When I remember I try to include a time of silence after I preach and before I close in prayer. But now I’m considering having a minute of silence before I read the text and pray at the beginning of the sermon.
- When Art Azurdia prays before preaching my sense of expectation is raised. I don’t know exactly what he does or what God does through him, but I want to learn from his example.
- This applies to more than just listening to sermons. One of our rhythms in life is listening to others both Christian and non-Christian.
- This needs more reflection than I can give here. Other helps on listening to preaching are: Listen Up!, “Expositional Listening” by Thabiti Anyabwile, “How Can I Make the Most of the Preaching I Hear Every Week?” by 9marks, quotes on expository listening, The book Expository Listening by Ken Ramey reviewed here by Tim Challies, Expository Listening interview with Ken Ramey, and George Whitfield’s “How to Listen to a Sermon“.