eavesdropping...

I was asked a question yesterday to which my response was "eavesdropping". It reminds me of the matchless first book of the Lord of the Rings trilogy where Samwise says to Gandolph when asked if he was eavesdropping, "Honestly Sir, I ain't been droppin' no eaves."

Eavesdropping is the art of listening in to a conversation happening next to you without looking like you are. It's the gift of making everyone elses business your own and everyone elses private thoughts your playland. It's the stealth ability to capture something going on around you and picking up hints of humanity, inklings of human psychology.

It's honestly quite fascinating to listen to someones dialogue with someone else on the airplane, on the telephone, or in the waiting room of a restaurant. People are dropping valuable clues as to what it is that makes them tick or ticked. Hearts are throbbing with pain and angst, chills and thrills. The logos, pathos and ethos of humanity are an ear shot away...can you hear it?

Peeping Tom gets a bad rap on most counts, as he should. His curiosity leads him to peer into places that he has no business seeing. He wants to catch a glimpse of someones private world, their inner life, their hidden routines and rituals in hopes of taking in a picture that will give him what he's looking for...intimacy. He wants to know what lies behind the curtain, the drawn shade. What is happening on the interior, that glow in the windowpane, that shadow that moves about the house pacing to and fro. He can't stand being on the outside looking in, but that is all he is afforded. But you gotta admire his curiosity even if it is mislead.

In some senses, the best speakers of truth are eavesdroppers...peeping Toms of culture. Listening in to conversations going on around them. Keeping their eyes open curiously drawn to the inner life of humanity. Instead of minding their own business...they see God in everything, drawing truth from obvioius and ordinary things that most people miss. Their antenas are always up trying to pick up frequencies that evade those caught up in themselves. They watch T.V. looking for God to show up in a word, a phrase, an image or a story. They see him in the creativity of a commercial, they hear the cry of humanity in a Kohl's commercial..."Expect great things" is their slogan. They listen to the pulse of people expressing their desires and disappointments...they pick up on trends and threads of thoughts...universal pangs and pinings pointing them to the world's voids and vacuums, dreams and delights.

To me the best preacher is the one who lets himself be bothered by other people's business...a person who never tires of eavesdropping in on the conversations of society and taking notes for future reference. A person whose curiosity leads him to peer through the windows of another's life and pick up on the secret story of the soul of mankind....what's really happing behind the large curtains draped between us, the veil that seperates the real and the percieved. Someone who can stand up front and peal away the veneer of ordinary occurences and speak about the everyday toils and terrors of man with poise and personality will never want for an audience. A person who can draw on the profound insights of the obvious (like Sienfeld), will encounter an audience waiting with bated breath to hear what he delivers.

Staying awake to your surroundings is the best research you could do for your message. Keeping your eyes and ears open to the dealings and dialogue of those around you is your best resource for preaching. Your can't crack open the inconsolable secrets of the soul with an disconnected illustration of little interest to the human spirit.

These are just a few thoughts this morning...

Comments

ShepherdRick said…
Good Morning, Ignatius!

While driving this morning, I became "immersed" in the memories of each song while listening to your CD. I was standing on top of the bus at Scioto Hills singing "...and in His temple all cry ... glory!"; I was at Calstumi on bended knees singing "..Your blood has trickled down"; I was at Barrow's house during a Passion Retreat at 3:00am playing the Psaltry; meeting Bill Adelsberger at my front door with my bathrobe on when he dropped Beth off for school; and so many more.

My heart is SO much 'fuller' than I can describe, with God using you and your gifts in my family's life. I just wanted to say 'thanks' for your gift to us for using your giftedness from God.

BTW, a challenging book ... and one that God is currently using in my heart ... is "The Slumber of Christianity" by Ted Dekker. It challenges many closely held perspectives ... but may create a "Neo/Matrix"-"Red Pill/Green Pill" paradigm shift if what He says is close to being accurate.

Keeping lighting the fires!
pianoman said…
and i thought i was weird...

thank you for finally giving a reason to my curiousity into the lives and hearts of other people...

maybe this is one of the things i'm meant to be doing...

i really need to get better at this 'eavesdropping on the human soul'...

sometimes my own shouts too loudly for me to hear anyone else...


thank you.

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