Listening to Enemies as Spiritual Practice

by Christine Sine

Matt Stone just posted this article on his blog Glocal Christianity as part of our summer series on What is a Spiritual Practice.  I visit Matt’s blog regularly and particularly love the links to Christian art from around the world.  This has really helped me to broaden my perspectives and stretched me outside the theological boxes that I grew up in.  Of course it might be because Matt is a fellow Australian from my home town Sydney, but I don’t think that is the only reason.  Thanks Matt for your insights.

Jesus said, love your enemies, but what does that mean in practice?

In my experience love begins with listening.

If we only listen to those we agree with, what credit is that to us? Even terrorists do that! But if we wish to make a difference in this world, if we want the world to become a listening world, we need to lead by example. We need to become excellent listeners, active listeners … listening to those we disagree with.

So, what has that meant for me? In practice it has meant actively listening to militant Atheists and Goddess worshippers and gays and gun lovers in all sorts of different contexts. It has meant listening to all sorts of people with all sorts of objections to Christianity and Christians like me, sometimes for quite valid reasons. At times it has even meant engaging with militant Hindus who openly justify violence against Christians. It has also meant listening to Christian fundamentalists who’ve called me a heretic, who’ve acted very unloving towards me and been very disinterested in listening and understanding.  Read the entire article

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