As a society we’re bad at listening. The point of a political discussion seems to be to make your opponent seem foolish. Democrats stereotype Republicans. Republicans caricature Democrats.
I wonder, can Tea Party-ers listen to Occupy-ers? Or vice-versa? At least one Occupy-er seems open to the idea. In the October 24, 2011 Time magazine, Michael Oman-Reagan (an pseudo-librarian among Occupy Wall Street protesters) is quoted as saying, “If someone came with a truckload of Rush Limbaugh books, we’d [keep them]. We’re not opposed to having a dissenting voice.” A sign of hope.
Unfortunately, Christians don’t seem to be better at this than anyone else. Some may say, we’re worse. What makes it even worse is that God’s word repeatedly commands us to listen to others. Listening is a huge theme in the book of Proverbs (1:24; 5:7, 13; 7:24; 8:32; 13:1; 19:20; 23:22). James commands not only listening, but being quick about it because it’s so important: “Let everyone be quick to listen, slow to speak, slow to anger” (James 1:19).
In The Hitch-hikers Guide to the Galaxy (film, 2005), a treasured object is “The Point-of-View Gun” which you use to shoot your opponent (wielded here by Zooey Deschanel). After getting hit by this gun you are automatically forced to see things from the shooter’s perspective, almost like uber-listening. (Zooey’s character doesn’t really need it because she’s “already a woman.”)
Who do you find it difficult to listen to? Who would you like to shoot with the point-of-view gun?