Saturday, October 15, 2011

1. Knee Listening

This is no way to fish, the young pastor said to himself. Even before he and his silver-haired friend Sam climbed into the boat with the tackle box and bait, Pastor Tony was already having a struggle in his soul.

Like so many times before, Sam knew he was invited along for no reason that had to do with catching fish. Sam was a genius at listening. If you wanted him to, he could listen to your woes all day long and not say a word to you. And if you told him not to say a word to anyone about your conversation – he could clam up like a lawyer. However… Sam was awful good at talking things over with the Lord.

Most folks don’t know it but Sam was a great ‘knee listener’. He loved to frequently get on his knees in his quiet place. With his head bowed and sometimes fingers resting on his oldest Bible, he’d say, “Dear Lord, You’ve showed me how much You love me. Tell me how to show you today how I can love you back.” Then for a half hour or more, he’d let God’s heart speak to his heart far better than two computers can talk to each other.

As Sam fished from the front of the boat he was totally aware that his young pastor friend was in mental deep water with no sight of shore or a lighthouse. Sam remained silent.

Tony cleared his throat and in troubled tones said, “Sam, I don’t know what the answer is. This would be a lot easier if I at least knew what questions to ask.” Almost in a begging gesture, he held an open hand palm up toward his silver-haired fishing friend. “It’s like I’m trying to put together a church building and one of the steel beams is missing. And I don’t know where it’s at or even what it looks like.” Sam remained quiet while waiting for an explanation.”

Tony continued. “Our Pastor’s Conference last week gave some very unsatisfying data showing that the church as a whole is loosing ground with each generation. Our church is too. Everyone worked hard to show we have all the latest tech tools to analyze our progress…and…decline. Sam, I know that ‘sin in the camp’ can certainly distance God’s working. But I don’t see that clearly as being the specific need. I just don’t know the right questions to ask God.”

There was a long long silence in the boat. Maybe Sam was doing some of his knee listening. Then without knowing exactly why, he told Pastor Tony, with a bit of sarcasm – “maybe ya need ‘nother computer.” Silver-haired Sam was old school – but with indoor plumbing, you understand. Maybe he was looking through bad glasses. Somehow it just seemed to him like all that technical talk and stuff crowded out what church services were REALLY about.

But he’d said it and was not a bit sorry he did.

Maybe ya need ‘nother computer.”