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What Are We Not Hearing?

Pr. Jaynan Clark

June, 2008

photo of Pr. Jaynan Recently as a group of Lutheran Christians gathered in one member’s house for Sunday worship and everyone was singing a hymn the dogs began to freak out barking, howling and running around the living room. The many children large and small gathered together also all stopped singing and looked around with the confused expression that said, “What is going on?” I assumed something outside had disturbed the pups and the children were just wondering why the dogs so spontaneously reacted and to what. No biggy.

Almost a week later all four of my kids were together around the dinner table and we were visiting after the meal and all of a sudden they started laughing and staring at me. Our two large dogs outside were barking and howling. This time it was my turn to have the expression on my face that asked, “What is going on?” After they gained composure they asked in unison, “Mom, you really can’t hear that?” They went on to explain to me that my eldest son, and their” big brother” was up to some rascality, which apparently had also taken place during worship the week before. He had received from one of his friends a text message with an attached ring tone which apparently has been scientifically proven to not be able to be heard by anyone over the age of 30. This high-frequency sound is apparently so clear to the younger generations and the animal population yet we, as the wise elders in their midst, sit expressionless and unknowing of what is happening around us. I note that the use of this ring-tone is so kids who are not suppose to have their cell phones on in school can receive calls and text messages without the teacher knowing someone has called right into the midst of their classroom. Wow!

After almost 7 years of leading the WordAlone Network in the midst of an ever-changing institutional church and chaotic society I often, even daily, question in prayer our public positions and statements as a movement. As the pressure to conform on every front increases and pushes in on Christians and non-Christians alike, influencing both the young and old, I continually question, “What are we not hearing?” Is what we teach and preach and confess our “position” or is it the true, authoritative Word of God? Are we those who have no ears to hear or are we the voices calling in the wilderness witnessing to the Word alone and yet not being listened to on many fronts? Who we are, what we stand for and that which has now become battle-lines for the faith, is at an ever increasing rate and everywhere we turn being questioned. Should we not question it ourselves? I believe it is not only healthy but faithful to always take inventory and inspection so as not to become self-righteous and promoters of a platform, position or some pious propaganda. We are not called to promotion but rather faithfully going where we would rather not with a message that is ever increasing unpopular, ridiculed and rejected.

I confess that I daily in prayer question our calling and in complete dependence call out for divine guidance and intervention to navigate through this chaotic contemporary culture we now are confronted with in the midst of an institutional church structure that seems to hear only the world’s calls to conform and accommodate. What are they not hearing? May not only the young have ears to hear but those over 30 also!