Lutheran Church Extension Fund

Learning to Listen at Convention!

Reading time: two minutes. It’s ironic that the one part of the convention that I cherish most, the two minute time limit on speeches during debate, is also the most frustrating part of the convention.  When your two traffic_lightminutes begin, the light goes green.  It turns yellow with fifteen seconds left and when the red light is on, your time is done.  The microphone goes dead. There were multiple occasions in Milwaukee that I was just getting to know someone at the microphone when they were cut off.  Right when I was starting to say, “Hmmm, I think this person is making a pretty good point,” our interaction was over. While the record will remember the decisions made in the general sessions of the convention, I think some of the best work was done outside of the delegate assembly.Intellectual Wellbeing comes from the recognition that there are three books that invite my genuine curiosity every day.  I ought to first be curious about what the Lord God of heaven and booksearth might have to say to me today.  I’m first and foremost curious about the Bible.  God’s perfect wisdom and truth will correct my erroneous thinking. Book two is the collected wisdom of people found at the library.  Do you have three or four books going at the same time?  That’s Intellectual wellness: what do the sages have to teach me? But why should we be curious only about what dead people have to teach us?  The third book that ought to peak my curiosity is the person sitting next to me.  The convention in Milwaukee was a growing, learning experience for me. One of the most poignant moments of the convention was when a much maligned leader in our church addressed the assembly and referred to a matter that had been greatly discussed in recent years.  He said that no one outside his immediate circle really knew the full story of what had taken place in this circumstance, “first of all, because no one asked.” Regardless of where you stand on an issue, we’re all better served by a little curiosity than we are by jumping to conclusions without really listening first. That’s what was so frustrating about the two minute time limit.  Just when you think you might learn something, Red Light!  Conversation over! My most memorable conversations happened in the hallway outside the assembly.  It was real conversationdialog.  I had some very interesting talks also in the hotel lobby, on the sidewalk during morning walk, at a couple of local malted beverage establishments, on the shuttle bus and in the airport waiting for a ride home! I’ve made it part of my personal mission statement to be able to say, “I learned something this week” every week of my life.  I appreciate your conversations with me.  Thanks for sharing. And thanks for reading.