Saturday, September 29, 2007

Pray for us, Saint Meriadoc!

The word “cloister” comes from the Latin claudere, meaning “to shut up.” The English pun is delightful, and my vices of arrogance and narcissism often need to be treated with equal dosages of inactivity and silence.

The posture of waiting is fundamentally Christian and excruciatingly difficult, which, according to Henri Nouwen, makes it “an enormously radical attitude toward life.” If the Bible says anything sure about the experience of being the people of God, it says it will involve a lot of waiting: waiting for a son, waiting for deliverance from slavery, waiting for an end of exile, waiting for a Savoir, waiting for his resurrection, waiting for his return. We would do well to learn the posture. As we exercise those Christian muscles, we would do well to listen.

Saint Meriadoc is (among a handful of others) the patron saint of deafness. This blog is named for him (and if you can help me think of a way to relate it to Tolkien’s character as well I would certainly be delighted). But since the saint whose patronage I invoke also has a name that lends itself to puns, let it serve as a challenge to learn how waiting and listening in a worldview of redemption lend themselves to joy, a fruit of the spirit listed right alongside patience.

So you may astutely ask, “How do you intend to blog listening?” I suppose my success or failure will be linked to how well I practice the discipline in my life. I plan on using this as a space to write down what I hear as I listen with my ears, with my eyes, or with my books. Creating the blog is a commitment to become more intentional in my listening. I pray I learn the posture well.

Friday, September 28, 2007


When a friend of mine yielded to the currents of the age and created herself a blog, she admitted that the reason for her former hesitation was because “everyone” does. Perhaps that was the primary reason for my hesitation as well, and perhaps it was her courage to be un-individual that has given me the courage to follow suit. After all, in a culture obsessed with individualism, a resistance to being swayed by some currents is a yielding to another.

Even with that confession out of the way, there is one major reason I have kept my distance from blogland: I have a history of being far too interested in myself. Since I was fifteen I have probably spent no less than twelve hours a week leisure-writing, an exercise that has been both beneficial and dangerous, and I am afraid that I am often somewhat smitten with the sound of my own pen. The last thing I need is another means of making myself feel sagacious.

So may the Lord deal with this blog, be it ever so severely, if it becomes another outlet for my self-importance. But if a blog can become a means of exercising the discipline of listening, then I am always up for a new challenge.