As we have discussed, we live in a very complicated, high-tech society that gives us Facebook and Twitter, but leaves us longing for real human connection. Something more, something greater needs to pass between us, and I think that is what people are seeking when they talk in terms of “spirituality.” For this to happen, we need to pay a higher quality of attention. That’s not the same as simply paying more attention to each other, it’s a transformative energy that passes between people when they genuinely listen to each other.
As I have to suffer through the current South Carolina primary, since Charlotte is a large media market for South Carolina, I can’t help but think that television appeals to the lowest common denominator by portraying social and political debates as people shouting at each other. We never see a model for deep attentive listening. The value of genuinely being in each other’s presence, regardless of whether we happen to agree, seems to be almost completely lost in our social discourse. That’s why we get so little meaning from all our public arguments. It seems that we don’t even know how to facilitate genuine presence, the kind of authentic being-with-each-other that may actually bring about real, positive change.
I believe many are coming to face our spiritual poverty, which is an important first step. But we must be careful not to look at religion the way we look at football – we want our side to win. I see too much of this, including atheists who want somehow science to win over God. As I endeavor to listen to God, free of myth, superstition and fear he tells me to listen and to develop real presence with others.
Your friend, Webb