I must confess that I haven’t yet read the book by the same title from StoryCorps (hmm… this is turning into a running theme here), but I love what that title says: Listening is an act of love.

Our family spent the last week back in Michigan so that our daughter could have some quality time with her grandparents (and get onto the Jumbotron during the Pistons game, thanks to some fervent dancing/prancing on my part!).  I was also able to catch up with friends (thanks again for the polar bear!) and catch up on some reading.

During the flight from California to Michigan, I read through Rob Bell’s provocatively titled new release, Jesus Wants to Save Christians.  Hopefully, I can post a full review soon, but Jesus Wants is thoughtful and challenging — in particular, I appreciated Bell’s re-framing of the Decalogue through the lens of the Exodus.  On the return flight to California, I was able to make substantial headway into Scot McKnight’s new book, The Blue Parakeet. Again, a review is on its way (maybe!).

In Parakeet, McKnight offers those of us who are weary of the polarization between reactionary fundamentalism and extreme liberalism a much-needed alternative to reading the Bible. Far from being a half-hearted compromise, McKnight’s Third Way urges us to engage Scripture — and, more importantly, the God of Scripture — with love, creativity and passion. Above all, perhaps, McKnight calls us to listen:

Reading the Bible is an act of listening.  Listening, to quote the title of a popular book, is an act of love.

(In the footnote to this quote, Scot reveals that he has not read this book yet either.  At least I’m in good company!)

As we head into this Advent season of watching and waiting, let’s take time to listen — both for the still small voice of God and for the voices of friends, family and those in need.

Below you can find the Advent graphic I designed for our church community: