In her last blog on February 7th, 2011, Emily Carroll, our Mentor Coordinator, reminded us of the importance of laying aside our agendas and listening to young people as a way of valuing them and helping them “understand their worth and value in the eyes of God.” I was reminded of this as I re-read the chapter, “Love: Power of Hearing the Other Into Being” by Young Ho Chun. Chun makes the point that Jesus really heard people in real love that is unmotivated by self-interest, accepts “without censure,” and enlarges the person loved. Young Ho Chun explains the concept of “hearing others into being,” which is a modification of Nelle Morton’s “hearing each other to speech” as:
. . . an unconditional and sustained attention given to the other. It explicates the love of neighbors. It takes a form of justice in its best sense of the word, since many are subject to conditions of the alienated, the estranged, the marginalized, the exploited, the excluded, the disempowered and the dehumanized. Justice is a public form of the love. Restoring the human dignity to those who are force to become the otherers or strangers to themselves is a justice” (Matthaie 2008, 54.)
This reminds us that as important as actively seeking justice through advocacy and campaigns is, there is another aspect that involves us being still enough to listen to the other in redeeming love. As Young-Ho Chun reminded us, we see this in the life of Jesus.
Learning to be still in God’s presence and allowing God to fill us with God’s love is critical to our being able to hear the other in this loving, restoring way that itself becomes a form of justice. How are we preparing ourselves to hear?
We remember in our student ministries that young people often fit the description in the quotation above. They are often marginalized by society, including faith communities. Their idealism and desire for love and acceptance are often exploited, especially by marketers. How can we hear them into being?
“Love: Power of Hearing the Other Into Being” is found in youTheology’s book: Matthaei, Sondra. Loving God, Loving Neighbor: Ministry With Searching Youth. XLibris, 2008.
Loving God, Loving Neighbor