Monday, January 15, 2007

Shut up and Listen

Today's column was truly a pain in the tushie to write. I handed my first version to Jon because I hated it and thought perhaps he'd reassure me that it was better than I'd thought.

"Julie, this is terrible. You're a much better writer than this. I don't like it."

Huh. Guess I'm a reasonable judge of my crappy writing after all.

So I scrapped the entire draft (which had six drafts prior to it) and sat across the kitchen table from Jon while he pelted me with questions and pushed me to tell my own story (rather than schooling the world in my Profound Insights). Ah, yes - the old, tell on yourself first.

So that's what you have today. Thanks for reading. And thanks, Jon, for real feedback. I need it like a clonk over the head... which apparently I needed today.


thechurchgeek said...


What did you say?

Just kiddin...great commentary, which reminds me that I probably should be including some other voices in my regular blog reading.

You're absolutely right about listening to other voices; very, very dangerous! Anne Lamott's first book on faith was what kicked open the door for me.

carrie said...

I admit a few protective walls are up... but I'm listening.....



Kansas Bob said...

I agree with this:

"Listening will rearrange your beliefs, ideals, hopes and practices. As it should."

I liked the way you were able to discern the good stuff from the rhetoric Julie. It is similar to my experiences of the past year.

my15minutes said...

Loved your final column. It's always good to be reminded what listening is really about!

brian said...


You're right about the listening thing. As a recovering Evangelical though, it's sometimes difficult to stretch out and listen to those dangerous, heretical voices intent on destroying our faith. It seems the first thing many religions do to keep their converts is warn them about the dangers of being open to other voices.

I'm pretty much over that fear though. Through the internet I've been able to listen to Pagans, Orthodox Jews Buddhists, Atheists and actually discover there are Liberal Progressive Christians in the world and I've learned a lot from all of them.

SusansPlace said...

"Fearless Listening"...I like that. Good reminder.


SusansPlace said...

P.S. What does Beth mean by "Final" column? Surely not! Is there something you need to tell us.


julieunplugged said...

Susan, I think she meant my final version of this column (given that I had six priors that sucked rocks). :)

Ampersand said...

I am inspired to "fearless listening" without regard to whether I get it in return.

It is that "in return" part that has been getting to me lately. But you know what? Who cares! I want to listen at least as much as I want to be heard. I want to be changed by others at least as much as I want to be known by them. If not more.

Thanks for the boost.

Rob Asghar said...

Very good stuff here, Julie. You manage to make a great distinction between how most people use the Internet -- as an echo chamber that reinforces their stereotypes -- and how we can use it to challenge ourselves.

Life seems to be about encounter, about a dynamic and transforming web of relationships (I used web just now, not even realizing its Internet sense), and you helped spell out how cyberspace can be that, instead of being a cold realm of virtual reality.

Sandie said...

Really good article, I also like using the internet to 'be like a fly on the wall'. It is interesting to hear what people are really saying and not what we are told they are saying...if that makes any sense :)

Steve said...


I trust this might be the beginning of your faith discovery/deconstructionist journey? If so, wave a flag for those of us with thicker heads and less hair.

I am listening......