The great tradition of taking a pilgrimage to learn and love a new people, has all but been lost in the Western world. All cultures and all religions have had this as an integral part of their lives. Ted and I were pilgrims. We were learners. We actually listened far more than we spoke. I was seeing the Middle East as if for the first time, through his eyes and ears.
It changes everything when you place yourself in a posture of learning rather than teaching. What if these “bad guys” we were meeting weren’t just simple thugs? What if they had some good points? Or not…? Or….well, who knows. But we won’t know if we don’t want to learn.
One of Jesus’ common intros into a new thought was “To him who has ears to hear, let him hear.” Jesus never assumed people really wanted to hear. They often don’t. But for the ones with ears to hear something new, fresh, life-giving – then they can hear. But he won’t force us to hear. We have to want it… And I’d say that was one of the richest things of the trip – we heard the people. Really heard them. All sides. And through them, we often heard God!