The joys you miss By Wearing Headphones

WHEN you take a walk or go for a morning jog, do you wear headphones? A New Earth author Eckhart Tolle says you may be missing out on an important spiritual moment.

Every day, Tolle says he takes a walk through the forest near his home. Most of the people he encounters on his path are either wearing headphones or chatting with a friend. “And very few people are actually truly present there as they walk through this beautiful forest,” Tolle says . “And this is a spiritual practice. And I recommend that people — whenever they go out into nature, especially — practice being very alert so that they can perceive the trees, the flowers, the plans, the sky, without too much mental interference.”

Tolle has a good point. For those of us who liked getting on a bus or a train and overhearing, or even taking part in, conversations, there is something a bit bleak about the dozens of private solitudes which nowadays clamber aboard.

It is three decades or so since the Walkman. Three decades since we first got on a bus or a train and heard that infuriating tsst, tsst, tsst, tsst noise emanating from a wired-up earhole just behind us, 30-plus years since one section of the population became literally deaf to the existence of the other half.

With one of these infernal electronic things plugged in to your head you are literally deaf to the needs of others, and have no idea quite what a nuisance you are being.

We need to learn the language of silence.


19 thoughts on “The joys you miss By Wearing Headphones

  1. “We need to learn the language of silence.”

    It’s Jesus; always Jesus for me. This is what came to me in my silence, and I have never heard the song before:

    VERSE 1:
    Behold You have come over the hills upon the mountain
    To me, You will run. My Beloved, You’ve captured my heart

    CHORUS 1:
    Won’t You dance with me, Oh
    Lover of my soul,
    to the song of all songs?

    VERSE 2:
    With You, I will go You are my Love You are my Fair One
    The winter has passed and the springtime has come

    CHORUS 2:
    Won’t You dance with me, Oh
    Lover of my soul,
    to the song of all songs?
    Romance me, Oh
    Lover of my soul
    to the song of all songs.


    • And courtesy of Ps. Francis Frangipane via email today:

      Unrelenting Love

      We simply must have more of the presence of Jesus Christ in our lives.

      As a pattern, therefore, we will look at the Song of Solomon 3:1-4. Here we find a bride and bridegroom, both of whom are intolerant of the distance between them. The bride in the passage symbolizes the church in her deepest longings for Jesus; the bridegroom represents the Lord.

      The bride: “On my bed night after night I sought him whom my soul loves” (v.1).

      Although fear or conflict may drive us toward God, on the highest level, seeking God is an action roused by the power of unrelenting love. The bride’s ability to sleep is gone because her beloved is gone. She must seek him. For such is the nature of love.

      Some will say, “But I already know the Lord. I have found Him.” In reality, it was He who found us. Our salvation rests securely upon this truth. But while many rest upon Christ having found them, they have little interest in possessing a greater relationship with Him; they do not realize His deep love for us. The bride loves because Christ first loved her (1 John 4:19). She arises now to find Him. In the very love that He inspired, she pursues her beloved.

      The apostle Paul wrote, “As many as are perfect, have this attitude” (Phil. 3:15). To seek and know Christ is the attitude of the mature; it is the singular obsession of Christ’s bride.

      In this maturing process, there will come a point when your love for God will take ascendancy over mere intellectual or doctrinal understanding. The bride of Christ cannot contain her longing; she refuses to adjust to feeling empty and will not reconcile the passion of her soul with the absence of her beloved.

      Note also that there is an unfolding dimension to seeking the Lord. Genuine love for God is an ever-increasing hunger. As one would die without food, so we feel we will die without Him. The bride says, “Night after night I sought him” (Song of Sol. 3:1). She has come to love the Lord with all her heart, with all her soul, and with all her mind (Matt. 22:37). Her love has become all-consuming; to accept his absence is impossible.

      He will not find His fullness by seeking Him merely in convenient times and comfortable places. Rather, our quest is a determined and continual pilgrimage. It will not end until He is disclosed to us (John 14:21). We are confident, though, for He has promised that in the day we seek Him with our whole heart, we shall find Him (Jer. 29:13). He assures us, “I will be found by you” (v. 14).

      You are His bride. He is returning from Heaven for you! The single glance of your eyes toward Him makes His heart beat faster. Such love is inconceivable. He sees your repentance from sin as your preparation for Him — His bride making herself ready. He beholds you kneeling, weeping at your bedside. He shares your painful longing. He has been watching. And the bridegroom says, “The glance of your eyes has made my heart beat faster.”

      The Lord has a promise for His bride. There is coming a fresh baptism of love that will surpass and fulfill all our knowledge of Him. We will know the height and depth, the length and the breadth of His love. While yet here on earth, we will be filled with His fullness. (See Eph. 3:18-19, Amplified).”

      Adapted from Francis Frangipane’s book, And I Will Be Found By You


  2. Hi Rian,

    Hope you don’t mind that I have moved our discussion to this thread. I am getting confused with our replies being all over the place in the other thread.

    Okay, I will try and explain my position one last time; one last time because I am about to fly far, far away.

    I reiterate, “This is what I firmly believe, and I will take this belief to my grave—The truly redeemed are all those who have placed their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation.”

    BUT, I do not believe that only Christians can be saved, and this is why:

    “Peter says this about Jesus in Acts 4:12: Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.

    If you were to have extended dialogue with both a Christian and a Buddhist, you would soon come to appreciate that both followers are sincere, and that both religions teach many good and worthwhile things. The world would be a more peaceful and productive place if all six billion citizens practiced the philosophy of Buddha. However, even the honest Buddhist will concede that his faith system doesn’t provide for a salvation plan to atone for his sins. Only the Christian religion has the Son of God paying the inevitable penalty for our rebellion.

    The question then comes: well, what if an innocent person — a sincere Buddhist, for example — lives in a part of the world or in an era of time where he or she never encounters the offer of Jesus. Must such a person be lost?

    In The Contemporary Christian , John Stott writes: “’Exclusivism’ (an unfortunately negative term, which gives the impression of wanting to exclude people from the kingdom of God) is used to denote the historic Christian view that salvation cannot be found in other religions, but only in Jesus Christ. ‘Inclusivism’ allows that salvation is possible to adherents of other faiths, but attributes it to the secret and often unrecognized work of Christ.” He then observed that an important Catholic council, Vatican II, “embraced this view in its statement that Christ’s saving work holds good ‘not only for Christians, but for all men of good will in whose hearts grace works in an unseen way.’”

    If we believe the Bible, this headline from Acts is crystal clear: only the name of Jesus can save. If a person finds themselves in heaven someday, it will be because of what Jesus did at Calvary. That is irrefutable. But the verse does not say that every citizen of heaven will have necessarily heard the name of his Savior. We often receive gifts, and for a time we don’t know who the Giver is.

    Is it possible, as we weigh what God’s Word says in II Peter 3:9 — God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance — that a generous Judge can determine a person’s destiny by knowing their heart and determining what they would have done had they found themselves at the foot of the cross?

    In his classic volume, Mere Christianity , C. S. Lewis makes this generous confession: “[This] used to puzzle me. Is it not frightfully unfair that this new life should be confined to people who have heard of Christ and been able to believe in him? But the truth is God has not told us what his arrangements about the other people are. We do know that no man can be saved except through Christ; we do not know that only those who know Him can be saved through Him.
    The Bible clearly paints a picture of God eager to consider any evidence of a person’s willingness — early or late — to live in the eternal kingdom where his Son reigns forever.”

    Written by David B. Smith, ‘Bible Bay’


    • I know what I say may sound contradictory Rian,

      But the fact of the matter is that God does not show favouritism, and what He is sovereignly doing in the Muslim countries just blows me away. And so, there is no reason to doubt that He is also sovereignly touching people of other faiths. Many say a supernatural dimension is at work throughout the Islamic world.

      “There is an end-time phenomenon that is happening through dreams and visions,” said Christine Darg, author of The Jesus Visions: Signs and Wonders in the Muslim World. “He is going into the Muslim world and revealing, particularly, the last 24 hours of His life – how He died on the cross, which Islam does not teach – how He was raised from the dead, which Islam also does not teach – and how He is the Son of God, risen in power.”

      “We receive lots of letters about people who have had dreams about the Lord, visions, even miracles,” Nizar Shaheen said (host of Light for the Nations, a Christian program seen throughout the Muslim world). “When they watch the program, they say yes, we had a dream or a vision, and they accept Jesus as Lord.”

      But Muslims who accept Jesus face persecution, discrimination or even death, and it would be perfectly acceptable to think that they would keep their new found faith to themselves, but despite the dangers, many continue to live out their faith and lead others to Jesus Christ.

      From: ‘Visions of Jesus Stir Muslim Hearts’ By Chris Mitchell, CBN News Mideast Bureau Chief


      • Oh dear!: “But the fact of the matter is that God does not show favouritism”
        We Chosen People will be most upset if that ever gets out!


      • Isaiah in 41.8 and around repeats that Israel, descendants of Abraham, are chosen to be servants of God.

        I suppose you could call that favouritism. Or not.


  3. And again Rian,

    Does the Bible teach that only christians can be “saved”?

    “Three doctrinal views:

    On this view, only those who specifically put their faith in Jesus and ask him for forgiveness can be saved. There are certainly Bible passages that appear to indicate this, including Romans 3:21-25, 1 Peter 1:18-21, Acts 4:12 ( “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” ), and perhaps the strongest, from Jesus himself in John 14:6:

    “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

    However there are difficulties with this view.

    Taken strictly, none of the Jews before Jesus, even the heroes of the faith, could be saved, because none of them had believed in Jesus.

    It appears to be unjust that those who have never heard of Jesus, even newborn babies, would be condemned without opportunity to believe. Even if we don’t believe in a hell of eternal punishment, this seems to be way too harsh for a loving God.

    Universalism teaches that because God is love and God is sovereign, in the end everyone will be saved. And there are passages that appear to support this view, perhaps most notably 1 Corinthians 15:22: “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive”

    However there are many other passages that teach differently (such as those referenced above under “Exclusivism”) and Jesus’ warnings about punishment in the age to come (e.g. Matthew 25:41,46), and it seems that universalism must remain a hopeful but unlikely possibility.

    Inclusivism teaches that while people can only be saved through Jesus, it will not only be Christian believers who will be saved. Support from this view comes from several sources:

    1. Many apparently exclusivist passages can be seen as supporting this view. Check out John 14:6, Acts 4:12, Romans 3:21-25, 1 Peter 1:18-21 and many others, and you’ll find that they say clearly that Jesus is the only means of salvation, and that faith in him leads to salvation but they don’t say that others cannot be saved through Him too , and they allow for the possibility that God’s grace in Jesus extends to more people than just those who specifically identify as Christians. The exclusivist case isn’t nearly as strong as it first appears.


    • 2. Quite a few passages suggest that God’s mercy is wider than we may sometimes think.

      Romans 2:14-16 : “(Indeed, when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature things required by the law, they are a law for themselves, even though they do not have the law. They show that the requirements of the law are written on their hearts, their consciences also bearing witness, and their thoughts sometimes accusing them and at other times even defending them.) This will take place on the day when God judges people’s secrets through Jesus Christ, as my gospel declares.”

      Acts 17:24-27 : “God …. gives everyone life and breath and everything else. From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth …. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him”

      Acts 10:34-35 : “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favouritism but accepts from every nation the one who fears Him and does what is right.”

      2 Chronicles 16:9 : “For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. “

      Other passages worth mentioning here are Matthew 25:34-40, John 1:9, Psalm 103:10-14, Isaiah 66:2 and Micah 6:8.

      3. It makes sense of the fact that at least some people (the Old Testament Jews) were saved without knowing about Jesus. And it seems more just, for “Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25).

      From all this we learn that although none of us can live worthy enough to earn God’s favour, that favour can come to us via our faith (Romans 3:21-25, Ephesians 2:8-9), or our heart attitude (Acts 10:34-35, Romans 10:13, 2 Chronicles 16:9) or our actions (Matthew 25:34-40, Acts 10:34-35, Micah 6:8).


      • What shall we conclude?

        Is the inclusivist view the correct one? Is it most in accordance with Scripture? Exclusivist passages seem to also fit an inclusivist view. Certainly the inclusivist view seems more just and loving, don’t you think?

        Will we live in eternity with many people who did not have the opportunity to believe in Jesus, but whose hearts were open to God? I cannot answer that, but that is certainly what I hope for and in my heart of hearts, believe. Whatever the reality may be, we will only be there by the grace of God and because Jesus died for those of other faiths and atheists alike.

        And I believe that the only burden God places upon us, is that we respond to the light we are given.

        From the way? Following Jesus in the 21st Century


    • Mon,
      Thanks for all the explanatory material you’ve given here. Very interesting, and as you say, one can come up with some tricky contradictions when studying the difference between Excl and Incl.

      One thing that I was a little surprised about is that in that posting at 18.04, the third alternative to Inclusivism and Exclusivism was given as Universalism. Now, when last I looked into the matter, the third described was Pluralism instead. This is the theory that each religion can equally lead to God and some sort of heaven or salvation. Whereas Universalism appears to take no reckoning of the need for any sort of religion or spiritual faith to be followed at all; and thus atheists and their ilk have no problem at all. The great Church Father Origen apparently suggested that right at the ‘end’, the Devil himself may well be saved too.

      So Pluralism may still possibly require some sort of spiritual path or religion. My comment might perhaps be a bit picky; and for all I know Pluralism and Universalism just might mean the same thing after all according to those clever guys who figure all these things out.

      I shall have a couple of questions to follow after this. But I will not include more than one such in any posting to save complexity.
      love Rian.


      • Bryan,
        Hm, I think a question was implied in the description I offered of Inclusive and Exclusive. In other words something like.. ‘Is there, or do you have an authoritative definition that clears up any distinction between Pluralism and Universalism?’ You actually explained nothing in your comment.

        I certainly revere and hold to the idea of a ‘God’ whose message and expectation is very definitely Love, and of ‘whom it might be claimed that part of ‘his’ essence and manifestation is Love. I might add that it is love that largely characterises the relationship between the God and his creation. But this God is simply not God in the Christian terms and qualifications. Issues like the one I just brought up are NOT solved by such a blanket statement as ‘God is Love.’ Non-Christians cannot help but get led astray by that phrase. To my memory, Jesus never said it.

        Why do you bother to run the Faithworks column at all, if the essence of what you are putting forward is simply ‘God is Love’? All you need to do each day is to repeat that phrase and you’ve done your job.

        Again, why are there loads and loads of theological texts written in esoteric complex language; and why is there a Bible at all if all you really need is for everyone to read learn and repeat the words “God is Love”? Anyway, the phrase is surely grammatically incomprehensible.

        I guess that in the long run, the phrase is in-house shorthand Jargon, presumably for certain of the experiences and observations that Christians have.

        Rian. (But anyway, I do have a couple of further questions for Monica, that will be clearly spelt out in precise question form.)


    • Joshua, you suggested elsewhere that posters here could with agreement set up our own church. Ha ha ha! We do differ, sometimes dramatically.

      I for one appreciate much of what you’ve posted, though I have some reservations. I don’t think you can feel opposed to all here all of the time, just some people some of the time. 🙂


      • Enjoy!
        But truly, I don’t “feel opposed” to anyone. Gd made them what they are, so I have no cause for complaint. (Except that he could’ve also created a longer list of approved names.)

        Still, given all the ‘Monicas’ posting here , the idea of a communal church (where most of the congregation has something in common) came to me.

        Inspired? I don’t know. But there appears to be some Divine Encouragement in that The Lord has already provided a Patron Saint: Saint Monica of Hippo. (Though I’m not sure whether that’s a reference to pelvic girdle dimensions – a Mother Earth sort of connotation – or something else, like short-sightedness.)

        Just a thought.


      • What do you think of my new name Joshua?

        Monica has bouts of verbal diarrhoea at times, especially when she has a bee in her bonnet. It’s time for a change though. Like you, I am sick of her! Why, she’s almost as bad a talker as our old mate dabbles, who used to be a regular contributor here until he spat the dummy and took off in a huff.

        Thought I might change it to Bulgarian Squirrel instead, furry nuts and all! What do you think Joshua White? Does it suit me?

        Moni’s my favourite though. I was thinking of shortening it to Moni, but then I read the etymology (well, more like Urban Legend) of ‘Moni’ and, well, I just loved the sound (and description) of ‘Bulgarian Squirrel’:

        “Moni, is a high pitched bulgarian squirrel. It is usually very short, and acts as a pest in the animal, and human society. At a first glance, this creature might appear human, but after getting a closer look and better experience the Moni’s personality, you may want to harm this creature. But, beware, for it has vocal cords similar to that of a human, like a parrot, which is what makes it so high pitched. This creature develops grudges against those who have reason to dislike it (everyone!)”

        Ha ha, tricked you Joshua White! 🙂


      • Joshua,
        I guess you will already have learned about it, but St Monica was the Christian mother of the great early Church father St Augustine (of Hippo of course!)
        cheers, Rian.


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