In William Briscoe’s book entitled “You Hear Me, But Are You Listening” he talks about what inhibits our clear communication. One thing he notes is our “belief filter.” He says, “you filter everything you hear through beliefs about yourself, about life, and about others. Your political, religious and other strong beliefs change the message you are ‘hearing.’ [People] will filter all conversations through that belief. [They] will hear the things validating [their] belief and ignore the things that do not agree with it.” I think there is a lot of truth in that analysis. It’s fascinating that people can hear different things from the same speech, play, presentation, book or even a sermon. We gravitate and affirm the things we want to hear, and we ignore or gloss over the things that don’t speak to us.View Sermon
There’s one word at my family gatherings that makes me cringe. It’s a word that outsiders like to use to describe my generation. The word also comes in to play in the polarization of democrats and republicans views of social programs. Entitlement. (Cringes) Just the way it’s naturally pronounced communicates disdain – inˈtīdlmənt. It sneers. It shames. Entitlement programs. Entitled generations. / Millennials have received the brunt of this “entitled” label: the generation where people hate to work, a generation that doesn’t take responsibly, and the age group that just wants everything given to them.View Sermon
Have you heard about that new restaurant? What’s new with you? Did you see that new show?
We all like novelty in one way or another. Yet, this newness can quickly disappear as we become familiar with it. Soon the novelty of a newly renovated “L” station becomes nothing special, until we find another new experience – hello cell service underground! It turns out that it’s not just because of a cultural shift that novelty wears off easily. Rather, it’s hardwired into our brains. As humans we seek out and appreciate novelty. New things grab our attention. Researchers have found that we essentially have a part of the brain that is our “novelty center” which responds to novel stimuli. This novelty center causes an increase in dopamine, which ultimately makes us want to go exploring in search of a reward. This experience of novelty is what we’ve been focused on here in church for the past three weeks.