The Invisible Listeners

This post is written to those believers who write on the Internet about Grace. People who write to encourage others, to build them up, not tear them down.

I am a member of several Facebook groups where people of the Spirit voice things from God, things new and old. Old widsom, and new wisdom. Things for the building up of the Saints (Eph 4:12). Jesus Himself said that there was so much more He wanted to tell us (Jn 16:12), and this kind of publishing is part of that. Much of this stuff is the prophetic Word of God for today. You can tell by the fruits manifested in their readers that these words are bringing life to those that read them.

But there is also huge discouragement, and often even despair, for those who write. If you are one of these writers, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. On public posts, you are torn to shreds by (sometimes well-meaning) Religious people who don’t like what they read. The Scripture says that people would be offended by the message of Jesus, and this is for several reasons. Mostly, though, the offence is found in the simplicity of the Gospel message, where St. Paul simply preached Christ crucified. Jesus has accomplished all that is necessary for the way to be open to God, and He invites us into His Presence. And this is counterintuitive. We humans naturally feel that surely there must be something we have to do, some sacrifice we have to make, something we can feel, think, do or say that somehow will make God more pleased with us.

But, actually, no, there isn’t. He’s already more pleased with you than you can possibly imagine! And that’s what is so offensive to people: that nothing they can do – or not do – will make them any more or less acceptable to God.

And so, I would like to encourage all my readers here today who write for Jesus.

People like me, who share regular blog posts containing what we believe to be the truth about God and how much He loves us, and how especially fond He is of us. People who write occasional pieces just expressing how they are feeling and how God is meeting them right where they are at. Or people who just build up others by sharing simple, gentle encouragement, whether in forum replies such as on the Patheos website (my favourite channel being ‘Unfundamentalist Christians‘), or even just in gentle Facebook replies.

To all such people I would say this:

Listen: your posts are encouraging far more people than you realise!

You are blessing hundreds and thousands of people simply by writing your gentle words of Grace!

When I post on the Patheos forums, and my posts are torn to shreds by the Religious gatekeepers; the Pharisees, or maybe just those who are secretly uncertain of their faith and feel that my words shake their foundations – and reply with violence because they feel threatened – I don’t worry about it.

Because I know that my posts have been read by my intended audience – not the Pharisees, but those who are broken, hurting, feeling rejected by the prim-and-proper religious elite. Those of ‘different’ sexualities. Those who have received abuse at the hands of those who should have been healing them: corrupt church leaders; antagonistic judgemental people pointing out their ‘sin’; ‘Sin-police’; those who deem themselves ‘fruit inspectors’. I take these people on, not to try to turn them or convince them – God will do that for them in His own time; indeed, only He can do it anyway – but to let those thousands of ‘invisible listeners’ and ‘lurkers’ know that not all Christians are like those people who cause harm. There are indeed Christians who gently manifest the presence of Jesus in their writings, and, to those bloggers like me who want to be that gentle, I would say, “Keep it up!” You are touching many more people with God’s love than you can possibly realise!

I leave you with a comment that was sent me by a man in New Zealand, to encourage me about my other website, ‘VintageWorshipTapes‘. On that site, I restore and make available electronic recordings of old worship tapes from the seventies, eighties and nineties. The comment still moves me to tears even now. Here’s what he said:

“One day, when we are in His Presence, you will find out just how many people were encouraged by what you are doing”

Wow! And I think that’s today’s take-home message 🙂

[Edit] – An edited version of this post was published on the Unfundamentalist website on 7th May 2018. Click here to see it on that site.

10 thoughts on “The Invisible Listeners

  1. Thank you Tony for inviting me to your blog!! You are indeed an encourager. That is a very huge wonderful gift from the Holy Spirit in my humble opinion. I look forward to reading more of your posts!! Wot cheer!!

    1. Wot cheer indeed! Thank you Charles, that’s really kind of you to, yes, encourage me like that 🙂

  2. Oh one more thing!! Here is a portion of commentary I posted yesterday, July 17th, on experimental theology blog regarding encouragement.
    //The motto, “take what you need (of religion and religious disciplines that help makes sense to promote one’s recovery) leave the rest,” is a familiar and well-loved saying to most who rely on a recovery program to save their lives from substance abuse and antisocial Behavior. But I believe it applies to religious addiction or any kind of addiction. On page 87 of Alcoholics Anonymous there is encouragement regarding Discerning and applying the truth, wherever it is found. Truth that sets one free will be Aid in recovery from any addiction: “Be quick to see where religious people are right. Make use of what they offer.”//
    Here is a quote I love from Richard Rohr:
    “All great spirituality teaches about letting go of what you don’t need and who you are not. Then, when you can get little enough and naked enough and poor enough, you’ll find that the little place where you really are is ironically more than enough and is all that you need. At that place, you will have nothing to prove to anybody and nothing to protect. That place is called freedom. It’s the freedom of the children of God. Such people can connect with everybody. They don’t feel the need to eliminate anybody . . .”
    -Richard Rohr
    Yes that’s just where I want to be and where I am when I stay in constant contact with the Lord. It’s an amazing transformation that’s happened to me in the last 15 years since I’ve been clean and sober. I can connect with anybody. I cam love everybody. Maybe not right away. Sometimes the initial reactions I have are negative on negative people. But the Lord has given me a gift of insight to affirm everyone’s Humanity. The Quakers have a saying: “there is that of God in everyone”! And I just have to believe it’s true and it’s the bridge that connects everyone to everyone. That tiny particle that can never rust or be corrupted at the core of everyone’s being that belongs to God exclusively. When I get down, deep down, into my depressive state, because I have suffered from depression since childhood, and I’m empty and feel like I’m nothing is where I can connect with my higher power and move through the Wasteland of consciousness into a Heavenly space of communication!! This is just recently happened for me.

    1. Brilliant stuff; what a testimony. God is leading those who have the ears to hear into freedom in this time, and it’s obvious that you are one of those people. I need to remember also that those trapped in the legalistic, vicious grip of Religion are hurting just as much as we used to do. Only constant, loving encouragement can release them – but it takes time and a definite coming to an end of one’s own struggles in order to attain that.

      Thanks again for your contributions here, Charles 🙂

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