(Review) The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction by Adam S. McHugh
Publisher: IVP Books.
Genre: Nonfiction, listening, psychology.
Rating: 5 stars for excellent.
Adam S. McHugh's blog
For more information at IVP Books.
Adam S. McHugh is the author of another book: Introverts in the Church: Finding our Place in an Extroverted Culture.
I'm an introvert. I'm able to lead committees, meet and greet people in the church, and take part in Bible study discussions. However, I'm an introvert at heart. I need time, sometimes extensive time, to do my own thing in solitude.
Just because I'm a quiet introvert, does not mean I'm a good listener. Through the years I've learned the importance of listening, but this is a work in process.
I'm a member of the IVP Bookclub. After coming across this book in the month's section, I had to read it.
Nine chapters teach and apply the importance of listening.
"1. The Listening Life
2. The King Who Listens
3. Listening to God
4. Listening to Scripture
5. Listening to Creation
6. Listening to Others
7. Listening to People in Pain
8. Listening to Your Life
9. The Society of Reverse Listening"
McHugh states, "Listening is a practice of focused attention." Page 19.
The importance of being an astute listener is important as a disciple of Christ Jesus. It is a first step in being a friend, prayer partner, and loving servant. We listen attentively, because we love people. We love people, because we are commanded to, "love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:39. NLT.
I love this book! As my friend Becky at Becky's Book Reviews and Operation Actually Read Bible expresses, I'm gushing about this book!
Several points led me to award The Listening Life 5 stars for excellent:
- "Listening is an act of servant hood and serving is hard." Page 22. I'd never realized until reading this book, how important listening is as a servant and in the Kingdom.
- God is silent at times, or we perceive Him to be silent. McHugh reminds us God is working in our life. Through this silent time our dependence in Him and faith grows.
- Our hearts are selfish. We think about ourselves most of the time. McHugh directs us to empty ourselves of "self" and instead serve others out of love.
- Example of bad listening and good listening.
- The importance of asking "open-ended questions" in conversation.
- How to listen and speak to those who are suffering.
- Dealing with emotions in conversation.
- Listening to the culture and to community.
- The voices in our head and how to "deal" with them.
The topic of God talking to us is discussed. Depending on the readers denomination and or belief in whether or not God speaks to our "hearts." This part of the book may or may not be of interest and the reader may not agree with the authors stance. Don't let this part of the discussion distance you from the book. Listening is an important life skill. It is an important Christian life action. Glean from the book what you feel is needed in your life.
My favorite quote:
Some of the most revealing moments are when a word hangs in the air, echoing through the listeners, lingering even after they have moved on in the conversation. We listen for those authentic moments, those truly human moments when someone reveals herself to us, when the mask, even just for a second, comes off and we meet the real person. Page 157.