Today’s young woman is at greater risk of digestive disorders than ever before. Missed meals, crash-dieting, long work hours, and a generally frenetic lifestyle all set the scene for the chronic heartburn that is the main symptom of reflux disease (known as GORD, or gastro-oesophageal reflux disease). This uncomfortable condition, which affects up to 20% of people in the western world, is also very common during pregnancy and if you are overweight.
Do you state your problem clearly to the doctor, or are you a 'while I'm here' or 'hand-on-the-door-knob' patient, stating your main concern just as you're about to leave? Do you save your ailments up and then go to the doctor with a 'list'? Do you write down what your doctor says, and if not, how well do you remember it? Surveys show that a staggering 40% of patients go away with a completely different message to that given by their GP, while a third leave the surgery with their questions unasked because they feel too time-pressured or stressed to ask.
Many in church leadership roles know the truth of Bonhoeffer’s words, but there seem to be obstacles and barriers that get in the way of that sort of quality of listening. We seem to live with the illusion that speaking and doing are more important than listening. In the face of all the many challenges for the church the temptation is for more strategies for success, more pressure to turn things around. Listening in whatever form easily gets marginalized. Here, Chris Edmonson outlines why listening is so essential to good leadership.