Fox LO, Director of Inter-College Team
“You don’t listen, do you?”, questioned by Joker, the lead character in the movie “The Joker”, to the manager in charge of his social welfare case.
When I walked out of the cinema, this dialogue lingered on…… and I thought to myself, “If someone had listened, would Joker not have turned into a demon?” At the same time, I was struck by the fact that the world of the Joker in the movie and my own world seemed so distant yet so close. No! The real world might be even scarier than that in the movie…… The world of the movies would have Batman to save the day at least.
The voices of the grassroots and needs of people are not heard by the rich and powerful, and social problems build up and ferment…… without listening to them and without the proper remedies, riots eventually break out…… This is the plot of the movie. What about the real world? Many have been crying out loud and moaning in pain, but they are not heard at all!
If everyone, especially those in power, listens properly, the world should be different.
When I was young, I read the book Evangelism revisited by Mr. Raymond Fung, and was shocked to read this:
“Listening is more than just an evangelistic technique,
Listening is indeed an integral part of the gospel.
In the case of the sinned against,
Listener is the Good News.
The Presence of the Good News.”
Although I was instantly enlightened, I was too slow to understand. Days came and passed, I seemed to grasp some of the meanings but not all. Then, the days moved on.
Until last year in early July, I was privileged to attend a meeting of senior pastors and theologians to discuss various aspects of church renewal, one of which was the paradigm shift / tool update for evangelism.
Thus, I made up my mind and committed myself to do something about it. Last summer, I worked with my co-workers to develop a set of listening cards that combined situation, counselling, and evangelism as an evangelistic tool for campus missionaries. There are 8 listening cards, each containing one of the Beatitudes. On one side of the card is a picture and on the other side is a scripture. The pictures are images of the oppressed in the Beatitudes. Each user chooses a card that represents his or her feelings about the current situation in Hong Kong, and then shares one by one. Others will listen to the stories without judgement but showing empathy and praying for blessings. If circumstances permit, they may also reflect on the meaning of the verses written behind the cards and listen to Jesus’ words of comfort and hope for the Kingdom of God.
In addition, last year in August, Rev. Timothy Au of the China Graduate School of Theology asked me to join a team to explore how people with different political views listen to and understand each other. Under the facilitation of Rev. Au, I experienced several listening activities and learned a great deal about the power of listening to each other with all my heart.
People of Hong Kong are suffering physically, mentally and spiritually in these days, relationships have been torn apart and some of us are even heading towards the point of no return. I have had my heart broken a few times myself. Indeed, each and every one of us needs and deserves to be listened to. For this reason, our co-workers and students have been caring for the people around us through listening cards since the summer. In the past few months, we have also organized several trainings to equip people with willing hearts to become Active Listeners and Beatitudes Sharers, hoping to motivate more Christians to care for people in their communities or schools. I know one person cannot do much, but if one more “you” would stand up and listen to the people around you, one more “he or she” would be listened to, comforted, and given the hope of the Kingdom, our city could possibly be transformed in some ways!