Adam McHugh Is In the House! * The Listening Life

Way back in 2009, I won a copy of Adam McHugh's brand new book Introverts in the Church on some website.  And nothing was ever the same.

Hungrily devouring page after page, it turned out to be a rather seismic, empowering experience.  I didn't have a clue that I was so incredibly thirsty for the affirming truths he put on the table.  Finally, someone gave me full permission to be exactly who God created me to be.  

Fast forward a few years ... and Adam was inviting his blog readers to consider the possibility of doing a guest post on his site.  Graciously, he had mercy on this fledgling blogger and posted my Grabbing the Oxygen Mask in 2012.

Six years later, I couldn't be more excited to swing wide the doors and welcome Adam here to kick off our second Book Open House, featuring his most recent work, The Listening Life: Embracing Attentiveness in a World of Distraction.  Once again, Adam has penned a book that has the potential to turn your life upside down and inside out.

I'm grateful he said 'yes' to my invitation ...

When my book, The Listening Life, was published, I asserted at the time that there was a crisis of listening in our society. That was December 2015. Let’s just say that the last two and a half years have not exactly done anything to change my mind about that thesis. What was a “listening crisis” then may have been sucked into a “listening vortex” now. I don’t think I need to defend myself too vigorously when I say that our public life is not one that prioritizes listening to each other, and most of us are not currently represented by people who are modeling good listening. No matter what side of the aisle you are on, everyone seems to be speaking and so few people seem to be listening.

The more I think about listening, and the more I try to practice it, the more I am convinced that becoming a good listener is not mostly about gaining a new set of skills. It is about becoming a particular kind of person. If you want to practice good and genuine listening, you must become a Listener. Is there anyone who is a naturally good listener? That depends: do you find emptying yourself, surrendering ego and control, setting aside conversational agenda, and restraining your immediate emotional responses natural? Yeah, me neither.

Because I also have written a book about introversion, called Introverts in the Church, people ask me regularly if listening is a more attainable skill for introverts than for extroverts. What I usually say in response is listening and not speaking are not necessarily the same thing, but that not speaking is a really good start. So perhaps introverts have a head start in the non-speaking component of listening, but if you are introvert like me, you may find your head constantly buzzing with thoughts while another person is trying to share with you. While I may be able to offer outward space quite comfortably, the real challenge for me is in offering others my inward space, sweeping away the internal distractions that prevent me from true presence. Again, I am not convinced that listening is a natural activity for anyone, no matter your temperament.

My hope for all of you, my friends, as you read the fruit of 6 years of listening and researching for me, is that you will be challenged to become Listeners and not only people who can enumerate the steps of listening. Because people who seek to become listeners start acting a lot like Jesus. And because our society, and the people in our lives, are desperate for listeners.

(I am sure I will peek in a time or two at the comments on this post, but the best way to contact me is to follow this link. And if you would be interested in having me speak (ironic, I know) for an event or weekend, send me an email.) 



We'll be discussing The Listening Life for the next five weeks.   As always, I'll be putting two quotes on the table for your consideration on Thursday mornings. 

This is an open house kind of book club so there's no need to feel like you've gotta show up on Thursday.  Come and go as you can ... the best part of the whole deal is joining in on the conversation that follows.

Next week, we'll be talking about the Introduction and Chapter 1.  

And if you're not reading along, please drop by anyway and jump on into the discussion.  You're welcome with or without the book!   Feel free to bring along your real life and online friends, too.  The more, the merrier.

Please join me in thanking Adam for taking the time to give us some substantial food for thought today.  Go ahead and use the link in his last paragraph to connect with him.  He's a nice guy.

And tell him Linda sent ya' ...




on Wednesdays