BROADCAST YOURSELF? (Letters and Papers From Prison)

One of the things Bonhoeffer observes as he relates to the other prisoners is the way people conduct themselves in conversation. He is particularly disappointed with the way people converse in the prison. He says, “There are very few people here who can carry on a conversation that goes beyond their own personal concerns.” They just want to talk about themselves. Whether they speak truth or not is of no concern.
What Bonhoeffer observed in prison is now a full-blown global obsession. After all, one of the biggest sites on the internet is YouTube whose motto happens to be “Broadcast Yourself.”
The saddest thing about our desire to talk about ourselves is our failure to realize no one is listening. Everyone is too busy talking. Bonhoeffer says, “They talk incessantly about their own affairs to others who hardly even listen.”
In a world that tells us to express ourselves, broadcast ourselves, or as the army ironically says, “Be an army of one,” we ought to pause for a minute and consider that maybe someone else has something to say that is worth listening to.
We do not have to talk. We can listen.
In fact, James 1 encourages us to “quick to listen and slow to speak.” Not bad advice in a world that wants to talk about itself.

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