Rich Paxson

I’m not exactly sure what “listening for the unheard voice” means. Based on my reading though, I think the phrase means listening and responding to the needs of the poor, the outcast; those rejected by the domination systems of our world.

Their voices are difficult to hear, or are not heard at all by those of us enmeshed in systems based on violent conflict. Jesus identified squarely with the rejected of his time. Jesus listened and responded to the unheard voices. Therefore if we are fully to encounter our Lord, then we must seek out the despised and rejected.

This task encompasses cultural and moralistic ideas and practices: who deserves to be heard; where God is to be found; what cultural transcendence looks and feels like; what practices will balance personal needs with those of the other person.

Rather than continue the list, I remember the notion that humanity is time-soaked, which helps me re-frame what initially appear as insurmountable obstacles; as mentalist, conditioned responses. Rather than analyzing the meaning of the unheard voice, I wonder:

Who is listening?

The question responds to my hunch that “the unheard voice” is as much my own silent voice, as it is the speaking, but unheard voices of those whom society excludes. Where is the grace-ful harmony merging my yet-to-be heard voice into the dance of compassionate language with healing change?