Old Voices With New Sound

WORDS FROM W.W.                                                                   May 9, 2012

 

One of my closest friends in ministry is Tom Bayes. He, Chuck Moore, and I (Wolfe) met together for lunch every other Thursday for several years when we were all pastoring churches in the Lansing, Michigan area. We referred to ourselves as “The BMW Lunch Group” (Bayes, Moore, Wolfe).

Tom has a little southern twang to his voice that is distinctive. He and I were roommates on the first trip to Israel that both of us were on. He harassed me in humorous ways about the fact that I was only bringing back a pack of caramel candies to my wife from the Holy Land.

Tom and I talked on the phone about three weeks ago for a solid hour. He sounded like…Tom!

Last week I got a call on him that I couldn’t answer at the time, so I called him back a while later. The voice on the other end wasn’t Tom. It sounded like an 80 year old cowboy sitting around a campfire eating beans and chewing tobacco. It wasn’t his voice.

He asked me how I was doing.

“Fine…do you know who you are talking to?”

“Sure…Bill Wolfe.”

“And this is Tom Bayes?”

“Yes.”

“Tom Bayes in Illinois.”

Chuckle. “Yes.”

“Man, it just doesn’t sound like you.”

Our conversation went on. He was telling me a couple things about his wife, Diane. But it felt uncomfortable, because I know Tom’s voice and this didn’t sound like him. Finally, after just a few minutes I made some excuse about needing to be some place, and we ended the conversation.

The thing is, it was Tom. The problem, or the change agent if you will, was Verizon or AT&T. The connection made him sound different. I was used to him just sounding one way. (Of course, I never thought about the possibility that he sounded the same. It was my hearing that had changed.)

As people of God our hearing is often tuned in to a spiritual monotone voice. We can only hear one thing, one note, one voice, one way. One is a number that is used in Scripture quite often to talk about unity, focus, purpose, and wholeness, but we often play it out by thinking that the voice of God gets heard in only one way. When the voice is different than what we’ve been accustomed to it becomes just a little bit too weird.

In Scripture, Abraham heard from three visitors, Moses from a bush that was blazing, Balaam from his mode of transportation, Mary from an angel, Joseph from an angel in a dream, Elijah from a gentle whisper. The way God communicates his message is always truth, but in a multitude of forms.

Can we hear in new ways?

I’ll admit that it was tough to hear my old friend Tom with a new voice. Spiritually speaking, however, I believe you can teach and old church how to hear in new ways.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christianity, Faith, Humor, Story, The Church, Uncategorized

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One Comment on “Old Voices With New Sound”

  1. laurenlisang Says:

    Hearing (reading) this now a second time, I’ve gained an even great appreciation for the fresh perspective you give.Thanks for interpreting your experience with Tom in a way that is relevant to all, and to the church at large!


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