David Hudson, Abby Long, Caleb Cardenas, Julia Craig, Meredith Moench, Jason Brown, Aaron Brown, Joe Lim, Jason Smith, Sophia Matias, Mary Noll, Helen Herrle, Chris Erdos
I have always struggled to participate in discussions. This is due to many reasons: my discomfort with public speaking, worrying about being unable to contribute anything valuable to the conversation, and deference to those who I perceive as having more knowledge on the subject. This doesn't mean that I don't have a place in any discussion, though: through my lack of verbal engagement I have come to embrace and value my role as a listener.
Too often divisive issues on this campus become fragmented between those who are directly affected and those not affected, who therefore tend to dismiss the significance of these issues entirely. The recent dialogues about homosexuality at Wheaton are an example, as is, of course, the more recent problems regarding race. This division occurs as much in verbal dialogues as in written ones. It is important to remember, however, that there is value in participating and listening to discussions for which we have no vested interested. No man is an island, and in the community of Wheaton College the process of active listening allows for the possibility of grace and understanding to emerge even when we do not end up agreeing with what is being said. At Wheaton I think we sometimes have the tendency to avoid heated issues because of the uncomfortable tension that are their byproducts. Christian unity should not be created through silence and avoidance. Such strategies result only in superficial unity, preventing us from interacting with one another as we actually are. Honest disagreements can allow us to cultivate charity toward one another if they are done respectfully and with a willingness to actually listen to the other side. Indeed, disagreements can be valuable since a disagreement often implies active engagement with the issue being discussed.
And affirmation can be just as important as disagreement, since it is all too easy to criticize without giving enough attention to what someone has done right. These reactions can be done hand in hand, and my hope is that as this campus continues to wrestle with important issues that we have the ability to engage one another with the capacity to both challenge and uplift each other at the same time. Hence, it is all the more important to be a listener. It is through active listening and reading that we can resist the temptation of apathy and begin to truly engage with one another in order to foster a more welcoming community devoid of perspectives masked behind indifference or fear.
The Pub has always strived to be an outlet for student concerns through publishing, but our readers are just as important as our writers. This issue is for you. Fight the urge to just casually peruse this issue or to disregard it altogether. Embrace the role of a listener!