You Talk Too Much

“You talk too much!”

Rather disrespectful words to say to a parish priest, don’t you think?

Sadly, I hear these words said to me on a regular basis. What’s worse is that they’re right. It’s not as bad as it sounds, for the person who is constantly saying that to me is me. But I have to tell myself that far too often. Here are a few examples:

Someone has come to discuss a problem with me. We sit down and they begin telling their story. I keep suggesting solutions that sound so simple and obvious, but would actually never work in reality.
I am talking too much.

The same person goes on, thankfully ignoring my useless interruptions. Now they are venting their emotions. Tears are flowing. I tell them a few meaningless clichés just to fill the silence between sobs. The clichés don’t help them, and they just make me feel even more useless because I have nothing meaningful to say. They would have been better left unsaid and I should have respected the silence that can sometimes allow that still small voice of God to be heard.
I am talking too much.

Now I am in a meeting and a decision needs to be made about some issue. An idea jumps into my head, and before I have thought about it I blurt it out. But it doesn’t really move matters forward, in fact it is more of a distraction from the real issue at hand. The meeting drags on longer and longer because of these red herrings.
I am talking too much.

Three or four youth are standing around and I go over and engage them in a little light conversation. Before I know it, I am doing all the talking and they are doing all the listening. That’s right of course, isn’t it? I’m the priest, and I have to teach? But it also means that I learn nothing about them; or from them. I miss out on all sorts of new perspectives and interesting ideas they might have opened up for me. I don’t get the chance to enter their world, to share in their lives and their cares and their joys.
I am talking way too much.

Standing at the pulpit I am delivering a sermon on Sunday. Things seem to be going well until I suddenly realise that I have left the real topic of the sermon and gotten on to one of my personal pet hates. With horror I realise that I am now using the pulpit not to spread the word of God, but the personal opinions of an individual. I look out, and all those innocent faces are looking at me attentatively, apparently enjoying my little gripe session. Dear Lord! I am teaching them to complain! Clearly, I am talking too much.

And so it goes on. And on. And on.

When will I learn to keep quiet?

Fr Ant

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7 Replies to “You Talk Too Much”

  1. Forgive me father , I Believe some of the community is steaming off ” healthy sign “and not complaining because i believe most of them learned over the years that complaining will get them no where and they learned as well no body will listen to them except our merciful God …. anyhow , praise and blame are all the same is a fancy way of reminding ourselves of the old cliche that we will never be able to please all people all the time …. however ,on the other hand ,always there is room for improvement and the door still left open by our lord for all his creatures who hope one day the Lord will assist them to come back from their withdrawal syndrome” Apathy phase ” to his green paddocks and enjoy real christian meaningful and positive way of life !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!every thing is possible in the lord ,amen ….praise God by our life ….forgive me father , God bless you … ya ,i agree quietness is sometimes is a useful tool in a lot of situations of our worldly and spiritual life , it is true ….may the holy spirit guide us all and specially bless and look after those least in our community ,amen …

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  2. Forgive me father the other day some people of our community who read regularly the blog commented on the above title “YOU TALK TOO MUCH ” they said it scared them and not encouraging for the participation of others to throw their concerns and any positive and constructive ideas for the benefit of the whole community church ??!! any how back to my point today for those who are interested only that truly our church started to face the real challenge … one of them in the education and awareness of parents ,we started to have a specialist meeting for parents every first Friday of the month in our local church , i do not know if we have uniformity in this in other churches as well , ya it is important the role of real leadership in those situations , however the meeting is in its second time but seems strong in its topics ” about parenting “despite the attendance is small hoping will increase by time if things managed the right way with some positive feed back to those people ….people in the meeting raise questions but in some of their concerns they can not get back real feed back because some of the answers in the hands of the priests and not the qualified lecturer in the relevant topic ….i suggest it would be better the lecturer get those questions of concerns to the priest and let him feed back to those people to make the most of the benefit of the meeting and encourage others to participate ..one of the questions was that in confessions with the kids priests advice them in non spiritual aspects which conflict with the parents ones and cause a lot of problems and conflicts to the parents ?????!!! may the holy spirit guide us all to do his will …

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  3. Seems to me i am the only one who is talking too much however i believe it is at the end of the day it is a healthy sign so we always encourage all our Australian Coptic community in all our Coptic community churches in this part of the world to talk about and work out their issues of concern honestly and openly because it is the only way to have a transparent and positive relationship at all levels in our church and right across our whole community …openness and transparency in a flat structure is a MUST ,then we say we have the christian way of foundation of way of life and hence trust and acceptance among our community …we must live and act as Christians all the time ….yesterday after church i came across “spring of love” and just went through its small papers quickly , i used to read it few years ago since it first published in a simple way with spiritual topics and few social aspects and some local news about our local churches …i was shocked when i opened it , all the news about our mother church , political issues , school issues and seems to me only some people write in it all the time …i believe all of us appreciate the voluntary effort of those people and we encourage it all the time and i believe they are doing their best however at the end of the day the outcome is a waste of money and a waste of time and of not of maximum benefit to our community ..i believe our expectation we MUST include all our local news about our local churches and events so people to be in touch and be close more with our churches ..i was expecting local news to go as well to our community and our churches in our country sides Wagga , Dubbo etc. so our community over there will be connected more even we can go further and send it to those affiliated regions like Thailand , Singapore etc. !!!!!???mate if somebody wants to get news about our mother church we can get it through a lot of other media means, or politics etc. …we expect other writers to involve and write in the spring of love with different views, experience and style so not to be controlled all the time by only those few writers names ?! ….as far as “ELMANARA “it would be great to be published by our youth in English language with their topics and news to go all over the parish as well ….let us make the most of our media for the benefit of our community all over the parish ….may the holy spirit guide us all to do the right thing all the time for the praise of the name of the lord …praise God by our life ,amen ….

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  4. Christmas is coming and a lot of needy families in need of those basic things of survival …our lord if you have got two dresses you must share and give one dress to your brother who are need …those six things which our lord asked in Matthew are the gate to heaven ….mate sometimes all of us feel we have got cool and stale relationship with God and we wonder why and some i believe they run and ask the guidenes of their spiritual father which is good ???! but anyone tried to stop and reflect why is that ???!! mate i want to share you my experience and that the only way to keep this relationship alive is “THE LIFE OF THANKS GIVING AND THE LIFE OF GIVING “give it a go pal and see how it goes !!! most of the people think that when they get up in the morning alive and keep going in their routine life is guaranteed , oh pal it is not and you have to start to thank our lord and God jesus Christ for that and that the begining of your day life of thanks giving till you go to sleep at the end of the day and you keep thanking for a lot and great deeds doing for you and your loved ones ..it is the greatest relationship with God which trough it all the the person will feel the presence of God next to him in everything the person does ??! the other one which is not of less importance than that is “THE LIFE OF GIVING “, mate a lot of needy people around us , they need a good word , they need some attention , they need a hello , they need food , they need medicine , they need a blanket ,they need cloth , they need the care and love …i wonder if any tried this life in regular basis and felt the presence of God next to them all the time !!! a lot of charitable organizations around us and we have got that one in our church “OUTREACH SERVICE ” with three vans go around during the week from Anba Antonios Church , God bless father Shinouda Mansour and his family and all those people who prepare the food and those youth who distribute most of the nights , it is a great job …why don,t you drop a drum of oil or a bag of rice or some frozen chickens during Christmas and get the blessing of this great work …why don’t you share in the distribution of those hot meals and feel our Lord next to you ??! mate if you share with them a plate standing and eating , oh my God you feel yourself in heaven , it is really great feelings after a busy day of work …you believe or not a lot of our community people suffering that poverty and you find them in most of those ques of those charitable organizations around for the support of food , medications and bills !! do something pal in our backyard and for your eternal life and God bless you …at the end of the day “FAITH WITHOUT DEEDS IS DEAD “…we wish one day we will have a great service from our local church in Archangel Michail one like “Anba Antonios Church “it is a great blessings …I wonder if our tenth of our income from our churches if possible to go to those needy people and we support our charitable organizations in this part of the world which is giving us a lot !!!??

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  6. I remember in the old days in my time as a kid we never used to leave the church after mass unless and till the priest used to say his words to the congregation to go in peace , we used to sit in our places after the mass in the old days and no body used to get out of the church in the old days till the priest let us go …..what happened to our churches today ???!! …. these days in our churches this ritual aspect started to be relaxed specially with those announcements after the mass and without the permission of the priest when he says leave in peace …. so a lot of people leave mainly the youth and most of the deacons , other elderly run for their medications and the toilet , others want to catch with their work and some not interesting at all on those announcements …so as a suggestion why don,t we get the old good days with this great ritual aspect and the priest IMMEDIATELY after the mass to say to the congregation “go in peace ” and those who are interested to sit and listen to the announcements or whatever to stay back and let the others free to do their needs … just somebody told me the other day and i am not sure if it is right or wrong , he told me in the very old days , how long i do not know , that most of our churches used to shut the doors immediately just before reading the creed and the doors will not be opened till the priest tell them to go in peace , i wonder if that is true ???!!! if it is true it means our churches started to be very relaxed in this vital ritual aspect , God knows where are we heading ???!!

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  7. Seems there is a general debate these days in this part of the world about conventional churches VS Contemporary churches????!! they said most churches started to emerge out of its traditional way to the modern way of life and it had been proven it more charismatic and there is a more turn over of the people by at least 20%????!! however on the other hand , those contemporary churches had been accused by the rest of the community that they are noisy and creating a lot of different problems”you name it ” on the residential areas ????!! sometimes i wonder if our churches are heading in this modernization way of life and usually i believe it starts in most our churches during the holiest time in our churches and that during the holy mass and keeps going on for the rest of the day , noise level escalates , people runing from here and there to have a catch on the Go-urban and secure some , others run to find some Ag bias , some run and enter the altar and lean against the wall and i wonder if just watching the people or just more bosses to monitor over there , most run in the noisy ques for the holy communion , some run to the church bookshop , others lost interest during the church and go and find a spot in the small yard where they do the cooking and that great smell of food all over the place even inside the church ,oh mate those people who lean against the wall at the end of the church bring some strange noise i am unable to distinguish it ???!! it is unique , is it high whisperings , i am not sure ??! i can not figure it ??? and the clear noise you find it on some tables at the end of the church for some people sitting counting the money and doing some deals in subscription nice conversations in doing business you paid , you did not pay , i will send you the receipt , i … and the most interesting one when they get those money collected for the day and empty it for counting you hear that noisy stuff of the money , clinging all over the place ,i believe in the banks they do this job more quieter than this and at the right place ????!! mate and we come to the stage of the announcements by the priest which most of the time with less accuracy in dates and times ????!! i believe at this stage , the noise level reaches a stage undetectable by any noise detector device as the disciple points noise frequency is not measurable ???!! believe after a while in this type of relaxation we wouldn,t be astonished if we see some of our congregation starts to wear ear plugs from the time of the holy communion till our priest dismiss the congregation to leave in peace ….may our lord have mercy on us and our churches if the situation continue like that ???????!!!forgive but this is the truth ????!!

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