It has been said that “the most basic of all human needs is the need to understand and be understood” and that “the best way to understand people is to listen to them.” If that is true, I wonder if we, as a society, are not in real danger at this very moment. For it seems to me that as a collective whole, we seem to be rapidly loosing our ability to hear the voices of the people around us, even as we continue to turn up the sound of the static that underscores our daily lives.
Today, I want to introduce to you a new series that is dedicated to turning down the white noise of culture so that we might be better equipped to hear the sounds of the ordinary people all around us. This series is all about their stories. It’s about what drives them to live in the way that they do. It’s about their fears and their hopes. It’s about the thousands of little choices that they make in circumstances that are sometimes dramatic and life changing. These are not the stories of the people who shape history. But they are the stories of our friends and families – the stories of people who are all made in “the image of God.”
So I want to invite you to sit down in your favorite armchair with a cup of coffee in hand; and I want to invite you to listen in as I sit with these people and ask them about the ways in which they see the world. You may not always agree with everything that these individuals have to say. But if you silence yourself and commit yourself to listen to their voices, you may just learn a thing or two about the world all around you.
May these stories illuminate you, even as they have illuminated me.
 Ralph Nichols.