Wednesday, May 02, 2012

An Open Mind is a Wonderful Thing

Note; this post is a repost from my personal blog at I called it "Delete, Discredit or Diaglogue: What do you do? After posting it I thought it was a good refection of the kind of culture that I have worked at creating at Cedarbrook. I want us to be dialoguers!

I got an interesting reply back from a Facebook Page that I posted on. It was for a site that promotes mental health. It was the post about the missing piece to the shame puzzle. They strongly disagreed with my take saying that my insistence on God being at the heart of self-worth was harsh.
I wrote back and explained myself a little more but thanked them for their feedback. I told them that they could have just hit “delete” but they chose to respectfully reply with their concern. Imagine that!
I just don’t see a lot of that these days.  It seems that people are quick to delete or discredit someone. But few will engage in dialogue. That’s too bad.  I gain so much when people push back on what I say.  Ideas come quickly to me and I often become quite passionate about them. I NEED people  to  push back to take off the rough edges to what I say and bring the perspective that  I often lack.
When you read or hear a new idea it’s easy to  ”hit” DELETE, isn’t it?  You don’t like it. It doesn’t fit with your world view. Boom. It’s gone.  That might be a good idea. Deleting is a reality in our informationally overloaded world.  You just don’t have time to entertain every idea. And some ideas are just bad! It’s not worth spending any time with it.
But sometimes we should pause, listen/ read and consider a new thought.  We can get stuck in ruts. We can assume that we know all there is to know.  Maybe this new idea is God’s gift to open you to  new thinking…something that will broaden your perspective and enrich you…bring you greater perspective and balance.
Some people aren’t satisfied with hitting delete. They have to  DISCREDIT.  When they read a blog it’s like they are out for target practice. They don’t care what they shoot. They just want to shoot at something. They don’t take into consideration what the person  is really saying. They jump to conclusions and start firing. They seem to find joy in tearing others down and positioning themselves as the expert. You see this a lot in politics and religion. When I hear, see or read a tone of disrespect I turn it off.  I can’t watch shows where people are ripping into each other or read blog comments that do the same. It’s offensive. (read a Brene Brown post on people attacking her).
But DIALOGUE is a good thing. You don’t have to agree with me. In fact, I don’t want everyone agreeing with me. How boring. I only see a fraction of the truth. I bet you have something that you can add to what I’ve got to make it better.  I don’t have to be all wrong for you to be right. We can both see parts of the big picture.  Our two ideas might seem to contradict each other but not necessarily. Let’s not jump to judge. Let’s just explore each others perspective.
You don’t have to be like me, think like me, look like me, believe like me, etc. to have something valuable to share. Some of the best insights come from people totally opposite from me. Your input doesn’t offend me. It challenges me. It makes me a better person.
This post is a simple invitation to dialogue…not just with me…with everyone. Start a conversation and explore an idea without the need to label the other person’s idea as wrong. Talk until you think you’ve exhausted the idea. And then look for someone else to include in the conversation. I bet they’ll have ideas the two of you never thought about.
The Bible says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one  person sharpens another” (Proverbs 27:17). Indeed.