Throwing Poop…and other debating fallacies

I have been greatly inspired over the last 7 months about how not to lead or inspire others, and also a little conflicted about how to ignite change…these are my musings.

It does not take a political or sociological genius to recognize the polarities in our culture today.  Polarity and dichotomy seem to define and frame all of our debates and discussions.  From the UMC’s quadrennial gathering known as General Conference to our most recent Presidential debate, there is a lot of entrenched believers who seems content at throwing poop across the aisle at the other.  Time, energy and effort are being used to knee cap the other instead of finding areas of agreement to build relationships and plan for the future.

I am not convinced this MO has been kept out of the health debates either.  Some seem content to live in their unhealthy habits and cast their blame on systems or genetics or a Creator.  Others force feed health into unwilling mouths through unrealistic expectations, stereotypical marketing or even name calling and the shame game.  Now, if you ever find any of us at The Echo Life falling into this latter category, call us to the carpet.  That is not our goal or intention here.

Our goal is to float in the middle, finding opportunities for conversation to raise awareness about the dangers of unhealthy lifestyles, whether that is overeating, poor eating, under eating or vanity filled exercise.  Here’s the catch, goals are easy; reaching them is the challenge.  So how can we provide that type of leadership?

Part of this key is in systems thinking (see earlier post), which I don’t want to rehash here.  Simply put we must take into account the ever increasingly variables to find fluid, evolving actions to speak into problematic situations.  That’s why I said we strive to “float” in the middle.  Not because we are a ship without an anchor, but because we realize the misnomer of a static position from which to fling ultimatums at everyone else.  That’s why we are Wesleyan, incorporating and understanding what God revealed in Scripture, illuminated by tradition, vivified by experience and confirmed by reason.

We must not only embrace this  matrix. We need to be wholly transparent in our motives, our triumphs and our mistakes.  We must hold each other accountable in love, tolerating our differences without ignoring each others failings.  I think this inherently entails the humility to get a little poop thrown on us in the process.  Either because we have chosen to courageously stand in the middle and become caught in the crossfire; or because we have caught the attention of the others who turn their attention to attacking us.

In either case we must remind each other of our calling, girding each other up with encouragement and purpose.  For what God wishes for us to accomplish, God is able to complete within in and through us; what God is able to do, God is willing to do.  What remains is our decision to become cooperators or nota, even if this means being caught in the crossfire.

How have you seen leadership succeed?  How have you seen it fail?  How can we encourage you?  How can you encourage us?  How can we show the world an alternative to throwing poop to get our way?

-RR

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