What Would YOU Say?
As I continue to look at some "Thought Provoking Questions" this week I've found online, one of them was:
"If you had the chance to speak to a large number of people, what would you say?"
Now, I've got a bit of a different angle on this question since I speak to a group of people every Sunday morning. The reality is, however, that these days I can "speak" to a far larger number of people any moment of any day through social media.
Either way, whether in person or through Tweets, Blogs, Status Updates, whatever it is...each of us has the power and opportunity to reach a large number of eyes, ears and hearts by virtue of our technology today.
Given this reality, what are we choosing to say and, perhaps even more importantly, how are we choosing to say it?
There are those who seem to take the opportunity to speak to a potentially large number of people in tones of anger, criticism, and a centrism that doesn't allow for honest or healthy dialog in regard to varying points of view.
And this pertains to people on both sides of the pendulum swing of any issue. Whether conservative or liberal, whether its religion, politics, the environment, abortion, marriage equality; there are those that scream their polarizing vitriol to the delight of many who listen to them.
I could make a list, but you know the people I'm talking about. Whether on talk radio, cable news outlets, or the Internet, they're out there and become the "voice" that speaks for others who share their opinions.
They make a ton of money doing so, too, and their disciples echo their divisive, often insulting language all over their bumper stickers, FB walls, Tweets and Blogs.
And I can't stand any of them.
There is something to be said about being passionate about an idea or a point-of-view. There is great validity in expressing a personal belief with fervor and commitment. One cannot view MLK's "I Have A Dream" speech without experiencing the truth of this, for example.
But what happens now in the national dialog about important issues isn't dialog or debate at all - its a few Idealogs seeing who can scream the loudest to get their point across before the commercial break, or who can drive the "conversation" in their own direction and sever communication in the face of differing points of view by ending the phone call or the interview at their own whim.
Most of us must stand in the face of opposing ideas and attempt to talk it through. How easy it is to cut to commercial or hang up the phone...real life is not like that most of the time.
At its worst, it is simply responding to other ideas with name calling, insults and the worst kind of "adult" behavior in dealing with complex and important issues. They set the worst kinds of examples for our children.
And THIS is how they use their gift of being able to speak to a large number of people. What a tragic waste.
Instead of bringing a message of hope, optimism, deeper understanding, bridging differences to build stronger relationships in the face of different opinions, feelings and beliefs the choice is made to be a polarizing, divisive presence that never leads us to a place of common ground and deeper, more profound relationship.
They are the worst kinds of diplomats and representatives of thought and idea in our modern age, and I grieve that so many listen to them at all.
Instead, what if the opportunity was taken to share a message of hope when we are feeling hopeless? A message of love and compassion when we are feeling forgotten and abused? A message of empathy and forgiveness in a world all too familiar with reactions of force and violence in the face of injustice?
In other words, Jesus' message in the video.
Even if it means I only speak to 3 people and I never make a dime, my head would rather hit the pillow at the end of the day knowing I was an agent of goodness and compassion that sought to uplift and bring people to a place of deeper relationship rather than what I see and hear so prolifically around me today.
Blessed are those that live and speak likewise, even under the heel of our modern convention of "who speaks loudest and most angrily wins."
That's not what I want my kids to learn as how to best share of themselves with others, and it most certainly isn't anything I'd ever want for myself.
I'll stick with the meek, the poor in spirit, the merciful, the pure in heart, and the peacemakers.