Unplugged Doesn’t Work   Leave a comment

Today I have been pondering some recent discussions.  I have been thinking about the importance to be plugged into the conversations around us.  Over the last decade or so, I believe that people have had a tendency to unplug themselves from conversation.  I perceive that there are several reasons that this may seem inviting:

  1. There has been an increasing level of hostility in many public discussions.
  2. People in the work environment are increasingly engaged in discussions as collaboration and instant communication has become the norm, so outside of the work environment there is a desire to unplug.
  3. The speed of change in regards to information and community causes individuals to unplug in an effort not to appear stupid.

I admit that these are only a few reasons and the list is definitely not all-inclusive, but no matter the number of reasons, I have observed a desire on some individual’s parts to unplug from conversations around them.

At the same time, I have observed others becoming more actively engaged in conversations.  This seems such a counter to what I had just been stating but I think that is what is unique about this time.  I feel that there are three different groups of people who I observe; those who unplugging from conversations, those who are ramping up conversations, and those who are indifferent to conversations.

I say all of this to make a point.  I feel it is extremely vital for leaders, and especially church leaders, to become plugged into the discourse happening all around us.  Being unplugged is the equivalent of burying our heads in the sand.  The conversations are going to continue around us whether we are actively involved in them or not.  As a leader, I need to listen to those conversations (the first and most important step) and then I need to engage in those conversations.  The Church needs to have a voice (non-judgmental) in the conversations.  The only reason that the Church does not have a voice is because too often it has chosen to unplug rather than engage. Too often the Church has isolated instead of diving in.

People are not looking to have experts.  People are not looking to be lectured.  There no longer exists a desire to sit at the feet of some guru as she/he expounds great knowledge.  Instead, people are seeking discussion.  People want to share ideas back and forth.  People want to grow by listening and being listened to.  This requires leaders and individuals to be plugged into the conversations.

Any institution or group that chooses to remain unplugged is going to be like an unplugged refrigerator.  If you unplug your refrigerator, it cannot cool anything inside and even the little light bulb will not come on.  The result is a rotting of the food inside and when the door is opened nothing but dark space exists.  When that door opens, the smell of that rotten food comes out and the person quickly shuts the door and vows never to open it again without some sort of protection.

I don’t feel that I am very different from a  lot of individuals.  You do not have to agree with me or my views.  I do not have to agree with you or your views.  However, I do desire for us to be in conversation with one another.  I want you to listen to me and I want to listen to you.  Who knows, we may find a lot more to agree upon than to disagree upon.

So plug-in.  Encourage others to plug-in also.  Only then can our voice be heard and can we hear the voices of others.


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