Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The Conversation I Keep Having

As I've talked to people about this idea I had...
...to start a blog to encourage people to speak out to people in power about the issues of the day,
...and a web site to provide people with the information they need to speak out,
...and an e-zine to equip them with the know-how
... I suddenly realized I was having the same conversation over and over. It goes something like this:

Me: Did you read that letter from the Colorado Council of Churches?

Friend: No, didn't see it.

Me: [I tell them about it.]

Friend: I'm not surprised.

Me: We should say something.

Friend: Won't do any good.

Me: Why not?

Friend: That organization has been around for years. They're very liberal.

Me: What do you think would happen if we said something? Maybe wrote them a letter?

Friend: [shrug]

Me: If I wrote a letter, they might think I was nuts.

Friend: [nod]

Me: They might file it in the trash can.

Friend: [nod]

Me: But what if they got a letter from you, too?

Friend: ...

Me: What if they got a letter from me and you and some other people?

Friend: Probably wouldn't change anything.

Me: Maybe not. But at least they would know we don't agree with them.

Friend: That's true.

Me: And the next time they did something we didn't agree with, if you got someone else to write and I got someone else to write, they'd hear from a few more people.

Friend: [nodding and looking a little brighter]

Me: And maybe they'd start to think maybe we're not nuts and maybe they shouldn't file our letters in the trash can.

Friend: [still nodding...looking a little more hopeful]

Me: If they heard from enough of us consistently enough, we might be able to pull them back from the far left where they are now.

Friend: I don't know...

Me: Maybe not, but that definitely won't happen if we don't try.

Friend: Well that's true...

Me: At least we'd be doing something instead of just being silent about it, doing nothing.

Friend: But I do talk about these things.

Me: Yeah, like we are right now.

Friend: [Brighter] Yeah.

Me: Talking about this stuff with our own circle of Christian friends is important--we need to engage and inform them. But if we're going to do something that makes a difference, we're going to have to do more than just complain to our like-minded friends in our closed circles where no one else ever hears. We're going to have to speak up to people outside our circle, to the people in organizations like this or politicians who represent us or whoever are the decision-makers. Until they hear what we think, you're right...nothing will change.

Friend: You know? You're right. Maybe we should say something.

The conversation I keep having moves from "Won't do any good" to "Yeah, you're right. Maybe we should say something."

So what about you, Friend? Where are you in this conversation? Are you still in the "Won't do any good" mode? Or are you willing to step up and step out and speak up? To try...even if it doesn't appear to do any good?

Are you in? Are you ready to start speaking up? Saying something? To people in power? To influence people who have the power to make changes?

1 comment:

Tomás Aquinas said...

I must confess that I do not understand the American uses of 'liberal' and 'conservative'. Is it not possible to be both, depending on the matter at hand? If you lock yourself into one mode of thought, do you not then become dogmatic?

Martin Luther King, Jr, violated the law. Was he a liberal? Was he wrong? Should he have been ridiculed by the conservatives? No. Wait. He was ridiculed. More than that, he was jailed. I love his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail". Would I have that kind of moral courage? I don't know. More important, would this brand me a 'liberal'? Could I live with that?

Jesus was a 'liberal'. Ask the Pharisees. They will tell you.

The Jesuits have long been active in liberation theology. I think perhaps you should study this before you become so judgmental.

What would Jesus do? We already know what Jesus did.

The question is, what will youdo other than label people?

I look back over what I have written and it seems contentious. I do not mean it that way. Please forgive me for this.

I ask in order for you to explain your thinking more expansively.

Thank you.