Someone makes a statement. It could be outrageous, it could be thought-provoking. Someone else shares it. Someone else says, “Spot on.” Or “This is what I’ve been saying.” Or “Preach it.” Someone else says, “Hogwash. Are you ignoring the truth?”
And I’m left gasping for air.
I want to take the first statement and read it two or three times, and then ask a clarifying question or two, first of the person who wrote it, then of the friend who shared it.
Of the writer, “Is this true, is this noble, is this pure, is this admirable? Are you considering all the evidence and describing ‘what is’, more than ‘how you feel about it?’”
Of my friend, “Did you read this all the way through? Do you agree with all of it, or are there parts you find helpful and parts that you find troubling? Are you open to a conversation, face to face, where we think about those pieces as I try to understand the point you are trying to make, the relationships you are trying to support, the perspectives you are trying to disrupt, the positions you are trying to appeal to or appease.”
But here’s what I’m struggling with: If those of us who reflect and respond aren’t spending the time reflecting, those who benefit from the reflection we provide will have nothing. But we cannot reflect on everything. There is too much.
I, and maybe you, need to pick two or three questions that we will explore. Questions large enough to matter, small enough to be workable. Perhaps the starting place is back with my question to the writers.
“Is this true? Is this noble? Is this pure? Is this admirable?”
A framework for answering those questions could be large enough to matter and small enough to be workable.