Am reading a very helpful book by Chris McGoff entitled, The Primes: How any Group can Solve any Problem (2011, Victory Publishers). While this is a business book, it really is a book about envisioning and enacting transformation of systems. If you have ever dreamed about inventing a new system instead of just making tweaks to an existing system, this is THE book for you. It is amazingly simple and can work for you whether you are trying to change an existing business or just dreaming about starting some venture. It has applications to therapy (especially couples or family therapy), non-profit work, or dreaming about trauma recovery in Africa (which is why I am reading it).
Good Quote for July 4th
The book is full of pithy quotes but the one I want to examine here on July 4th is by Ayn Rand:
A culture is made–or destroyed–by its articulate voices
Why is this good for today? Well, we often spend time with family and we think about our country and those who serve it in the military. So, it stands to reason that we might think about how our voice influences (makes/destroys) family, community, and country culture.
Whose voices shape your immediate or larger family system? Where is your voice? Does it speak to build up or destroy? Listen for a bit to see what an outsider would gather from your family conversations. What are the themes? Are they about politics? Family troubles? Complaints? Future events? Memories of past fun? In the conversations, is the focus on the family or the outside world? Who are the “enemies?” A family culture is shaped by the voices that interpret what is going on. Voices that only talk about the good and never the bad are just as shaping/destroying as those that only talk about problems.
Watch, for 5 minutes, CNN, FOX News, and MSNBC. Listen to individual voices such as Beck, Hannity, Stewart, or the like. How do these voices shape our consciousness? Bring it in a bit closer? Listen to the voices in your church community. How do they shape your sense of identity, the problems, etc. I was part of small group some time ago that all were concerned about racial diversity in the world and the local church. It was easy to point out the failings of leaders who either “didn’t get it” or were obviously racially ignorant. We realized that if we didn’t change our conversation, we would become embittered. We weren’t just naming the problems (though we were doing that), we were shaping our attitudes and willingness to do something constructive about it.
To come in even closer, I think about how we faculty shape Biblical Seminary. We believe (don’t laugh!) we have the brains to make the best decisions for the school. We know how to talk about very complex theological and practical matters. We want to be the shapers. But, faculty can be known also to talk something to death, to point out why every strategy will fail, but to fail to offer up our own strategy.
So, take a moment and consider what you are constructing or destroying with your “voice.” What drums do you beat? What complaints do you make over and over? What ideas do you strike down? Can you balance describing (not judging) what is with what you want it to be? Let us take a moment to remember those who sacrifice for this country and to evaluate how we influence our own circles.