When Roundtables Don’t Get Results | March 15, 2017

“Be slow to speak. Quick to listen. Slow to get angry.”

There’s something to be said about maintaining an open posture with both body and mind. To listen on most occasions means there’s a meeting of the minds coming to the table together to hash things out. Both sides come to talk and come with pre-planned responses to their objector. This is considered common.

Now make the topic of this roundtable discussion about inequality, injustices, racism, classism, or theological imperialism and you’ve got an explosive package that could level any playing field.

For a few years now I’ve began a habit of sitting down with folks who normally don’t look like me that also don’t agree with me. In some cases these people are extremely unhappy with me. Cannot understand how I can be a Christian that believes the Bible and yet points to injustices and calls for unified pushes for diversity in big and small ways. Even when I know the talk won’t go anywhere or might become toxic in a matter of minutes. I’m left with the what now question like they are most likely.

Here’s what I’ve discovered – roundtables in most cases don’t get results. I’m normally the one scratching my head trying to figure out if this talk made any impact, changed one life, or will evoke change. Sadly I’m never surprised by the amount of inaction or timidity. Lions in the convo but lames outside the building.

Be slow to anger and slow to conclusion jumping.

Part of me has to fully fall on my sword in order to trust in the Holy Spirit to work on these lives like he did with me. Other part of me has to wake up from the numbness ‘been there done that’ attitude that has been developed over time. There’s movable parts here at play. There’s noticeable but not easily admitted godly sorrow of idolatry going on. There’s unrighteous anger. There’s facts. There’s personal and preferred allegiances cloaked in the flag of the United States verbally decorated as Christianity. So many movable variables present at every roundtable.

And yet nothing seems to happen. Maybe another conversation. Perhaps some texting or social media interplay. Rarely is there action because these topics are so touchy and in your face. So although there’s no results, I vow to honor the commands of James above.


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