Town Hall Meetings. UGH!
by Michael Tummillo
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Is anything being accomplished by the recent Town Hall meetings or are we creeping dangerously closer to disaster every time we gather?
“Come, let us reason together” is impossible under these circumstances.
Surely you've seen the “Us against Them” footage displaying some REALLY ticked-off Americans at their worst, shouting with veins popping out of their temples, disrespectfully screaming at their elected officials, albeit passionately, wanting desperately to be heard.
They SHOULD be heard, too, but there's a better way.
There is ALWAYS a better way.
Whether you support the Obama Administration, Health Care reform, or anything political at all, one thing is true: we can politely get our point across without escalating and respectfully allow the other guy to be heard, thereby breeding respect.
By the way, respect the office even if you DON'T respect the individual.
See, when tension rises between any two parties...a married couple, Employees and Employers, coworkers, Community Organizers and the fed-up Community that won't be organized "that way"...all it takes is one party to stop pushing against the other in order to avert a confrontation.
It takes two, after all.
Let's face it, our differences regarding Communication, Sex and Money – or any combination thereof – are the things that start rebellions and cause divorces.
Communication equals the right to be heard. That's what both parties ALWAYS want.
We need to start practicing some Rules of Engagement. Stop using words such as “You, Always and Never.”
Watch your Body Language, voice inflections, tone of voice. DOn't puff your chest out and don't point that finger. Any of 'em.
Ask questions – don't get preachy and speechy. The one asking questions is ALWAYS in control.
The “other guys” just might stop seeing those who are unhappy as “angry mobs” and un-American. Name-calling gets nobody anywhere.
Years ago, I was the Director of Client Relations for a very large organization. I was the guy who handled the angriest people, those who wanted refunds they often didn't have coming to them. I dealt with the Better Business Bureau, as well as antagonstic members of the media and the Attorneys General of any State.
It was a tough job handling as many as 50 irrate calls per day. I had to get psyched up every morning just to go to work. Even the company President, after listening in to one of my calls, said, “I don't know how you do that!”
Here was my secret: Early on, I began to see screaming clients as crying babies. It helped me to think of them laying in cribs, tears rolling and, as an adult, it was MY JOB to determine what it was that was bothering them.
They needed to know that their complaints were valid.
Once they were validated, I built what I refer to as “an Oreo Cookie.” In other words, it was a positive comment with a point well-made, sandwiched by a closing, positive, even-tempered, “I'm on your side” sort of comment.
I was good at this and, on one occasion, had an angry customer asking me for a job application to come to work with us by the time our discussion was over.
WORD TO THE WISE...
Be passionate. Maintain your convictions. But USE YOUR HEADS!
Christians, YOU are to be the thermostats, NOT the thermometers. While others are losing their heads all around you, you KEEP yours. Release the peace of Christ into those Town Meetings, rallies and protests because, if we don't, someone is going to blow their lid and things are going to get VERY bad in this nation.
A year ago, the Lord showed me a vison of street riots. What I saw was horrible. It does NOT have to come to that. Again, as I often say, The Church holds all the power to change everything we see.
Are we going to use it? Do we even know how?
In Acts 9:5, Jesus and Saul had an interesting conversation that we should consider: “Saul said, Who are You, Lord? And He said, I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting. It is dangerous and it will turn out badly for you to keep kicking against the goad [to offer vain and perilous resistance].”
To “kick against the goads" is a metaphor. Goads were used to prod cattle and livestock forward, and they would often kick back at them, only causing themselves more injury. The thought is that Paul had been kicking against God's "goading" as God had been trying to urge him to go in a certain direction.
In other words, if anyone is trying to make you go this way rather than that, they will “goad” you. Let's stop “kicking” against them by trying to out-scream and out-shove them. It's not working. Engage them, but do so with the meekness of Moses, defined as one of my Bible college teachers as “power under control.”
James 3:13 shows us the difference between godly and demonic wisdom: “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.”
A servant of God
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