Thursday, January 29, 2009

RELATEDNESS

Relatedness or distinction: at which point do you begin?

WHERE I BEGIN. Not long ago, I realized that I start with a search for relatedness. As I listen to someone talk, or to a speech or sermon, I am almost imperceptibly doing a mental background scan to identify likenesses, common ground, similar heritage, relational linkages, philosophical touch points, family lineage, etc. I begin with an assumption of relatedness. I don't know who else comes to a conversation or situation with this anticipation and search. I wonder. Do you?

DISTINCTIONS SECOND. I also wonder how many people or what approximate percentage of us begin at the opposite end, enumerating differences and distinctions? How many of us imperceptibly initially note the many identifiable differences between ourselves and another person, or group, or organization, or system?

LEAD FROM WHICH? I suppose we all do both – look for relatedness and distinctions, scan for similarities and differences. But with which does one lead? Do we begin with relatedness or distinctions? And what different relational trajectories might this set up? I can imagine the value of each for different challenges and situations; both are essential for contemplative leadership.

LEAD FROM WHICH? I suppose we all do both – look for relatedness and distinctions, scan for similarities and differences. But with which does one lead? Do we begin with relatedness or distinctions? And what different relational trajectories might this set up? I can imagine the value of each for different challenges and situations; both are essential for contemplative leadership.

OBAMA VS BUSH ON RELATEDNESS. I am freshly intrigued by how such beginning points shape leaders and the manner in which they lead. I see a stark contrast between the relatedness factor of President Barack Obama and the distinction factor for past-President George W. Bush. Their beginning points, I believe, shape their approach to governing and addressing national and international issues.

FINE-LINE LINKS. I suppose those of us who assume relatedness and then look for it may find ourselves frequently disappointed. We may perceive or assume what others do not perceive or assume. We may see fine linkages worth testing and exploring, while others see unbridgeable chasms or rather quaint but useless commonness. I see incredible commonness among the many disparate people I am privileged to get to know; but I have come to realize that some of these people can’t seem to appreciate each other and so do not make an effort to connect.

COMMON GROUND IN GRACE. I wonder if this leading/leaning toward relating and connecting is a source of my enduring idealism even in the face of some occurrences across a lifetime that would surely have turned me into a sour cynic? Optimism continues to focus my horizon, my sense of the future. It is an optimism borne of grace. And perhaps it is confidence in grace itself--grace that originally connected us all and that can, if recognized and embraced, still connect us all--that is the deeper source of my readiness and persistence to search for relatedness.


In the spirit of dialog, I welcome comments and/or questions. Click on "responses" below to post. They're moderated only to reduce incivility. Shalom!

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