Friday, February 24, 2006

Thoughtful Activism?

I've been told in the past that I need to get out of my head and into my body, which is to say that I think too much and don't do enough. As a person who values thoughtfulness (see my previous post) and admires activism, I took the comment seriously. But how do I travel from brain to body? How does anyone? So here's the question I'm begging you to reflect on and address:

Which do you think is more likely to consistently lead to some kind of action: personal reflection during a time of solitude, or mutual reflection during a time of heartfelt conversation? Why? How can the two work together?

4 comments:

Mr Steve said...

I will quickly address the fact that you asked us to take action on our reflection. By answering this request you can see that I am going to fall on the side of mutual refelction. If I preferred personal reflection during a time of solitude - you wouldn't get an answer out of me. But you asked for a discussion - by definition mutual reflection (I don't know if blog comments qualify as "heartfelt conversation").

The LORD God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." Genesis 2:18 (NIV)

I'm going to say that for me it takes conversation to lead to action. Having another person to sound ideas off of and provide a different perspective can prevent us from talking ourselves out of or into ideas that are skewed. There's also some accountability built in. If I decide myself that it's time to fix that squeaky hinge, I'll decide to do it when I get around to it, or it becomes so annyoing that it's unbearable. But if I tell my wife that I'm thinking about fixing the sqeuaky hinge, I'm going to get reminded of what I said I was going to do and be morel ikely to get it done sooner rather than later.(this is distinctly different from nagging me about the things she wants done - btw my wife never nags me, she politely asks).

Let's take a look at walking on water.
Is it possible that Peter (or any of the other guys) had the faith to walk on water by themselves? Yes. Did they ever? Not that is recorded. But we do get Peter taking action on his faith in Matthew 14:28-31 (NIV).

28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you on the water."

29"Come," he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"

31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"

When imagine this playing out I don't see Jesus just standing there waiting for Peter. I imagine some encouraging gestrues, similar to those a parent gives to a child taking the first few steps away from a table or chair they are supporting themselves with.
It's the encouragement that others provide that can lead us to take action, share the celebration in victory, or console us in defeat.

Does this mean I'm needy?

Mr Steve said...

I couldn't post this on Strangely Dim due to some issues with profanity, but thought you might get a mild chuckle.
Warning: there are a few f-bombs so don't read if it will offend you.
24 Facts About Jack Bauer

Anonymous said...

I'd say that it's not an either-or proposal. Personal reflection is important; conversation is important. Either one alone is probably inadequate.

Margaret Feinberg said...

The conversation with someone else gets me the kick in the butt to actually do something... particularly if the person conversing will partner in the activity or action.