Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Squeaky Bearings

I was talking to some partners in the community this week and one of the things we got to talking about was their role in making the city aware of need. Blowing the trumpet..., tootin' the horn..., being the squeaky bearing... you know, the guy everybody gets ticked off at.

Socrates and Thoreau, Gandhi and MLK shared a common belief... it is positive to create tension! MLK said that "we seek to create such a crisis and establish such creative tension that a community... will be forced to confront the issue."

The role of the prophet is similar. He is a whistle blower, an alarm sounder, a guy who calls it like he sees it, like it is...
"When the watchman sees the enemy coming, he sounds the alarm to warn the people. Then if those who hear the alarm refuse to take action, it is their own fault if they die... If they had listened to the warning, they could have saved their lives."

Funny thing about prophets... they get killed. It's rare that people want to get their heads out of the proverbial sand and address their own issues, much less the city's. So the prophet's role is very important, if not necessary... but not too appreciated.

Here's some tips to slow your death if you're causing creative tension:

1. Make sure your walk matches your talk.
You don't get the right to fuss about "them drunks and sleazy women and lazy bums" unless you're trying to make a difference in their lives. If you not are helping, sorry, nobody listens to you, no matter how loud you toot.

2. Make sure you are a problem solver, not just a problem finder.
And old boss told me one time, "If you come to me with a problem and you're not already working on its solution, you're just whining."

3. Be ready to be misunderstood.
It's hard to raise social consciousness of an issue with out somebody think you're out of line. If you say the church needs to 'get off her fanny and quit being a social club and get outside of her walls and make a difference in their community'... somebody's gonna fuss about that. Didn't stop the prophets. Shouldn't stop you. But there is a price to pay.

4. Be right.
Don't say there's a problem if there isn't one. Don't exaggerate. Be right. If you are, even if it creates tension, people will say, "Man, that hurts, but he's right."

5. Love your city and it's people.
Nothing is more offensive than tooting your horn without love. "Faithful are the wounds of a friend." Someone who's not a friend... not so much.

To all the trumpet blowers... keep blowing. Don't let me get comfortable. Don't let me think everything is okay when it's not. I really do want to make a difference. And I don't know what to tackle first without you.

... and watch your back.


1 - read/write comments:

scott said...

Im with you bro.

Blowing trumpets at my church with mixed reactions but doing it anyway.

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