Saturday, December 31, 2011

Discussion Guidelines # 6

...see previous posts on "Guidelines"

10.   Will we have a right to disagree with each other?

In several decades of leading groups, I have always gained permission for disagreement in the group. I’ve said that if I ever get a group where we can’t disagree, I want to talk first because I like my opinions better any those of anyone else. But I wouldn’t learn very much.

11.  Will we settle group business in the group or will we get in small groups afterwards and talk about each other?

Polarizing begins to take place when we start talking about each other instead of to each other. If it is group business, it needs to be addressed in the group. be continued...

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Discussion Guidelines # 5

...see previous posts on "Guidelines"

1.D     8.  Do you want to have a rule that we will not make fun of what people say in this group?
         We can laugh with people but not at people.  How can we know if we are laughing with or laughing at?  The first test is to see if the other person is laughing.  I cannot laugh with someone who is not laughing.  But I may need to ask the person being discussed if it feels like we are laughing with him or at him.  Solomon said, “Sorrow may hide behind laughter, and happiness may end in sorrow (Proverbs 14:13, The Contemporary English Version).  This brings us to the next rule.

2.        9.   May I, as a leader, have a right to interrupt?
       If I have any question, I will ask the person who is the focus of the laughter, “Does it feel like we are laughing with you or at you?”.  Several years ago, I was leading a group.  After an elder’s wife had made a comment, someone said, “That’s the way Yankees are.”  The group laughed.  I asked her, “Does it feel like we are laughing with you or at you?”.  She replied:  “We have been living here fourteen years and worshiping with this congregation.  We have taught Bible classes.  We have been involved in the work.  It would really feel good to be just a Christian, a member of this church and not a “Yankee Christian.”  We learned a lesson that night. be continued...