it’s the most wonderful time of the year

We’ve come to one of my fave times of the year!

As is our annual Intramuralist practice, each year in late summer we creatively model one of our most deeply held beliefs…

It is wise to listen to far more than self.

I would not be who I am today if I only listened to me. We would not be where we are today if we only listened to we.

It’s difficult — arguably impossible — to grow in solid emotional, intellectual and spiritual maturity if “we” are our singular source of knowledge and reason.

Sometimes we convince ourselves we actually allow other influence in; however, those other voices are oft pre-approved, with their primary credentials being that we already know they think similarly. 

To be respectfully both blunt and clear, imporous likemindedness serves only as mental insulation and thus an obstacle to growth. On life’s most pressing issues — i.e. Is love, love? What lives matter? How do we show it? What rights are actually inalienable? How big should government be? What do I believe about Jesus? How do systemic impact and individual responsibility fit together? How does one person’s freedom infringe upon another? What’s the wisest response to crime? Who gets to define such? — on these issues and more, if I only listen to me or those knowingly already members of my so-called tribe, I will have stunted my growth by discounting the different experience of another. Friends, our experience — no matter how commonly shared — does not equate to everyone else’s reality.

That said, it is wise to listen to far more than self.

Today, therefore, we enthusiastically introduce our annual Guest Writers Series. What a joy! And what an insightful opportunity.

Over the past dozen years, we’ve had the privilege of hearing from many distinct, diverse, and creatively articulate and passionate voices. Each has had a valid perspective to share. 

Note that I didn’t say “each has had a perspective that I agree with.” That’s not the point. And it’s never been a requirement for our annual series. The point is that each writer has agreed to communicate in a way that is respectful of the entirety of our audience. Respect, my friends, paves the way for better communication. Better communication paves the way for learning and growth.

Some of our 2021 guest writers are repeat contributors; for others, this is their first time wading into the Intramuralist arena. They are demographically diverse in multiple areas, noting especially, for example, that they range in age from the active Zoomers of Gen Z to the strong Silent Generation. They are passionate about varied topics and issues. They have great stories, insights, and words of wisdom. They’ll talk about energy, race, even a contemporary look into the Amish community. The bottom line is they will provide perspective that is different than “me.”

In the meantime, I will engage in a brief respite, a time in which I restfully and intentionally ponder and pray about what we’ll talk about next. One of my greatest growth realizations of the past 5 years is the need to incorporate intentional, regular rest into our days. That’s not wise simply for the older generations who we sometimes think of as having to slow down; that is wise for all — including you and me. I learn more when I slow enough to not be distracted by my daily to do list and responsibilities. One thing I’ve learned, for example, is that one of the sweet beauties of rest is gleaning how important those other, dissimilar voices actually are.

So enjoy this series, friends. These guys are great! They have much to say — starting this Wednesday!

Feel free to engage, comment, and encourage.

Feel free to ask questions.

Feel free to even disagree.

When we disagree and converse respectfully, we grow.

Here’s to this growth-filled series. Believe me… I can’t wait.

Respectfully, always…