REV. Jan A Scholtz
Have you heard about the elephant in the room? It is the conversation about the controversial subject that no one wants to have because everyone fears conflict will break out, feelings will be hurt, and then no one will be talking.
The elephant walks into most homes and institutions, but always seems to take up residence in most conferences. The elephant’s name varies, but it often is associated with a matter of social justice.
The elephant seems to show up each year at local, regional and national meetings in the form of resolutions or bills. Since we do not want to recognise the elephant, we think that this creature gets dragged in by mean people.
Instead, their faith has made them passionate about important matters, they are often surprised and offended that others are very deeply committed and can have very different opinions on the issue at hand.
The delegates or representatives will then vote for the resolutions / bills up or down, leaving some pleased with themselves and others hurt.
What if we could talk about the elephant in a manner that caused us to learn something new? What if we could seek the truth together, instead of dividing ourselves over opinions? The consensus decision-making process will help us to accomplish the goals.
How does it work? Consensus decisions do not take a vote based on anyone’s opinion instead, and because the consensus decision-making process tries to listen to everyone, the bigger picture of this large creature begins to emerge. In the process, everyone feels united in this quest for discovery. If people are heard, they are less likely to become defensive or angry and are more likely to listen to what others understand.
We have been experimenting with the consensus decision-making process in meetings (political, administrative, religious, etc.), with the purpose of seeking the truth in many matters. Through this process of learning, listening and discovering, it has helped us to see the bigger picture on the most important matters.
Therefore we must find a way to sit down together and spare no effort, knowledge or passion and sit down together and give all we have in order to tackle our problems – together let us find the courage and energy to fight as one to build the Namibian house for all our dreams.
Our disagreements will then become philosophical, ideological and even idiosyncratic, and as a way forward, we develop skills from this process and we will discover ways to talk about the elephant that enters our houses, offices, at local, regional and national levels.
And Plato said “the road to Athens was made for conversation.”
* Reverend Jan. A. Scholtz is a holder of a BA (HED) from UNISA. This article is written in his personal capacity.
New Era Reporter
2019-02-13 10:08:00 6 months ago