When we were children, we thought and reasoned as children do. But when we grew up, we quit our childish ways.” (1 Cor. 13:11, CEV)
As a younger man, I tended to think in terms of “either” and “or.” Things and ideas were typically pushed things into one of two camps:
Camp 1: things and ideas I liked/agreed with/wanted to do
Camp 2: things and ideas I disliked/disagreed with/didn’t want to do
I have come to realize that there is great danger in this way of thinking. Sometimes without even realizing it you can create a reality in which personal preference becomes “right” and “wrong.” Taken to its ultimate form of expression, everything becomes “my way” or “the highway.”
There’s a word for that: Pride.
As I have grown older I have come to see that there are very few things that really need to be either/or. In fact, I am trying to limit those either/or things to things that are really black and white:
Black: sin/evil/moral wrong
White: God/righteousness/moral good
In doing so, I am embracing a new word: AND.
A few weeks ago, the contestants on Celebrity Apprentice went to Stuffed and Unstrung from Henson Alternative. The celebrities had to design and perform improv comedy with puppets. They were told that one of the keys to improvisation was to “go with whatever you’re given… no matter what, you never said, ‘No.’” The answer to great improv is always, “Yes, and…”
Here is want I have learned: there is great freedom embracing AND. It allows you to move in any direction, Alienation is kept to a minimum. People feel valued and more of them come along for the ride.
AND throws a wide net. AND seeks to unite. AND values the ideas of others. AND keeps the conversation (or the improv) alive.
As I have adopted and embraced AND, I have seen my ministry grow and flourish. New ideas have come to the surface. New people have gotten involved. AND is my new best friend.
How would embracing AND add value and impact to your life and ministry?