With the political campaign season well under way already and only one very long year of adverts and debates to come, evangelicals are starting to make their voices be heard with recent forays into the national scene by Jeffers’ with his comments on Mormonism and Mohler’s piece about whether or not evangelicals are dangerous on CNN’s site. We can do litmus tests on these comments, wordsmith them for future conversations, or adopt them wholeheartedly. Or maybe we can take another tack.
Some time ago when reading Covey Jr.’s Speed of Trust, I came across what was almost a throw-away sentence in his book: In a high-trust relationship, you can say the wrong thing, and people will still get your meaning. In a low-trust relationship, you can be very measured, even precise, and they’ll misinterpret you.
When speaking through national, secular news agencies, evangelical leaders are speaking to a majority of people that do not have a high-trust relationship with the speaker or his worldview. If in fact there is a low-trust relationship with the majority that will listen to or read these comments about what is almost always a controversial issue, then miscommunication or misunderstanding is inevitable.
For controversial issues, perhaps we can save these for situations with a little less fanfare when speaking to those that are like-minded. If drawing any national attention, we would do well to focus on a message that communicates without so much controversy but is even more profound. We follow the One who sought to bring about justice and restore relationships. These are the things that we are to be living out and speak about. This is the message that will help to create high-trust relationships on a small scale. We should be prepared to speak about this often as long as it is in keeping with our actions. Other topics may be better reserved for kitchen table conversations.