Monday, November 23, 2015

Shrinking the Relational Circle

My relational circle is probably getting ready to contract again.

Last week I wrote about our inability to communicate with each other on the Internet.  That was last week.  In the intervening period of 4-5 days, things have not gotten much better.  In fact, I have just had mounting evidence that the thing is much worse.

The thing that depresses me all the more about the whole thing is that I do not believe that people view the inconsistencies in their life as such.  Social media has accelerated the issue I suspect, but I am sure that the latent tendencies were always there.

We have come to view our lives as compartmentalized  I am this over here for these things but over there for something else.  In this part of my life I can find this hilariously amusing, but in this part of my life I need to be deadly serious about something.  We perhaps seldom consider how these two things which are seemingly so different look to those outside of use.

Our lives no longer reflect any sense of attempting to bring them into some kind of unified whole, that what we say and do and practice is consistent across all situations.

Consistency.  We do not value it.  There is a thought I had not considered before.

How does this relate to my relational circle?  There are two ways to relate to people.  The first, the one that possibly matters the most, is how we relate to others.  As a Christian, I get no slack here.  I must be able to engage with and speak to all people.  I am Christ in their lives, perhaps the only example of Him they will see.  My ability to live consistently and relationally matters.  That does not stop.

The second is how others relate to us.  Here, I think, we can engage in a little more selective practices.  The best example I can think of is something where everyone else around you is doing it but you do not have to do it - in fact, there may be prudent reasons for you not to be around it or to carry the thoughts of it around with you.  And so you start to taper off those times when such things occur or avoid situations that would put you in contact with them.

And so, I think, with me.

Life is short. My energy and time are limited.  Discordant thinking and negative thoughts increasingly have no place in what I am trying to accomplish.

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