Yesterday I mentioned the William Isaacs book, Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together. He mentions four roles in dialogue; mover, opposer, follower, bystander. He suggests ways to bring each of the four roles into community to arrive at consensus.

   I also mentioned that, as regards the present state convention problems, I am forced into the role of opposer. I should hasten to mention a few things about being an opposer:

1. Opposer does not mean Destroyer. I do not want to burn down the house to get rid of the termites. Neither do I wish to let the termites continue to eat away at the house. Either way, the house suffers.

2. Opposers do not have to remain in opposition. Opposers can help those cast in the role of movers to refine their thinking, purify their motives and improve their methods. For instance, Montoya has moved the convention in his role as opposer. Do not believe for one moment the present executive director would have opened a major investigation if Montoya had not moved him in opposition. The executive who let us be led into this mess does not have what it takes to lead us out of it. He had to be moved to act.

3. Opposers bring forward their ideas, usually, from a subordinate position. That is certainly the case here. I remember the lesson from history about what happens to opposers who bring fresh ideas to the table without authority to enact them.

   Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty in WW I. He opposed Asquith and his military advisors who led them to the stalemate of the trenches in Europe, with the consequent slaughter of an entire generation of British youth.  Winston devised a strategy to force the Dardanelles with a joint Navy-Army force. If successful, this plan would have turned the enemy flank, brought more allies into the war and saved millions of lives.

   The incompetence and treachery of the professional staff ruined the plan. Churchill was removed from the Cabinent and went as a soldier to the trenches. There he remained.

   When he was asked why his plan had failed, Churchill replied, "I tried to enact great strategy from a subordinate position."

   Opposers, as in our case, have very little power. We can hope to bring attention to the failures of the persons in power, so we will be accused of personal vendettas. We can introduce new ideas to the body politic but will always be told we do not "see the big picture." Finally, we will be shoved out of place by the emotional inertia (malaise) enveloping cooperative work.

   As Lee, one of our frequent commentators has remarked, "Cooperative giving is championed by the over 60 crowd and not all of them. When they pass off the scene, cooperative giving for missions will pass with them."

   We will have to find ways to energize people to care. Incompetence and scandal, waste and mismanagement will not push anyone to open up their purse. We are watching, the opposers, because we care about ministries. We are watching, we care and we are not going away easily or soon. Attribute any low motivation to us you wish, if it contributes to your feelings of self-esteem to have us pigeon-holed. We are here. 

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