Generally, the pandemic has everyone short of nerve, and easily annoyed. The stress factor is obviously carried from the personal to group behavior. As pastor, I am asking for additional effort be expended to ensure we establish and maintain a gracious gathering across the many small groups that take place. On top of the COVID factor, there is the challenge of an internet environment under which we exist in small groups which subject us to further risk of disharmony and disaffection.
1. Our small groups do not gather to group think. It is not our goal to agree. The natural tendency in these conflictual times is to long for agreement and to be annoyed should that not occur. Be reminded that our goal is simply to share and listen. Then we move along, without anxiety, should the conservation reach a dead end. “OK then. What’s next?” is a helpful mantra.
2. If we are not agreed with, there is no reason to take it personally. That would be unhelpful. Humans can disagree without being disagreeable. A lighthearted, taking -ourselves-less-seriously approach is the only approach. On this, you should all agree (kidding)!
It takes intentionality to be gracious, forbearing other’s verbal and technical trespassing, and being present to a group through the flawed medium of internet communications. Intentional graciousness, happily enough, is a charism well known and practiced among us already. We just need to dial it up.
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