Monday, August 16, 2010

Being Open

by Andy Hanson

Jan Paulsen was a great General Conference president. He was a truly Christian leader. The following three paragraphs excerpted from an article in the Adventist Review of November 9. 1996, should be framed and hung in the offices of every church administrator.

“When you are received in a friendly and open way with the warmth of someone who is obviously glad you are here, then you feel alive and well, and your achievement potentials rise remarkably. You feel accepted. . .
“What does it mean to be ‘open’? Essentially it means to be truly able to look beyond yourself without transmitting threatening or intimidating signals. It means not that the borders or boundaries that mark our personal space are obliterated, but that they are easily crossed back and forth. It means that when you listen politely you do, in fact, also hear what’s being said to you. . .It means we acquire the grace of being quiet and walking gently so as not to frighten off the other person with too many words or too much loudness.
“Openness means to be transparently genuine. You are clear in what you say, and where you stand is understood. In contrast to political posturing . . . openness does not operate with a range of private agendas that must somehow be accommodated. Political astuteness is the ability to predict what is going to happen and then support it before it happens. But a political environment is a most hostile place in which to spend your days, for in that environment all those around you are strangers. You may well know their names, you may well listen to their speeches, you may even sit next to them, yet you will all be strangers, each not really knowing the other person. Openness, by definition, is transparent, genuine, nonthreatening.”