I want to thank everyone who was present at the service this past Sunday (Aug. 11th) for their wonderful discussions of questions about our UUFB covenant, and their comments afterward!
One comment I wanted to highlight was that some of it boils down to “don’t gossip.” It seems simplistic, and yet, that’s exactly right. When experts look at organizational systems, they often talk about the dangers of “triangulation” in communications.
Here’s an example of triangulation: Hal gets upset about something Quinn said. Instead of talking directly with Quinn, Hal calls up Bob and vents about it, trying to get Bob on their side. Then Hal calls up a few other friends, and continues to talk about how whatever Quinn said was so wrong – and maybe starts saying other things about Quinn. Instead of using direct line communication, Hal is creating triangles, hoping that Bob and their other friends will go back to Quinn with the message. Or maybe hoping that Bob and friends will call others and keep stirring the pot of resentment.
A good colleague of mine recently wrote an article titled “The Power of ‘We Don’t Say That Anymore,’” about how to gently remind people of language that is just not used anymore because it’s hurtful. I recommend it to you. You can read it at this link!
Just as people can be reminded of inappropriate language, they can also be reminded of inappropriate behavior. Perhaps we can practice saying, “We just don’t talk about others here,” and then offer to help the next Hal that approaches us to talk directly with Quinn. (And the Healthy Congregation Team is always ready to assist with untangling triangles!)
Remember: On September 8th we will celebrate our annual Water Service. If you have water to share from summer adventures, great! If you have water from your own backyard or tap, great! If you forget to bring any, we’ll have pitchers of water for you to pour from to add to our common bowl.
Hope to see you soon!
Rev. Lori Hlaban