Driving Relationships

Posted by John Lindsay on 27th January 2012 in Christian Articles, Christian Arts and Entertainment, News, Op Ed

Most people would agree the quality of communication determines the strength of a relationship. Because today’s communication is technologically more advanced than ever before, we take for granted our relationships are as secure as our internet connection. We have an ever increasing number of social networking options to keep us abreast of the topics, issues and players who influence our world. And that is good, right?

The strength of an economy is based on transactions. Transactions are based on relationships. Relationships are based on trust. If this is true, then strong relationships should equate to a strong economy. If our relationships are as solid as we think, why is it now, at the pinnacle of the information age, with more means of staying connected than any generation before, we find ourselves in the midst of an economic crisis? But is the economic crunch affecting our trust or the trust factor affecting the economic condition?

Today we greet one another by saying, “How are you?” but the person asking the question wants the answer only slightly less than the person being asked wants to truthfully reply. This is an indication of being task driven as opposed to relationship driven. Task driven individuals are effective in completing tasks, but come Monday morning, have no more resources than they did the day before. A relationship driven person may not be as effective at a given task, but they will always have an ever-increasing pool of resources from which to pull.

I have a Facebook account with a fair number of friends, but if they are like me they log in only occasionally and skim through only a day or two of the competing posts. Twitter posts have a considerably narrower window of opportunity to be viewed. I also belong to a small church and regret to say I know few members very well. I belong to a men’s group, but have not had a single conversation with anyone outside the scheduled meeting time. I attend a weekly Bible study but I do not know what these people are capable of accomplishing under pressure. I am a member of a bowling team in the winter and a softball league in the summer. I know more about my teammates than I do my fellow church members, but it is hard to tell which way a teammate’s moral compass is pointing. My desk is littered with notes and business cards with names and numbers of people I no longer recognize, and my cell phone contact list is worse.

In this less than 500 word, sugar-coated, politically correct world we are being conformed to, are we being molded into nothing more than someone else’s ideal model of a consumer (i.e. someone who makes quick emotionally driven decisions without discernment)? Furthermore, have we been sold to believe creative marketing is a good model for maintaining friends, family and neighbors?

I used to get jealous when I would visit some else’s Facebook page and see they had considerably more “friends” than I had, but I felt even worse when I realized most of my friends were virtual. After all, once upon a time, when these people were real, we shared experiences and even assisted each other in building things. Unfortunately, most of the fine folks who have been gracious enough to accept my friend requests, through no one’s fault but my own, have not been seen face to face or engaged in a good old-fashioned conversation for decades. Additionally, most of the information I have posted on my wall has been self-indulgent methods of personal promotion – hardly acceptable behavior for a true friend.

Clearly, the way a person uses or misuses social media reveals a great deal about themselves, but I do not think I am the only one who has been adversely affected by this free market frenzy. Case in point – I recently auditioned for a local civic theatre’s musical production. I had always wanted to do this certain show and invested quite a bit of time preparing for the audition. I was a member of Actors Equity until the mid-nineties. I had performed in one of the nation’s top ten opera companies, sang and danced in the national tour of the Will Rogers Follies. I believed after a relatively successful entertainment career, writing and producing three musicals of my own and writing a book with several chapters devoted to the methods of acting, I was more than qualified for their production. After the first round of their audition process, according to a reliable witness, I was told I sang well. Her exact word was, “Wow!” Then they cut me without hearing me read. Part of why I auditioned was to familiarize myself with other like-minded individuals residing in this otherwise creatively forsaken peninsula. You would think a small theatre company would have placed more emphasis on relationships.

That same friend also said so eloquently, “Rejection makes you mope around like someone stole your marbles.” But it was more than the tangible role or opportunity which was withheld. It was the intangible bond of the relationship I missed, and rightfully so. Task driven, short-term minded people need to cast a show expeditiously, where relationship driven individuals realize there are other shows to cast beside this one. You would think more people would consider it wise to find out as much as possible about their available talent pool while it is convenient.

Life is one audition after another. Sometimes you are the director and other times you are the scenery. When are we ever going to take our eye off the show we need to cast or the role we want to play and start focusing on the relationships necessary to help a community through a famine? Are time constraints due to personal agendas making real conversations obsolete? Has personal success become more important than the people we need to reach those goals? If we focus on strengthening healthy relationships by bearing one another’s burdens, our personal goals may just handle themselves.

I stated in the beginning most people would agree the quality of communication determines the strength of a relationship. What most folks fail to comprehend is there is a prerequisite to a relationship; something necessary which bonds two or more non-related people together. Trust. Trust is based on truth. Unadulterated truth is found nowhere but God’s word. So, if you want a strong relationship with someone else you have to first have a good relationship with God. Otherwise there will be too little truth in you for someone else to trust.

If we disregard the destiny intersections God has provided, we may be forfeiting the real blessing which is not the fortune and glory but the true prosperity of joy, peace and the security which stems only from healthy relationships.


4 Responses to “Driving Relationships”

  1. oldsoul212 Says:

    Good points to consider! Although, I doubt that in this ever increasingly abrupt electronic age that the generations of youth, shall be able to assimulate the subtleties of such relationships.

  2. tenpinguru Says:

    Your article leaves me with my own questions. As our physical (touch) communications in our relationships become replaced with texts messages, facebook posts, blog replies (LOL) etc…, do we lose more than context and physical expression? I find the written word is open to much more interpretation than most spoken word. Punctuation is above my pay grade, so to actually communicate exactly what my voice inflections and physical cues would provide in a given conversation is near impossible.

    As we consider the stars (pun intended), we should also contemplate how our written words may be perceived by others. Some people may find humor, while other may become uncomfortable given the same prose. Even this brief blog entry has been mentally rewritten a few times to try and convey a mutually understood meaning. So how much time is lost in writing a meaningful message? (Congrats and thanks to John for taking the time to write such well thought out pieces, BTW) Although the brief text message or post may serve its purpose, I still prefer to speak with my friends. So don’t expect to find me on facebook anytime soon.

    Lastly, if a picture is worth a thousand words, how much is a good conversation with a close friend worth?

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