Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Learning to Listen - Lesson #2

Continued from Lesson #1

Now that you emptied your communication toolbox, we can begin putting new tools inside. You no longer ask why or offer solutions, but haven't yet learned what to do. The next step is a fairly simple one. We will be discussing the use of open-ended inquiries and close-ended inquiries.

And open-ended inquiry is a question that allows someone to give a long, sophistocated answer. They won't always do that, but an open-ended inquiry gives them to opportunity to do so. Questions like "What happened at the game?" or "What do you think of that?" are open-ended. They allow for the person answering the question to give a lot of response. The question doesn't have an easy, definitive answer.

A close-ended inquiry is the exact opposite, as you may have guessed. It is a question that can usually be answered with one word. Questions like "How do you feel about that?" or "Do you like eggs?" are close-ended.

Here is a conversation utilizing only close-ended questions:

Sarah: "How are you today?"

Joe: "Good."

Sarah: "Did you have fun at the game?"

Joe: "Yeah."

Sarah: "Did Jason go with you?"

Joe: "Yeah."

Sarah: "Who won?"

Joe: "The Nuggets."

Sarah: "Was it close?"

Joe: "Nope."

It's hard to get any real information out of Joe without giving him the chance to go on at length with what he wants to talk about. Close-ended inquiries aren't bad, but they should be used lightly. Your goal is to ask mostly open-ended inquiries. Ask a close-ended inquiry in order to clarify or bridge into an open-ended inquiry.

Remember what you learned in Lesson #1. When you engage in conversation, pay attention to yourself and see if you use close-ended inquiries more than you should. Add that to what you've already learned and you will start noticing more productive and inspiring conversations. Stay tuned though, as there's much ahead.

Note: The next lesson will come...eventually.

Monday, April 17, 2006

People-Hating Christians Part 1

Well, Easter is over. The day Catholics have been waiting for since Ash Wednesday. Finally, they can eat ice cream once more! What did I give up for lent? Catholicism and Christianity in general.

Hopefully everone found all their Jesus eggs. I didn't paint any eggs nor go out searching for any. I guess you could say I boycotted Easter this year.

Why the cynicism?? I know you're not used to cynicism coming from me. But recently I have found that Christians are some of the most hateful people around. Supposedly the one true religion on Earth, the followers of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. If they're right, how can they be so wrong?

Perhaps it isn't Christianity that I find myself disliking. Perhaps there is no Christianity anymore, but only people who claim to be its followers. I always thought the Bible mentioned something about loving people and not judging. But I think the predominant Christian belief, or goal I should say is getting into Heaven. Nobody truely seems to care about the philosophy of Christianity. Instead, they only want to get to Heaven. And everyone has their own interpretation of how that is possible.

Imagine being a Jedi. Now stop swinging your arms around and making lightsaber noises. If the Jedi Code told you that you couldn't have family attachments, but say you happen to be close to your brother still despite your training, would you break that off? Most likely not. You would interpret the Code to mean something else, like perhaps it's only referring to romantic family relationships and children of your own. Now, you know that it means what you're doing is wrong. But you can see how it might not. And that leads you to convince yourself it's okay.

Christians do the same thing. When they want to do something, they don't interpret it as a sin, or bad. They find how the Bible could mean something different than what they know. And if there's no way around the interpretation, lucky for you there's confession and forgiveness. Reinforced with the thought that, "Everyone makes mistakes" this can lead to no real concern for right and wrong. While it's most likely true that everyone does indeed make mistakes, it's not an excuse for future behavior.

But this post is named People-Hating Christians for a reason. This deep hatred that Christians have is what annoys me. I wish everyone would care for each other, at least if you don't "love" them you could avoid despising them. Or at least get to know someone before you despise them.

Perhaps it's because we no longer trust. It's sad that as a society we can't trust people. We are people. If we can't trust ourselves, then what does that say about our character? Someone who trusts another is someone that can be trusted.

I grew up a Christian and I know that a Christian should be a kind, caring and loving person. I don't think I've ever seen one though.

Later on, in Part 2 of People-Hating Christians, I'll give you some actual examples of conversations with Christians. And hopefully I'll get some comments and maybe get a discussion going. Stay tuned for the completion of our two part episode, People-Hating Christians.

Disclaimer: I know non-Christians are just as bad. But the thing there is they don't supposedly believe in a philosophy of tolerance, love and kindness. If people who believe in that philosophy can't stop hating, then what hope is there for people who have no problems with hating?

If you really believe in God, then don't be ashamed of Him! Go here and participate in the contest.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

First Lovington, then....The World!!

Yes, it is my intention to take over the world. However, it's not such an evil thing. For some reason the connotation of world domination is having to do with being corrupt and evil. Perhaps it's Hollywood making movies where the ultimate villain takes over the world, or attempts it.

I'm sure I'll abuse the power of World Emperor some. I'll have nice things and do what I want, but not at the expense of humanity. I'll eventually have myself a Palace on the moon (the picture is an artistic rendition of what a view from inside my Moon Palace would look like). But I plan for my move out to the Moon to be part of semi-retirement. Once I get the World on track and things running smoothly, I'll go to the Moon and rely on regional governors to keep things in order.

I feel that any form of government is only as good as it's leader(s). Would a Republic run by corrupt, evil politicians be better than an Empire led by a good, caring individual?

My grandma's theory is that power corrupts. According to her, nobody can resist it. All politicians are evil, if not yet, they're heading toward it.

By the way, participate in the Photo Caption Contest.