Friday, February 10, 2006

Contemplations: More Open-er is Better-er

I'm not a huge sports fan--not even a small one, really--but I can't help but love the Olympic Games. Watching a good competition can be fun, but seeing the world come together and peacefully compete is both fun and hope-inspiring. I'm particularly impressed how, despite the varied flags and outfits, much alike all the athletes look. Kids in their late teens and 20's, in prime condition, the eyes of the world upon them, soaking up the moment. Politics, boundaries and power struggles fade in the pure light of human excellence and simple fun.

While I was watching the opening ceremonies, I read about Bill Xia and his labors to provide open access to information for his fellow Chinese from "an undisclosed location" in North Carolina. Bill constantly pokes at the Great Firewall of China, finding holes that he can exploit to provide access to uncensored information for those on the dark side of the Firewall. Here's why he does it:
The seeds of [Xia's efforts] were sown when Xia arrived in the U.S. for grad school in the '90s. Stunned by America's openness, he realized his perception of reality had been warped growing up in China. "I was a believer of the propaganda," he recalls. And when Xia was exposed to all of the information on the Internet, it "started tearing apart what I'd accepted before."
This is why I am hopeful, despite all the dark clouds on the horizon. As a follower of Jesus--who himself said "the truth will set you free"--I can take it as a matter of faith that more freedom, more information, more transparency, more truth, is better. Everywhere and always. I learn it anew every day in business, where deals flow more quickly and smoothly when trust covers relationships. Transacting is just so much more pleasureable when you know where everyone stands. The power of this concept has been transformational for me. I find that in my personal dealings with people I have become far more honest and unfiltered. This has its unpleasantness from time to time; I had to own up the last couple of days that in the midst of serious and ongoing stress I've been acting like "an irritating prick" (by my own admission in a mea culpa email today) to some of my colleagues. But on this side of change, there's no going back. I hope always to learn more patience and discretion, but never to return to the timidity and masquerade of my pre-40s.

More openness is better. A few questions, then: Why does Mark Driscoll's new blog not have comments enabled? Why do so few evangelical leaders blog at all? And why would Doug Pagitt bow out of blogging as a medium for the exchange of information and ideas? I don't ask these questions to be critical. Really. I'm asking them because I'm increasingly puzzled why Christians don't set the standard for openness, given that we worship the God through whom "light has come into the world..."

So for me, blogging isn't about what I had for breakfast or about stoking my ego. It's about my contribution to the more open world that I believe we should live in, and to the more open faith that I hold to. That's why I take the time to do this, and why I contribute to the blogs of others. There's alot of goofball fun to be sure, but at the heart of it all is my personal passion for truth. Thanks to you all for sharing that with me.


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