Synodality and Reception of Ideas

One of the frustrating experiences in the synodal journey, a journey of dialogue, discernment and decision-making by the People of God, is the immediate shooting down of a proposed idea, concept, or recommendation. Someone offers a proposal and it’s instantaneously thrown in the garbage. There may be good reasons for rejection, but the manner in which it’s done without even considering an iota of truth to it is off-putting.  In the consultative phase a participant remarked, “…decision-making being made at the top…” and that there were “…no systems in place to allow persons to share ideas except directly to the Priest”. 

No one person or group has the answers or solutions to life’s challenges or difficulties. It’s the contribution of the individuals to the whole that produces suitable responses. In a word, letters form word, words form sentences, sentences form paragraphs, paragraphs form chapters, chapters form a book, books form a collection of stories, a collection of stories forms a library, libraries form a diversity of stories, ideas, concepts, beliefs, and philosophies.

The human challenge is the tendency to dominate. We utilize intellectual, religious, emotional, physical and social resources to dominate, oppress, and repress towards ultimate control. When this occurs, not only is the dominated deprived of their worth and value but they are also deprived of freedom. Freedom is lacking because resources are channelled towards one and only purpose, that is, to watch their back.

The synodal journey invites everyone to value the diversity of letters, words, sentences, paragraphs, chapters, books, and libraries available to us. As one participant of the synodal journey remarked, “. . . “The Synod provides the opportunity for Catholics to verbalize their thoughts and ideas. The Church now has the opportunity to listen to the voices of its people.” 

In response to a proposed idea, concept, or plan, first acknowledge and express gratitude for the contribution and value the effort, articulate your feelings and thoughts when you read it, and make your own proposal. 

The synodal journey invites us to resist the shoot down approach and to develop the ability to listen, evaluate, and respond together in the process of discernment and decision-making. Remember, the goal is discerning God’s will for the ‘now’.

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