Insight often starts from one of three reference points. The first is experience. The second is current literature. The third is conjecture and bluff (personal theories). Of the three, the one that many rely on is current literature.
Using one’s experience as a reference points opens one’s self up to criticism. Even if things worked in the past, others can question the methods, challenge the outcomes, and doubt the similarities. Intuitively we know that every moment in time is unique. However, experiences do teach us. We can adapt our lessons can to new situations. However, there is a risk. Being questioned opens up the truth. Whatever one did in the past, it could have been better. We know we could do more. I find that if one admits that things were not perfect, lessons have been learned, that the open adaptation gives others the opportunity to intelligently buy-in.
Personal theories are rarely sustainable. They may work on occasion. With each success it is increasingly unlikely that the outcome can be repeated. It is as if others around us can feel our bluff. Yes, we are subject experts. Yet, the evidence is missing or weak. The path that works with this is total candor. The message is “If nobody has anything better, here is an idea”.
The reliable choice is to follow the crowd. Research, consultants, and white papers will tell us what works. By using this, we are safe! The idea is not ours. We do not need to defend. We are relying on what we know is safe. Ironically, we miss the warning message. “Don’t fool yourself. Don’t think that you can be wise merely by being up-to-date with the times.” (1 Corinthians 3.18)
The low gray clouds this morning speak of confusing times ahead. I know I need help. I also know I can find help in the reflection that listens for God’s voice. Life has an amazing way of reaching out to us when we least expect. God, through circumstances and the choices of others, is at work in your life and mine.