Lose the agenda.
June 6, 2012, 4:56 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I’d like to set out on a journey to redefine, by action, the concept of being “open minded”. Open mindedness is one of those concepts that has always sort of boggled my mind (open or not). How can one be open to everything that they agree with but nothing they disagree with and remain “open minded”? I’m a bit tired of being told that you can only be open-minded if you accept everyone but you have to hate Goerge W. Bush, think everyone goes to heaven and listen to political blue grass.  Nothing against bluegrass! As something that cannot so easily be literally defined, I’ve seen people justify some pretty close-minded actions and ideas under the banner of being open minded. This is another one of those taboos  in Christianity, perhaps because it takes its greatest blows on those that stand for absolutes or perhaps because we are sometimes prone to using those absolutes as a license for judgment on others before we hear them out.

Just hear me out.

According to Webster dictionary to be open minded is to be” receptive to arguments or ideas”. Pretty simple right? I think ‘receptive’ is the perfect word to delineate open minds from close minds.  The literal definition suggests that one who is “open minded” is one who is willing and perhaps eager to listen.  This is a person without an agenda in listening, someone simply seeking to understand you. To receive you as you are.  Refreshing, right?  So I believe it is safe to say that a person that sees people, their actions and their beliefs as they are with no agenda of judgment and acts from that position of understanding, is open minded. Harsh judgment isn’t really welcome in an open mind because an open mind is positioned to understand why someone is who they are.  You can’t do that with an agenda to change them.

Clearly open mindedness is all the hype right now.  If you are open to everything than you can’t be wrong, right?  The problem is if no one is wrong you can’t stand for anything because someone will disagree. What ends up happening is, if you accept me I will accept you but if you judge me I will dub thee close minded, a lost cause. I will judge you.  The term has been completely hijacked and has become the anti-type of its most literal translation.  In a way it has become a weapon against anyone that might be prone to judging you but if it is used as a weapon how does it equate to having an open mind. If you, under the banner of being open minded, write someone off and don’t hear them out for who they are you are a hypocrite. Close minded.

We live in a culture that is closed to absolutes under the banner of open-mindedness.  Strange. How do you stand for truth and remain open to people that are nothing like you and maybe  even wrong?  I think the key is simply as stated above, lose the agenda.  I think Jesus was truly open minded.  He asked questions and listened with every ounce of his being.   He wanted to strip away everything to get to the truth, where he could make informed decisions and really love people. He said we should love our enemy. That is open minded.  I want to be like that.  I want to understand why people act the way they do and why they believe what they believe so that I can really love them for who they are. That takes an open mind. That takes grace.

Truth be told, you probably won’t hear me using the term very often because It has been so abused by people with agendas, almost to the point of uselessness. But I will try to be a true manifestation of the literal meaning of those words, to hear people out that are nothing like me, so I can love them all the more freely.


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