Is there such a thing within our ranks as a dissonant voice?
Is this even something considered?
Sometimes I wonder if individuality can be present within a quasi-militant organizational model such as ours.
Is there ever a place for such a voice?
Can iron sharpen iron without healthy friction?
Is punishment instantly doled out to those with a conflicting voice?
By dissonant I don’t mean a voice of extreme dissent or open rebellion, I mean one who has constructive things to say to the organization as a whole…is this possible? Does that voice really matter? Does the Army still need dissonant voices? Will those voices really make a difference? Or does it sort of resemble this:
I do not wish to throw gasoline onto a fire.
I do not wish to lick an open wound (I know, gross euphemism…sorry).
But I do wonder what sort of place these dissonant voices have in an army that often times spurns abnormal or divergent (sorry book/movie series) soldiers?
Worst Case Scenario of Dissonance:
Divergent, dissonant voices are expelled, sometimes publicly, sometimes quietly with little to no fanfare.
They are driven further and further away from sources of influence and squeezed until they either capitulate or comply to the common “group think”. Hence the “my way or the highway” leadership model. Decisions made by leadership within this scenario do not handle constructive criticism of any kind, and will lash out and punish anyone who raises pertinent questions that challenge the present leadership and its decision.
Best Case Scenario of Dissonance:
Divergent/dissonant voices are listened to, constructive criticism is welcomed in order to make the Army better. Leaders still lead and make the decisions but welcome other voices to help make the organization better. One can still agree to disagree but without the fear of retribution of faulty, insecure leadership. The best case scenario is not the easiest for the organization, but would preserve its constituency while providing ownership to the “group”. BUT…Pick Your Battles!
Dissonant voices can become just like traffic noise if not careful on what battles are waged through constructive criticism. Traffic noise is loud and indicate when someone is coming, but if you constantly live with the noise, it will eventually become tuned out and ignored. If one constantly challenges authority and argues with every voice of reason and “unreason” that voice will eventually lose all power and credibility. If you must challenge authority and leadership…pick your battles and make sure you look for traffic!
Organizational Questions to consider:
Are there times when the voice of dissonance is needed in our Army?
What can one do to ensure dissonant voices of concern are listened to?
How can we tell when we have become the one in need of listening instead of speaking?
Does this army have room to grow and to become better defined and equipped?
How does one know which battles to pick?
When does pride become our blinder and prohibit us from seeing the “big picture” or the “other side”?
The Resonating Dissonance…
In the grand scheme of things, The Salvation Army was born from such a voice.
William and Catherine Booth began this mission because it seemed that no one else would.
They moved from the “accepted” group think into something new, and the transitional go between was this voice of dissonance. Jesus was a dissonant voice in His day. He, at times, upset the “group think”. He challenged the “law”. His way was obviously divine, life saving, deeply personal and yet salvation for the whole wide world. How can we become a resonating voice of dissonance in our world? How can we bring into the focus the need to become better aligned with Christ? How can we align our harmony with the orchestra of God? Can this army thrive within THAT voice again? I believe that we can. I believe that it isn’t too late for that. May we strive to be an ever forward moving army! May we guide the wounded hearts to Christ. May we never stand in the way of His Holy Presence and His moving in this body of Christ! May we use our voices both as individuals as well as an Army to make the name of Christ resound, so that hope is given, love is shared and joy, unspeakable joy is forever dispersed among His people.
Something more for this Army to ponder today.
To God be the glory!