The doctrine of pre-emptive positivity

The doctrine of pre-emptive positivity

By Chris Johnson
Director of Communications

Dr. Randy Gregg is a minister-turned-consultant, the owner of Corporate Performance Resources, based just up the road in Montezuma, Ga., just across the Flint River from my hometown of Oglethorpe, Ga. He’s a man of deep faith, which is practiced with a never-ending positivity. Don’t you just hate people like that?!

No, you don’t. And I don’t, either.

I do envy it a lot, though. I’m a worrier. Some people see the glass as half-full, some see it as half-empty and I see it as this dangerous thing that could fall, break and cut my foot and possibly end my life or cause a very bad infection. So I need positive folks like Randy to keep me from falling off the deep end (OK, farther off the deep end).

When I first logged on to Facebook this morning, the first thing I noticed was a post on one of Randy’s pages, “How Can I Live YES in a NO World,” which he started and labels as “a place where a community of YES gathers to share encouragement, hope, and grace so that friends may find the strength to walk through adversity and recreate their lives.” Anyway, this following post really struck a chord with me today. Read it and you’ll probably understand why:

Are you making a point or making a difference? As we watch and even participate in the political and theolgical debates of our time, it seems that in effort to make the point, the point is often missed. There are segments of our culture and our churches who seem to be anti- … well … everything.

How can we reach out to those who need God if we seek first to make a point with them before we love them? Do we bring people closer to God if we first tell them how wrong they are, or if we welcome them and nurture them – no strings attached?

The act of making a point is one of the big reasons so many have such a negative view of church. YES makes a difference, YES welcomes, YES loves. Love is the point! Love softens the human heart and nudges us all toward the straight but narrow path. Live YES today!”

Well said, Randy. Of course, Randy lives in Macon County, Ga., where I’m from, and he’s a Georgia Bulldog fan so he’s obviously a genius worth listening to. But the reason the words ring so true is because in the month and a half I’ve been with the Fuller Center, I’ve read so much of what Millard Fuller wrote, and Randy and Millard share a lot of similar views.

Mainly, it’s a doctrine of love and pre-emptive positivity. Because of his deep faith, Millard thought he could embark upon virtually any venture with success. And, well, it appears he was right. He also was more likely to open his arms than to point his fingers.

Some people may consider that kind of approach overly optimistic and foolhardy, and I’m sure even those closest to Millard wanted to grab him every now and then and say, “Um, Millard, are you SURE you want to do this?” But he lived by a doctrine of pre-emptive positivity. He seems like the kind who would bungee jump without the cord and say, “I’ll be right back!”

Faith can be used to condemn, to point fingers, even to terrorize. Or it can be used to lift people up, shed light on a higher path and make a difference, instead of making a point. The Fuller Center shares the philosophy that we’d rather make a difference than make a point.

I’ve dealt with folks who are pre-emptively negative. Folks who start sentences with statements like, “I know you don’t care, but …” or “It’ll never work …” But that’s a sad way to go through life. I think I’ll take Randy’s and Millard’s words to heart. It’s worth a try.

To visit “How Can I Live YES in a NO World,” click here.

Learn more about Millard Fuller here.

Chris Johnson
This post was written by
Chris Johnson is the Director of Communications for The Fuller Center for Housing, a multi-award-winning columnist for the Columbus (Ga.) Ledger-Enquirer and author of 4 books.

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