Thursday, 25 October 2007

Taken into their confidence - a winning ploy

At a JA BBQ last year a newly joined member told me that what had initially impressed him about the person who had introduced him to Jesus was the way he had "bared his soul to me". The brother had shared some of his vulnerability and asked this new chap's advice.

It struck me that my elder friend (whose own house-church would later join the JA wholesale) told me a similar tale, that when he had met a brother from the JA he had been taken aside and told all about some troubles the brother was having, and that this disclosure had convinced him of their sincerity.

My elder friend, it then occured to me, had done the same with me. He had told me of some troubles they were having with a sister. This disclosure made me feel intensely uncomfortable. Firstly because it seemed to me that the sister's privacy was being betrayed, but also that it was perverse that it was being betrayed to an outsider. They should be supporting their sister, not bad-mouthing her to me. And I said so.

I wonder if this pattern is typical or just a coincidence? Does the JA make it a policy to win people's trust by letting people into their confidence? It is certainly an effective ploy. It is flattering to be trusted, to be asked advice. And you will more happily show vulnerability to someone who has apparently shown his vulnerability to you.