Sunday, 29 November -0001 18:42

Communication or Just Making Noise

Written by Rev. H.A. Bergsma
Glenn Penner, Communications Director of The Voice of the Martyrs gives some good advice about how to petition our government most effectively. ÒWe are often asked why we do not post form letters and petitions on our website that people can simply copy or signÉ ÔIt is too difficult and time-consuming to write my own letter,Õ some would argue. ÔWhy not just give me something that I can sign?Õ We understand the time constraints that we all live under today. And be assured that we do not avoid such petitions and form letters because it is too much work for us. That is not the reason. We do not typically post form letters and petitions online for one simple reason: we do not believe that they are as effective as personal letters from concerned individuals. We would be happy to post sample letters if they were only used as guides. Unfortunately, what typically happens is that people just Ôcut and pasteÕ them into a document with little or no editing before sending them out. It does not take very long for government officials and members of parliament to realize this, when they start to receive a number of letters with identical wording. On the other hand, just as useless (and more damaging) are personal letters that contain bombastic, poorly written attacks on the character, intelligence, and parentage of a government official or Member of Parliament. A couple of years ago I sat in the office of a federal deputy minister (who is an evangelical Christian) who regretfully informed the delegation that I was with, that the nastiest, most hateful mail often came to his office from those claiming to be Christians. Do we really think that such messages will be taken seriously? It is not enough simply to make your voice heard! The purpose of communication is not just to make noise; it is to express thoughts in such a way as to be listened to. So what is the solution? A commitment to take the time to write thoughtful, well-written, polite personal letters sent to the right person (the Prime Minister is NOT always the right person to write to, by the way) that ask for a response. We are called to be salt and light in our society; change agents. This cannot be done quickly with the click of a button and few keystrokes. One of the freedoms that we have in the western world is the right to access information and to express our opinion to those who can make a difference. And such communication does not go unnoticed in the halls of power.
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