“The reality is we need dissent. Without dissent society would come to a halt; we wouldn’t change or create or innovate,” says Carsten de Dreu, a professor at the University of Amsterdam who specializes in the role of dissent within organizations. But “these dissenters are despised or ignored or persecuted by the majority.”

A few days ago, a friend of mine sent me an article.  It is called “In Praise of Dissent.”

She said she thought of me.

Dissent is tricky. In others, it is usually only laudable in hindsight…after they been shown to be right. And I rarely even like my own dissent. Sometimes I wish I could just get with the program. And the guilt of feeling outside the circle of assent when holding tightly to a dissenting opinion is rarely pleasant.

However, the whole time I am reading, thoughts on the need for dissent in the church, local and Universal are flying through my mind with sonic boom inflicting speed. Not because the dissenter is always right. But, for the very reason, we pastors could easily fall victim to seeing dissenters as only troublemakers. Blinded by our visions, dreams and possibly groupthink, ignoring dissent becomes the shortest distance between two points. Veering off this line extends meetings and derails progress.

So what do you think? Is there a place for dissent in the church? Where? What are it’s limits? Dangers? Benefits? Do you have any stories where dissent was helpful?

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