Multitude Of Counsellors Project

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INVITATION: Weekly meetings with a lawmaker - in person + Zoom

Proverbs 15:22  Without counsel purposes (plans) are disappointed:
but in the multitude of counsellors they are established (plans succeed). 
Matthew 18:19  Again I say unto you, That if two of you shall agree on earth
as touching any thing that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father
which is in heaven. 20  For where two or three are gathered together in my name,
there am I in the midst of them. 

Can we agree that government needs MORE wisdom - including YOUR wisdom?

Invitation from a Lawmaker to a Potential Thinker

An invitation to you from a candidate or an elected lawmaker might say something like this:

(185 word sample)

"I need your advice. Numerous laws are passed every year that affect you. You have elected me [or, may elect me] to pass good laws and oppose bad ones.

"Many experts help lawmakers understand them. But do they know what you know? Do they understand your needs as well as you? Can they speak for you as well as you?

"Many voters give me advice, requests, and opinions. I would be helpless without them. But what if some met with each other, producing more tested, more compelling, and more advice?

"Will you consider meeting regularly with me and others who think about how our government could be better?

"By studying, discussing, and researching together, learning from each other and from experts who join us, we can become better informed - and therefore more influential - than is possible from news articles geared to average readers. We can develop more accurate positions with broader public support than we can separately. I will vote better, and persuade better.

"And you will have the ear of someone at the capitol who is learning from the most thoughtful people in your community, including you."

Where lawmakers/candidates can find Thinkers

If you have written to, emailed, or called a lawmaker with your opinion about an issue, the lawmaker may ask you to meet with others who care that much. A lawmaker might also invite each of the organizations sending surveys each campaign season to extend the invitation to their supporters, especially those living in the lawmaker's district. A lawmaker might also ask pastors to refer anyone interested.

Benefits to your State

People meeting regularly (weekly?) with a lawmaker - among whom are Christians who are not censored from appealing to the highest principles they know in support of their reasoning, are actually meeting in obedience to the Scriptural goal: "that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty" (1 Timothy 2:2) (Such a group might meet with more than one lawmaker, or even without a lawmaker but with the goal of communicating with lawmakers.)

Greater blessings than we have yet known should always be expected from greater obedience than we have yet achieved. Reason suggests the following blessings to our state would be natural consequences of such "multitudes of counsellors":

  • Both lawmakers and voters would become better informed and thus more effective for good. When participants learn from each other, test their theories, and reason with other with the goal of separating facts from guesses, they produce sounder advice for the lawmaker with wider public support, than individuals can achieve who are not interacting with each other.
  • Polarity (division, hatred) melts away to the extent people who disagree remain together in a forum which requires only that they reason honestly, follow discussion rules, and sit still long enough for an opponent to set forth his reasons. The creation of such a forum, in a society where virtually none exists that is accessible to voters, should prove a powerful safety valve where hatred can escape, and where misunderstanding can grow into wisdom.
  • Establishment of "multitudes of counsellors" (see the Scripture that introduces this article) is obedience to God, a very wise decision which promises to fundamentally heal American politics - its "sickness" being the despair among those who care that so many Americans care little enough, that the leane$t of winning campaigns require as much as a nice professional salary to get a few seconds of information before voters who resent the intrusion.
  • A "multitude of counsellors" is the antidote to apathy and the engine of transparency. The support of informed, influential, persuasive team members makes it possible for candidates to be more honest with all voters about all of their positions without losing the next election. Without that foundation, the goal of political consultants is to find out which voters support what, so that for example a voter who wants to carry a gun and also wants to get an abortion will receive a mailing about the candidate's support for gun rights, but NOT a mailing about the candidate's opposition to abortion. This strategy requires spending thou$ands on surveys to identify who supports what, with more thou$ands on carefully targeted literature mailings which must be (1) glossy and colorful, and (2) brief, with no more information than can be consumed in about 10 seconds. The strategy is based on the experience of opponents having no interest in learning arguments against what they think they want, while even supporters of their candidate's positions are too apathetic to read more than a few paragraphs - "bullet points". Perhaps not all candidates WANT politics to become any more intelligent, but hopefully most do, and informed teams of counsellors will make it possible.
  • With better informed, engaged voters in your district, there will be less pressure to be obsessed with the mechanics of getting elected, and more opportunity to prepare for the good things that can be accomplished after getting elected.

Benefits to Lawmakers

(By understanding how this will benefit lawmakers, prospective members will understand how their contributions will be truly valuable and valued.)

  • The lawmaker can explain hard decisions to the group and benefit from a team of advisors that will think about, discuss, and study them together.
  • When the need to establish critical facts is explained to many people, some of them are likely to have the needed special knowledge, or know who to approach, and how to approach, those with the needed knowledge. Many whose expertise is needed are more inclined to meet with a group - the larger the better - than with only one or two individuals.
  • When dialog with experts is needed not only to learn from them but to persuade them, because they have influence in society, they will be more likely to come speak to a group; and the group will be more likely to persuade them, if the group has done its homework and developed some consensus on the evidence they want their guest to consider.
  • Political decisions must be not only about what is right, but about what the public will understand and support. Group discussions can establish both better than a single lawmaker can. Group members can further ask friends or family their view of issues, and those asked will be more inclined to trouble themselves to think about it without being offended that someone is talking to them about "politics", when they know a lawmaker actually needs, respects, and will try to accommodate their view - the survey is not just a cover for asking for a donation.
  • When the support of other lawmakers is needed, or their positions need to be established, a group can multiply a single lawmaker's ability to contact them and win them over. A group can also multiply a lawmaker's ability to interact with lobbyists, activists, and other community leaders.
  • Laws often have unintended consequences because their details are too complicated for average voters, or even average lawmakers, to fully process. If the most perfect details are opposed by the selfish and not understood by the selfless, the wisest lawmaker is helpless to enact them. Therefore a group willing to study those details and drive "the devil" out of them, becoming better informed than is possible from news articles geared to average readers, and a group willing to support wise details, makes it possible for a lawmaker to understand and fight hard for those wise details without fearing not only failing to enact them but failing to win the next election for doing the right thing.
  • The people who will be interested in deep detailed discussions about policy will likely be those whom a few others turn to for advice on how to vote. So the better a lawmaker can "get on the same page" (develop consensus) with a group, the better and more informed word-of-mouth endorsements of the lawmaker will naturally proceed from group members throughout the community. The influence of those endorsements is multiplied when endorsers not only agree with the "bullet points" on a candidate's scanty literature, but understand and can persuasively defend complicated and controversial positions of the candidate. Volunteers for traditional campaign needs will also naturally arise out of any team of people in solidarity with a candidate, without making volunteering a condition for joining the discussion. (In fact, a good group will include people who disagree with the candidate so long as they reason honestly and follow discussion rules. Candidates will benefit from the all-too-rare experience of reasoning with an opponent who will sit still long enough for the candidate to at least set forth his reasons.)
  • A group of advisors meeting autonomously will not require the lawmaker's presence at every meeting, yet a lawmaker may request the group's attention to a topic even in the lawmaker's absence. The freedom of any group member to likewise propose topics will broaden the lawmaker's grasp of issues important to voters. It will also turn the group into a "think tank" able to check out new ideas - new solutions.
  • WARNING: The wisdom gained by each participant in such a group of informed citizens gives each member more influence, and gives the group political influence independently of any member lawmaker. Of course such a group allied with a lawmaker is very powerful, but such a group will not be manipulated against its will. Its support for any lawmaker will depend on the same kinds of relationships and agreement on issues that determine whether he will win at the polls, except that a budget able to buy glossy fliers - crucial in a traditional election - will be a lesser factor, while a candidate's ability to reason with people and build in-depth consensus on details over the heads of average voters - hardly a factor in a traditional election - will be more important. So this team will not be for every candidate, but only for those who like to reason with people even when they disagree, who like to think a lot, and who are willing to serve.

Benefits to Participants

  • Members become better informed than is possible from news geared to average readers. This makes people more influential, their advice more valued and respected. Their help actually makes their lawmaker more influential in the legislature than lawmakers without such teams, so that the influence of members is greater than ordinary influence with a single lawmaker.
  • Members become able to do far more good than is possible from merely attending rallies, donating money and time, answering surveys, contacting lawmakers, etc. Doorknocking, making phone calls, etc is still valuable and members may continue doing that too (and may have more enthusiasm for doing that, the better they know their candidate).
  • Members experience reasoning with each other about very important matters even when they disagree in a setting of patience and love - a rare opportunity - which develops relationship skills valuable at home, at work, in defending our freedoms, and defending our faith. It is a laboratory of relationship skills less intense, with less commitment than marriage, but with a similar though lesser commitment to not give up reasoning with each other just because you discover you disagree about a few things.
  • Members fulfill the mandate of 1 Timothy 2:1-2 to not only "pray" for our leaders [so that we may lead an honest, godly life without going to jail, v. 2], but to "petition" our representatives to base our laws upon the principles of Heaven rather than of Hell, to "intercede" for those harmed by our public policies, and to "thank" lawmakers who serve us well (which is a wonderful way build bridges with leaders). Following the lesson of James 2:14-17, members will do these things to the extent they can, themselves, trusting God to guide and enable them, rather than expect God to do what they could have done so they can do nothing.]
  • Members have an opportunity to actually correct some of the evils which tempt people to ask "how could a God of Love allow so much evil in the world?" rather than just complain. Or just listen to news about all these very important things spinning so dreadfully out of control without any way to do anything about it. It is a rare opportunity to talk with people who disagree about very important things in a setting where disagreement is not merely tolerated, but valued as essential in understanding the obstacles to good results that must be addressed. It is an opportunity to investigate the anatomy of a disagreement, which is an essential step in building consensus. It is a way to become "of one mind" not by merely suppressing disagreement - not talking about it, but by working through the facts and evidence until there actually isn't any.
  • The freedom of any member to propose topics turns the group into a resource not just for one or two participants but for every participant, in a less stressful way than a legislature processes the contributions of every member. Each member is free to alert the group to events, opportunities, or new solutions the group may want to address.

Simple Scripture-Inspired Rules

1. The group must agree on its own rules. They may draw from Robert's Rules of Order for ways to keep meetings orderly. They may draw from the Bible for ways to keep meetings decent. (1 Corinthians 14:40 says meetings should be decent and orderly.)(Scripture and discussion.)

2. Participation should be open to people of all faiths and political persuasions who are willing to reason with each other respectfully, reasonably, and intelligently. We can have zero tolerance for nonsense, yet still have infinite love. Welcoming unbelievers into the conversation is even a Biblical principle, counseled in 1 Corinthians 14:24. (Scripture and Discussion.)

3. Topics and any time limits should be established by vote. Topics may be proposed by any member as well as by any lawmaker(s) who are members, giving each member the freedom to share whatever God may have "revealed" to him relevant to the group's purpose, as provided in 1 Corinthians 14:30. Any lawmaker or member unable to attend a meeting may submit a proposed topic in writing. The group may vote as meetings begin on which topics they will review, and how much time to allot each topic. Records of discussions may be made for the benefit of both those present and those absent, either abbreviated typed reports, full transcripts, sound recordings, with or without video as the group may choose. If video is chosen, and if it is chosen to post it online, individuals may elect to sit where they will not be on camera so that they will be publicly "off the record". (Scripture and discussion.)

4. All should have freedom of speech to inspire by the highest principles they know, subject to rules evenly applied. Although participants of all faiths and political persuasions are welcome, it is foolish to suppress Bible discussion when relevant to group decisions, since even the very principles of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Religion, equal rights, and a vote for all are unique to the Bible and are not found in other religions except to the extent they were influenced by the Bible. Giving everyone a turn in the conversation is counseled in 1 Corinthians 14:31. (Scripture and discussion.)

5.Topics should especially focus on actions the group will consider taking together; results, not talk that goes nowhere. "Good works." Getting "light" into the "darkness" outside. Matthew 5:16. (Scripture and discussion.)

6. Discussion should be respectful, peaceful, gentle, merciful, wise. James 3:17. Bible discussion about personal spiritual growth may be appropriate insofar as it might be helpful to correct relationship problems interfering with group action and decision making, but it should not displace making decisions and taking action. Although separate meetings focused on that, or on any other topic of interest, might certainly be announced to the group. (Scripture and discussion.)

For more ideas from Scripture see: Bible_Guidelines_for_Relationships