Transparency: How Much Is Too Much?

How transparent is too transparent?

Well-meaning people tell me that honesty and transparency are key characteristics of any good leader. “It let’s people know that you’re human, helps them trust you more” one good friend said to me.

But would people want to know all of your struggles? What if you were a pastor and you had questions about the very core doctrines you taught? What if you were the CEO of a company built on a premise you don’t buy? What if your pursuit of the truth caused you to break ranks with those not yet facing such struggles, or having perhaps come up with a different answer. At what point would “we love you” become “whoa, whoa, whoa…”?

Of course everyone is picturing the worst. He’s gone off the deep end they’ll say. Next up we’ll see his picture on Drudge having microwaved his cat or strangled his wife. But before you cast the stone, please know that I am not about to jump ship. I have questions; not just “huh, that would be an interesting Trivial Pursuit question” questions, but “shake the whole foundation of your life” questions. Perhaps it’s because I see the world as interconnected; every belief, every fact in some way manifesting itself in reality.

So when we argue about evolution versus creationism, I don’t see monkeys versus dust, I see myself waking up tomorrow with purpose versus waking up tomorrow with none. When we argue about situational ethics, I don’t see Jewish midwives versus Ten Commandments, I see myself lying to get ahead in my business versus being honest even if it costs me real money. When we argue about theism versus atheism, I don’t see Lewis and Freud, I see a world in which I must dominate versus a world in which I must serve. Maybe it was my training as a writer. We were taught to connect the unknown to the known; it helps explain the unknown. But this is more than just coffee talk, it’s my life.

That’s probably why I like blogging. I have a chance to ask the questions that most people would swoon over were I to mention it in person. Fides quaerens intellectum is rarely welcome in churches these days. Matters of practice take up so much time that they seem to strangle any deeper discussion.

But at what point should my inner struggle become a matter of public discussion?