I like having things in my life pretty clear. Needless to say, that's not particularly easy to arrange. One of my bugaboos is having to voice an opinion off the cuff about some issue that is important to someone else but not to me. I know I don't have to have an opinion about it, but out of respect for the person who has asked me for it, I often feel like I have to offer something.
Recently an acquaintance cc-ed me on an email of complaint and inquiry about a situation he was involved in which he felt was unfair. He invited all his recipients to weigh in on the topic he'd broached, and I, against my own wishes and yet knowing that (because of my own struggles with the issue) I had something to say, I wrote him a response. He didn't agree with my response and let me know it (politely); I re-responded to clarify my points; he re-re-responded with a polite end to the conversation in which he reiterated his disagreement. Okay, no harm done except possibly to my ego.
And the question that always comes up for me is--no, wait, there's more than one: why do I do this to myself? and when is it appropriate to weigh in, in the way he had invited?
I felt sure of my position yet unsure of my right to voice it. When he disagreed, I continued to feel sure of my position but more unsure that I had been appropriate in voicing it. When he re-disagreed (are you following me?), we gave up on the conversation.
One reason for my weighing in was that I began to receive emails from other recipients; these emails seemed to be taking sides in a situation that none of us knew first-hand, which felt dangerous and divisive to me, considering an institution's governance was being questioned. Triangulation is not a pretty thing to watch developing.
So, long story short, I said my piece, both to him and to the other recipients. Now, dead silence from everyone! I have no idea whether I did a good thing, a bad thing, or a useless thing! I guess time will tell.
NOTE: This situation does NOT involve a church or local organization; it is a situation in my private life.