Currently Browsing: Opinion

For Understanding: Classification versus Stereotyping

label tagI want to be clear… stereotyping of groups of people in such a way as to imply that “ALL of the group ARE this” is commonly seen as wrong. After all, every individual is their own person and no group of people are ALL the same… groups are made up of individuals.

For the sake of order and efficiency in our lives we do tend to catagorize things and classify people into generalized groups based on some kind of common trait. Inside those groups there may be subdivisions within that classification and maybe subsets of those. There may be such great difference discovered that an entirely different group is created. Labelling is an ongoing process as we learn more and maybe even redefine our criteria for a group.

Like many people, I order, categorize and label to quickly identify and efficiently use my time. I also use them for gaining quicker understanding. My groups or labels or terms may not necessarily agree with someone else’s who may have a different understanding or judgment of where something fits.

Since I have spent a good deal of time lately in conversation with a number of people who do not think the same way I do (in fact some in direct opposition to as I do) I thought this would be a good time to lay down a basis of better understanding.

THIS is what I mean when I use these terms: #Atheist (they call themselves this -no God)  #Angry or #Mad (predominantly displays anger, bitterness and criticism of others) #God-hater (displays hatefulness toward God, Jesus, Bible, and Christians) These terms defined by the everyday common understanding of the words: #Illogical or #Unreasonable (not following logic, reason) #Lie (not #True, contrary to the truth, facts, or nature of something) #Wrong (may be #mistaken, but definitely not #right which I use God’s ultimate standard as well as general humane definitions) #Bible (The Word of God, originated by God and recorded by divinely chosen men for benefit of mankind’s understanding God, truth, love, wisdom and how to live good and upright lives), #God (God as revealed in the #Bible, God of Abraham,Isaac & Jacob, Yahweh, “I Am,” Alpha & Omega, Everlasting Father, Almighty, Sovereign, Eternal, Omniscient, Creator of the universe and all that is in it, Sovereign, Provider, Sustainer, HOLY = pure good, love, truth, righteousness).

Being a Christian I do not pretend to know all the various forms of atheism and their subtle differences. As a Christian the foundation of my faith and life is Jesus Christ, truth and love. Love God and love others as myself.  Contrary to the accusers of me on twitter, I do not judge that a person is EVIL because they believe differently than I do.  Belief is an individual choice.

However, if anyone, believer or not, shows contempt for others and lies about truth I am compelled to speak against that bad behavior. That is admonishment — confronting lies with truth, wrong doing with righteousness.

It is not an easy thing to do. It is not a fun thing to do. But it is the RIGHT and LOVING thing to do. Depending on the degree of harm being done and whether I believe the person is even receptive to or respectful of the dignity and direction of truth, I may try to speak truth that exposes the wrong in hopes that misunderstandings are corrected and bad behaviors cease. All of us make mistakes. I would hope that someone else would do the same for me.

Like the wisdom of scripture states, there are those who have hardened hearts, deaf ears and are blinded to truth and righteousness. At those times when it is clear that the perpetrator has no desire to truthfully analyze or correct, there is no point in preceding. Don’t cast pearls before swine. Leave them with their depraved mind. Kick the dust off your sandals and walk on.

LIVING A GOOD LIFE IS SO MUCH MORE ENJOYABLE WITH OTHERS

Like most people, I enjoy hanging out with people that do the same things I like to do or generally believe the same things I do. Our experiences shared with our family and friends are the real memory makers that we get to enjoy over and again.

However, I also have great friendships “outside of my circles” where I am getting to know people I would not have even met in a sequestered life. The most profound discoveries of new friends happens as I engage in my online excursions. Social media after all is social.

I enjoy learning of various world-views from people that are not normally in my social circles. It is quite invigorating to engage in conversations with these new friends; growing in understanding of other people and ideas that I previously didn’t know. “Come let us REASON together,” is a welcome invitation to learn from one another and examine things together.

The experiences that I have with people helps in me to understand so very much more than I did before I had the blessing of knowing them. Even those who have been unpleasant to me have taught me valuable lessons in human behavior and communication. God is so very good. He allows us to grow in truth, love and wisdom as we encounter people who do not employ them. They demonstrate for us the consequences we have been told in the Bible will befall the liars, selfish, and foolish . . .without us actually having taken that particular path ourselves. Likewise, others can learn from our shortcomings when we share them transparently. ALL of us make mistakes. ALL of us can learn from those mistakes and help one another not to repeat them. Iron sharpens iron.

In closing, I believe that labels are just labels. They are not meant to define a person. They are just one way of quickly identifying what is same or different, or to point to a place. I believe that making statements about the characteristics of a group does not mean that it always applies, all the time, to all the individuals of the group. General statements about groups of people are that . . . generally speaking . . . for the most part.

The problem that I see with those who stereo-type is that they misuse labels. They proclaim that ALL people of this certain group are ALWAYS ________ (insert their claim). THAT in my opinion is the key difference between labeling and the wrongness of stereo-typing . . . having the label defining the person places one’s judgment of a person over who that person actually may be.

What do you think about this topic? I welcome your comments.

Laugh…or cry: “IN_security” is Scary Funny

Homer Simpson created by Matt Groening.

INsecurity is scary funny.  In other words, it is scary how utterly stupid some of todays so-called “security procedures” are sometimes so off-base when it comes to trying to keep the population a safe place.

BEWARE OF THE FINGERNAIL CLIPPERS; CODE RED

This true story from a friend of mine is one perfect example:

“Visit  to the City County Building was exciting. Made it through security only to have the guard shout ‘Ma’m!! Come back!! Do you have a manicure set in your purse?’ I have no idea but sure enough I find one. He then tells me he can’t let me keep it. Ok that’s fine. Then the female guard tells him I have pepper spray too. I don’t. I do have an inhaler. I asked if he wanted that too. He said no. Then I ask him how to get to the firearms office so I can get my gun permit”

This goes into my file of examples of foolishness that everyday citizens come across much too often. Not that there are security measures because prudence calls for those. Rather, that there seem to be some absurd and incongruently applied  limits to personal freedoms vs. restricted personal possessions.

Perhaps these “security measures” are a social experiment to see if we will see a rise in the general population walking around with long, dangling hangnails, sagging pants without belts and scuttling about in glorified house-slippers?

Hoosiers: Where’s the LOVE?

IN: Why the heartbreak?

IN: Why the heartbreak?

WHERE’S THE LOVE?

I weep for ALL the people. In reference to the new RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act), our Hoosier Indiana home is under vicious attack! I especially am concerned for our children who are witnessing such nonsense. There are so called adults throwing temper tantrums to gain attention for themselves at the cost of civility, proper respect and the peaceful accord of a loving community at large. There are so many people causing discord and strife while demanding others be more loving. It’s ugliness! It’s divisive, unloving and flat-out wrong!

God’s law (acknowledged to supersede all man-made others)

it’s simple…LOVE ONE ANOTHER AS YOURSELF.

14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Galatians 5:14 (NASB)

It doesn’t say agree with one another or be exactly like one another, but it does say LOVE one another.

Sadly, “Love” is not what I am seeing now, all over the media, with signs of hate and personal attacks on the civic & business leaders who sacrifice their time to serve us. This is not inclusive and loving but divisive and goes against religious freedoms for all. Name-calling, motivation-assigning and group profiling is uncivilized and shameful.

•Please don’t shame yourself or your particular cause or organization. This is not about “us” vs. “them”. This applies to us ALL!

•Please stop spraying the mace of malice in an emotionally charged crowd—people are hurting people with swords of words that cut deeply.

•Please, look at your own heart…the only person’s you can really know…and ask yourself: am I being loving?

•If I were mistaken or misunderstood, how would I want someone to treat me?

What is the right way to behave? Not just for yourself, but in regard to others? Am I open to hearing the others concerns and point of view.
Then do that. Do the next, right thing.

KNOW WHAT YOU KNOW RATHER THAN PRESUME TO KNOW

I cannot know any other persons motives. So I would be foolish to state that “so-and-so is doing this because …”. Yet there are organizational leaders who are doing just that. Some people are loudly declaring that the lawmakers of this state have passed a law that promotes discrimination against people. Yet I don’t read that in the law itself. So who am I to trust: what people say that it says, or what it actually says?

I can’t righteously say that RFRA is an anti-gay law anymore than I can proclaim it is an anti-toddler law. I can only go by what I see. I see a law, which as it’s name says, promotes religious freedom for all people… applied equally to all people is NOT discriminatory.

As I read it; this law protects us from government forcing us to violate our religious convictions (as long as they do not violate established authoritative laws or morals which limit their expression or exercise). I want that freedom for me and I want that for others. Who doesn’t? And why not?

COMMON SENSE

I would not want my Jewish friend to be forced to sell non-kosher food so that the preference (not a “right”) of every ham sandwich eater is not violated.
Does one man’s preferences supersede another person’s strong moral or religious convictions? We are speaking of living in harmony here, right?  Then, it seems logical that out of respect and love, one could either choose something else in accord or take their business elsewhere. Why would I want to force anyone to serve me? That’s like coercing someone into telling them you that they really like you and what you are doing when they don’t. Using threats and extorting behaviors; that’s manipulative oppression. How is that respectful or loving?

# What gain is there in making a loud scene within his deli, calling him a discriminatory bigot, or threatening to sue him in order to force him into acting otherwise?
# Is an attack on his personally held convictions while asking him to respect yours not self-defeating?
# Should his menu be repealed because it doesn’t include ham? Or in the same vain, should all restaurants be forced to serve the same items? Goodbye making decision between Italian vs. Chinese atmosphere and cuisine; a burger joint vs. formal top-chef. That might be viewed as discriminatory.

# Is it reasonable to hold a rally publicly declaring that this deli man has some kind of ill-intent toward all ham-eating people?

# Is it right that one proclaim what another person’s intents are when they are declaring something totally different? Who am I going to believe: the person that had the thoughts and intentions or the other who “thinks” they know?

# Is it loving or even wise to inflame emotions against large classes of people, businesses or states who have never even had any experience with you; let alone for you to presume that they will treat you poorly?

# Is it right to boycott an entire state filled with places that would happily sell you your ham sandwich had you just asked them?

JUDGEMENT: Judge for yourself.
At this time I have been grieved to read many remarks from people that classify ALL Christians as unloving or un-Christ-like. These same people do not generally demonstrate a Christ-centered faith but use His name or scripture (often out of context) for self-gain.

Ironically these who decry that other people are unloving have themselves used base language and personal attacks while working to incite strong emotional responses making it look on the surface as though some grievous injustice is occurring.
Emotionally charged reactions based on perception generally insure that a bad problem will get worse. Alternatively, stripping away the emotional perceptions to analyze the truth and carefully considering the other point of view is a much better way to approach a problem to get to a solution. Either we are a part of the problem or we are working to solve the problem.

PRAYERS FOR PEOPLE

I have been praying for our Governor Mike Pence who himself is being persecuted for taking a stand on what he and our state legislators believe is right and in the best interest of the people of Indiana. I pray for public servants, civic leaders, general citizens who are scurrying about as a result of emotionally charged threats against the businesses and livelihood of our communities. I am praying for a particular Jewish friend Annette Siegel Gross who is a well-known PFLAG leader who is passionately voicing valid concerns, but is doing so with personal attacks on our elected leaders in an unflattering if not disrespectful manner. Additionally, I know that God is grieved when those proclaiming to live according to God’s principles treat others with disdain and malice instead of loving consideration. Golden rule here, people. I pray for those who are fighting to gain better standing but are doing so in the wrong way. I hate seeing people rejoice in the fact that this turmoil is causing injury. I have actually read peoples’ statements that they are happy about this turmoil happening at the perfect time to do the most damage via the court of public opinion. Just as people are about to come into our city for the Final Four basketball tournament which will draw further attention to the situation. I pray for ALL of us who call this home. I pray that TRUTH and LOVE win over perception and self-serving agendas.

I am thankful to live in a time and place where freedom of speech and assembly is valued. I also am saddened by some of the disrespect shown in language, signage and threats. As the world is judging how Indiana is based on the images and perceptions that are portrayed through the media, I pray that the power of LOVE brings forth peace and charity that can once again unite us as neighbors willing to live and serve alongside one another to make this place one we can be proud to call home.

NO JUDGEMENT! NO DISCRIMINATION!
God is our judge, not man. Yet, God did not create us as robots. We have a conscience and innate sense of right and wrong. He intends for us to use that. We stand up against what is wrong and take a stand for what is right! True, loving brothers, friends, and concerned citizens will point out error so that correction may prevent or mitigate dire consequences. God’s Word does tell us to use wisdom, discernment, and exercise judgement in both how we act and why.

The person who declares that there is no god, has just made a “judgement”. Even a five year old uses “discrimination” when he decides that he likes ice cream better than cake. Is either the atheist or the five year old deserving of my disrespect because of their personal beliefs or choices? I think not. I still view both of them as a fellow human being; a soul deserving of my regard.

I am judgemental at times. I judge that child abuse is evil. I judge that it is deadly to stand in the middle of I-70 in the middle of rush hour traffic. I judge that choosing to act wrongly will bring about consequences that can be avoided if I act righteously.
I am also discriminatory at times: I chose this pink blouse over the blue one. I prefer the salmon to the steak for dinner. I place my precious china on display while keeping the paper plates in the cupboard. I think that my right to consume alcoholic beverages and my right to drive an automobile with my drivers license are both outweighed by the communities need for me to not drive while impaired.

Yes, I make judgements and I discriminate, so how does that make me evil? The fact that I place my faith in God and His word as a guide in basing those judgements and preferences makes those decisions less about me and more about God. Since I make mistakes and God never does, I believe I do well to live according to His statutes. Still, I may make mistakes in judgement or discrimination? I for one would like someone to point out the error of my ways before they start building a gallows upon which to hang me in ignorance.

Many angry constituents opposed to the RFRA are claiming that there is “NO JUDGEMENT IN LOVE” or “Jesus never Discriminates”. However that is not true according to the totality of God’s Word. In fact it would be extremely unloving and inconsiderate not to judge right from wrong, good from better when it comes to considering our relationships with God or one another. There would be absolutely no justice without judgement, nor any love without forgiveness.

WHO CAN TELL OTHERS WHO THEY CAN LOVE

Now, as far as me telling you who you can and cannot love…that is not my place. I believe every person has the God-given choice to love who they will. Neither should man foolishly try to legislate emotions.

I have many friends and acquaintances that have different sexual orientations or attractions than I do. As their friend they know what I believe and feel and vice versa. On some thing’s we agree, others we do not. But our love for one another is not jeopardized by how I treat them because I treat them the same way I would like to be treated. They don’t go out of their way to make me uncomfortable or disrespected and vice versa. As friends we communicate in genuine love and concern for the other. As friends we sometimes hurt each other and can call each other out on grievances in a kind way. As a neighbor, I CARE about how others treat each other. As a loving friend I do all I can to see to eat that all people are treated with humanity and justice.

ALL of us are human and make mistakes. Rarely (thank God) are the mistakes fatal. Always there is something that can be learned as a result. So many needless mistakes are based on a misunderstanding, acting or speaking out in error.
The wisdom of asking questions to get a better understanding of what doesn’t appear to make sense is something I like to employ in gaining a better understanding of things, people and situations. Therefore, will you kindly help me grow in understanding by telling me what you think about this post?
I just want LOVE for everyone. I want people to STOP hurting each other and dividing our community rather than uniting in purpose of making this a better place for all of us to live.  Thanks for being a friend.

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