Thursday, February 27, 2014

Can We Resist the Rant?

Facebook gets ugly.  Duh.
The Christian community on fb is often ugly.  Sadly, duh, as well.
Civil is apparently viewed as spineless, kind as weak. Being abrasive is justified as speaking the truth.  Being disrespectful is rationalized as "just being honest."
"I tell it like it is" has replaced "I tell it like I think it is."   Seldom, if ever, does a post begin with, "I could be wrong. . . "  Humility has been discarded; in-your-face hubris is now the norm.
There is seldom neither a desire or room for discussion.  People don't want dialogue; they want your agreement.  To disagree is to defy.  To have a dissenting opinion is regarded not as being different, but as being wrong.
This is my experience of far too many in the Christian community.  When it comes to expressing a loathing of someone or spewing toxic hatred often I hear little or no difference between the Christian-and-proud-of-it and the individual who professes no faith or spirituality.
How can this be?  Have we forgotten that it was not Jesus, but the Snake, who spewed venom?  And yet I see my brothers and sisters spewing their poison against the President, the gays, those liberals, illegal immigrants, Fox News, any immigrants, CNN, abortion, abortion advocates, conservatives, progressive pastor/teachers. . . the list is endless.  In seeking to make a righteous stand and uphold morality we need to very careful; it was Pascal who said, "In seeking to become angels we may become less than men."
Do we actually care about the person or group or church we are assaulting with our words?  If we voice our view of a sensitive issue do we care about how our words will impact those who disagree with us?  Or  am I only and all about giving voice to what I think, feel. believe and value-- and to hell with how it will affect you?

Friday, February 14, 2014

Grateful For the Interruption

Big Rule:  Don't  acknowledge me, mention the weather to me, bother me, interrupt, talk or breathe loudly when I'm reading.
This morning I was sitting in Mac's slathering down my breakfast, book-in-hand.  A heavy, dense book about the emotional sense that Christianity purportedly makes.  Head buried in my book, looking neither left nor right, hoping to avoid all other people. I'm sitting in my self-imposed isolation at a counter and an old man sits down two seats from me.   A major violation of my space-boundaries which demand the length of a football field in any direction.  I've noticed him there before.  Always carries a beat-up briefcase that appears to contain all his earthly records. I keep reading and out of my peripheral vision I can tell he keeps glancing at me and then returns to his own business.  I'm thinking, Oh crap; he's gonna say something.  I bury my head deeper into my book.  He leans toward me and says, "So.  You think you can learn more from reading that book than you can talkin' to somebody?"  Oh crap.  Busted.  I reply, sounding but not feeling congenial, "Oh, not all the time," and I put my book down.  I notice he's perusing a mag of some sort and i ask him what he's reading.  He tells me it's a book about how to read.  He's 80 y.o. and three years ago he started learning to read. I repeat--he's 80 y.o. and three years ago he started learning to read. He was born on a plantation in Mississippi and worked the fields, never going to school.  He eventually moved to Peoria and became a very good boxer.  And faked it all these years.  In social settings he'd avoid the limelight, attempting to avoid any situation that would call on him to have to read in any detail.
I asked him,  "Until 3 years ago when you began this formal reading instruction, could you read ANYTHING?"  "Oh, words like 'cat' and 'dog.'"
He's 80; how does that happen?
He showed me his reading lesson which consists of a couple brief paragraphs and then several questions to test comprehension.  He proudly showed me last week's lesson for which he received an A+.  I asked him if he would read me a sample from that lesson.  In a very broken cadence he read, " The. . . boy. . . was . . . very. . . hurt. . . when. . . his. . . .father. . . departed. . . "   Reading another sentence he stumbled on the word "clever," and had to sound it out.  But there was no shame; all I saw was a  pride and a growing self-confidence that were surely nonexistent three years ago.
He has come further than I will ever have to.  From being a son of a slave he has struggled, agonized, labored and literally fought his way to become a man of dignity and self-respect.
"So.  You think you can learn more from reading that book than you can talkin' to somebody?"
No, sir.  Not today, sir.  Any time you want to talk I'll drop what I'm doing.  You have much to teach me and I still have much to learn.  Thank you, Bob.