A Storm Is Brewing

The vile, graphic, hate-filled posts and comments from everyday people, celebrities, media persons and trolls are scaring me. Have you noticed a change? I have.  A storm is brewing.

The tensions, anger and outright incivility has been increasing over the past few years, and frankly, it’s getting worse.  A buddy of mine reported that a friend drew a line in the sand, commenting to her on fb, “If you don’t agree with me on this immigration issue, you’re a sick and horrible person.”

Really? If she has a differing viewpoint that makes her “sick” and “horrible?” I know her well, and she’s neither sick nor horrible, in fact, she’s a lovely and compassionate woman. She simply has another take on the issue.

Currently, people are using half-truths, blurred truths and outright lies to make their case. It’s always one big, juicy soundbite, which never fully explains an issue. Issues are complex and multi-faceted. Sometimes both opposing viewpoints are correct. Often, a nugget is never the full picture, yet it is used as the entirety of the situation. So, if you disagree with the nugget, you disagree with the issue.

That’s not how it works.

Today, people won’t settle for simply holding a viewpoint, they insist others must share their view, or they’re evil. Yes, not just holding a different opinion or seeing the issue from a different perspective, but they are actually evil. I’ve never heard the name Hitler bandied about so much as in the last few years, and most of those references are so far off base they’re akin to equating a campfire with a volcanic eruption.

“What if—hear me out—not every issue with which you disagree is morally equivalent to the policies of the worse mass murderers in history? ~Ben Shapiro

Rep. Brian Sims, from Philadelphia flips off VP Mike Pence recently.

I’ve never seen such ill-mannered people acting as though they hold the moral high ground regarding their take on an issue, all the while liberally peppering their statements with vulgarity and venom. The anger inside them is real, and it’s expressed in extremely inappropriate ways.

Actor Peter Fonda tweeted that the son of President Trump should be caged with pedophiles.
Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet got her show canned.

I fear much of the spoken wishes of violence inflicted on others will manifest into actual acts of harm and murder. We speak that which we become, and it seems like a vast majority of people who hold strong views are speaking horrific outcomes on those who disagree with them. Right now, it appears to be mostly contained in the venues of social media and the news media, but I truly fear it is only a matter of time before the fringe violence (shootings and beatings by outliers) take hold in more mainstream ways. We could see mass violence before this decade is finished.

So, I want to encourage you to seek out someone who holds a different opinion and try to find some common ground. Entertain reasonable, calm discourse. Put out fires and calm tense situations. Be the sane voice of reason in disagreements. Don’t get personal, stick to the issues. Follow Covey’s Habits starting with, “Seek first to understand.” Assure others that you don’t have to agree, you just have to work on finding solutions for peace.

And, most of all, build bridges where and when you can.

#buildbridges

#seekcommonground

Demonizing Historical Figures

Christopher Columbus photo from historykey.com

“Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.” ~Christopher Columbus

I don’t know where the trend started, maybe because they dumbed down history for little kids, but somehow we came to see historical figures as pristine people on pedestals, comic book heroes without marks. And, when we discover they are just men or women with same flaws and sin-filled natures as the rest of us, we become disgusted and disregard whatever good they offered the world.

History is being twisted to emphasize modern ideals without regard to culture and norms of the past. I just heard the name “Christopher Columbus” used as a derogative slur. As if one of the greatest explorers of all time is the devil incarnate.

We’re all broken, each one of us, from Adam and Eve to the baby in your family, we’re imperfect humans. Yet, our very history is being manipulated to demonize certain historical figures and canonize others. We live in an age where Christopher Columbus is evil and Malcolm X is a saint.

Neither is correct, of course.

Aren’t we simply bastardizing the real story of history to promote a modern-day concept?

Yeah, we are. And, kids are growing up today hating our forefathers, hating Old World Explorers, and not understanding how they shaped our views, added to science, culture, and our understanding of the world.

There are no devils and no saints, only humans. Broken sinners navigating our planet, sometimes doing horrible things, and sometimes doing wonderful things. The world won’t be perfect until God remakes it, so we must learn to wrestle with the notion that historical figures are good and bad…and just like us.

We cannot alter history for the sake of promoting an agenda. We need those visionaries and explorers of our past that brought us to the future we now have. We can have an honest look at their human frailties, but not at the sake of their contributions.

“No one should fear to undertake any task in the name of our Saviour, if it is just and if the intention is purely for His holy service.” ~Christopher Columbus

For more information visit: Christopher Columbus: Hero for the Ages or Genocidal Maniac?

 

Baker vs. Gay Couple

Photo: Pride Life

The Supreme Court on a 7-2 ruling found that a Christian baker had the religious right to not bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.

I could dissect this issue to death–uh, that would be vivisection, though, yes?–but since everyone else is doing that, I’ll just give you a brief synopsis of my brain waves.

In a nutshell, I believe…

1. The Baker has a right to bake or not to bake based on his “religious beliefs.” He can do as he wishes based on his own interpretation of his religion and his religious views. Would we ask an orthodox Jew caterer to serve pork if he or she felt it wrong to handle? That said, I believe he will soon go out of business by not doing business. If I knew a company had refused to help my gay friends, I would quickly find another company. That’s the wonderful thing about capitalism: it drives the will of the people. Something government cannot do. Government cannot legislate thought. I believe that most people are decent and good, and really don’t care if you’re gay or not. Just be a person first not an in-your-face sexual orientation. I love you and your married partner, just let’s have other topics of conversation, please? Plus, I know you. You come to my house, you share my food, my wine, you support me and my husband and care about our kids. You’re great people and I love you! If you tell me the Baker refused you service, I would respect that baker’s right, but I would find another baker.

 2. The Gay Couple needs to find another baker and not make this a political stance. The courts are no place to change hearts. A piece of legislation is not going to bring instant support. Reach out to your neighbors. Socialize with straight people. Build bridges. And, of course, find another baker, then laud him or her. Make the biggest, fattest, sexiest deal about them baking your cake! Drive business to them! As for the Baker, voice your disdain on Yelp!, but keep it in a professional manner for bigger impact. It will get you better results. Trust me, as a former brick and mortar business owner, I know firsthand the singular effectiveness of bad Yelp! reviews. And, don’t forget the good Yelp! review for your chosen bakery. They’ll appreciate it, I assure you!

I think it is wrong for Christians to choose gayness as some sort of religious stance against sin, as some Christians do. I believe that being selective in “sin admonition” isn’t a godly trait.

Had the Baker also vetted each couple considering a wedding cake to find out if they’d had premarital sex? If they were currently married to other people? If they were drug addicts or drunks? Had committed murder? Had children out of wedlock? Or, if they were currently engaged in a plethora of other sins?

The Baker was wrong to make one sin MORE significant than any other.

We can’t selectively choose a Bible verse to make our pet point; we must take the Bible in total and comprehend the cultural references and use of language. Remember, the Bible wasn’t written in English, so we must go to the languages of the Bible (Greek/Aramaic/Hebrew) to glean proper understanding. For instance, some believe that Leviticus 19:28 teaches that we shouldn’t get tattoos. Tell that to my pastor and half the staff who are covered in tattoos at MY church! Oh, and I have one, too.

Our goal as Christians is to love one another. Let God work on each person individually. Priscilla Shirer (War Room, The Armor of God) has taught me that what is right for one, may not be right for another. Everything is permissible but not everything is beneficial (1Cor 10:23). Priscilla tells of when the Holy Spirit told her not to drink. Now, she doesn’t condone abstinence from alcohol for everyone. Anyone can drink. But, FOR HER it was not right. God guides us in the way we should go. (Psalm 32:8).

 Our job is not to worry about other people’s sin, but to worry about our own. First remove the plank from your own eye, then take the speck out of your brother’s, so that you won’t be a hypocrite (Matthew 7:5).

Samantha Bee: A Thought On Bullying

Photo by Rex Features

We all remember those girls. You know, the ones who whispered behind our backs, or outright called us names. Individually, they were spiteful. In a pack, they were horrific.

Yesterday, Samantha Bee called Ivanka Trump a derogatory female slur. Personally, I found it disgusting that any women would use that horrible term for another women, regardless of reason. Ms. Bee did apologize, but when others chimed in their support for her, she walked back the apology.

Sorry, not sorry.

Ms. Bee may be in the spotlight now, but she reminds me of those girls in high school. Bullies are bullies whether they walk the school hallways or headline the media.

Women who tear down other women because they don’t agree with their politics hurt ALL women, because now we’re taking sides. If you agree with Ms. Bee’s politics, you agree the terminology is okay. If you disagree with the terminology, you must agree with Ms. Trump’s politics. It’s a lose-lose situation, and that’s why people who name call, like Samantha Bee, are so successful. The audience has to pick a side. They can defend vile speech to agree with Ms. Bee’s politics, or they can defend Ms. Trump out of disgust with the foul word.

Brilliant tactic, actually. And, leading to the decay of our society.

This is what my kids learn in school about bullies.  The ones noted as “KIDS” (from stopbullying.gov) are what we’re teaching our children. The ones noted as “MEDIA” are my similar take on the adults—and I use that term loosely.

  • KIDS: Get into physical or verbal fights

MEDIA: Verbally bash others in interviews or monologues.

  • KIDS: Have friends who bully others

MEDIA: Have colleagues and associates who bully others

  • KIDS: Are increasingly aggressive

MEDIA: Are increasingly angered/triggered and use foul language

  • KIDS: Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently

MEDIA: Get fired or reprimanded on the job

  • KIDS: Have unexplained extra money or new belongings

MEDIA: Offered new contracts or promotions by bullying the correct people

  • KIDS: Blame others for their problems

MEDIA: Blame the other side for their problems

  • KIDS: Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

MEDIA: Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

  • KIDS: Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

MEDIA: Are competitive and worry about their reputation or popularity

So, that’s the irony. We teach our kids anti-bullying curriculum whilst we give our time and attention to the biggest bullies of all: those grabbing headlines.

For now, it’s Roseanne and Samantha Bee, and tomorrow the names will change but the venom will remain. So, what can we do?

Turn them off. Bullies only win when they have an audience or a victim. Don’t be either.