Posts Tagged ‘conversation’

No One Wants To Be A Racist

November 1, 2016

The phrase “locker room talk” suddenly hit the public news media recently. It was used to explain or justify talking crudely about women or people of other races.

Ever wonder what locker room talk is?

Me, too. The only sport I played was tennis. We didn’t have a locker room. 

Pro athletes spoke up and said their locker room conversations were nothing like that.

In my life I’ve been around “man talk”, of course. Almost never have I been part of “girl talk”, of course. So my experience is somewhat limited. Outside of three long months I spent in a fraternity in college, I’ve never been around conversations describing women and sexual exploits and the like. Those were probably post-adolescent boy fantasies. 

Racial comments are frequent in many places. Mostly white-guy “jokes” or comments about another race being lazy, worthless, criminal. Sometimes not another race but another culture of the same race. “Hillbilly” used to be a term of derision. Now maybe it’s redneck?

Shane Claiborne in the book I cited yesterday, Red Letter Revolution: What If Jesus Meant What He Said?, commented, “No one wants to be a racist, except for maybe some really mean people.”

I think he’s right. I’ve heard people make the meanest comments about people of another race. Then later when the term racist was brought up, they would remark, “I hope you aren’t calling me a racist.”

We don’t hear what we ourselves say.

Robert Burns, the Scottish poet, said it centuries ago, “O wad a giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see us.” 

How often do we reflect on what we say and do? And feel embarrassed? I have those flashbacks every once in a while.

Jesus did show us the way. And typically for him, he set the bar so high that we can never feel complacent. His culture was very racially defined. The Jews (like many other tribes) tried mightily to keep themselves separate from people of other races. 

Yet, Jesus healed the child of the woman “who was Gentile, of Syrophoenician origin.” He led a Samaritan woman to a deeper spiritual understanding of God. These were doubly groundbreaking. Not only were they not his race, they were women.

Like in everything, Jesus shows us the way. If only we can get our hearts right so that we can follow. No says I want to grow up and be a racist (well, with a few psychopathic exceptions). But we do. It’s hard loving people who are different. But as followers of Jesus, we need to follow him there, too.

Living In A Land of Paradox

February 3, 2016

The American Deep South is a fascinating place. Known as the “Bible Belt” for the prevalence of fundamentalist Evangelicals, it also has a violent history from the mid-20th Century and the Civil Rights movement.

I went to grad school at Louisiana State receiving an introduction to the South.

We drove to Florida last week. I noticed once again that Georgia is the land of billboards. That state may have more billboards per mile of Interstate highway than any other. If you take away the billboards advertising restaurants and hotels, you are left with two types of advertising.

Porn shops / strippers and Bible quotes.

Not that we don’t have porn shops in Ohio. I used to work out of a building beside one. But there just isn’t that amount of advertising. It’s as if we’re still a little ashamed to be appealing to the base lusts of men. (And sex trafficking is rampant in Ohio along with all the states. People just aren’t aware of it.)

Bible verses are good, of course. The thing I notice is that they seem to scream at you accusingly. Of course, all of us need to be accused for our thoughts and deeds that are not in keeping with the faith.

It’s just the paradox that gets me.

Do those Bible verses do any good?

What does it take to change someone’s direction? They were going off the exit toward a porn shop and suddenly decided to stop at the church next door. Why?

When you meet someone and the subject gets personal, can you get away with just quoting a Bible verse?

Probably not. It takes a deeper, longer conversation. Perhaps over a cup (or pot) of coffee. It takes time. Listening. Then you could pull out a passage and show how it applies directly to life.

You gotta show you care. A quick verse or an accusation won’t do anyone any good.