5 Meaningless Observations about life in America…and 1 more serious one
Our return to the US always brings with it a few surprises…here are my top 5 frivolous ones…and one not so frivolous…
1. How can Walmart possibly already have 2 aisles dedicated to Christmas right beside the aisles for Halloween and its was only October 1st?
2. How much more money can my Medical Insurance company waste by sending me multiple documents that are the wrong documents time and time again? I see a potential cost savings mechanism in their future…
3. How many hotdogs is it unsafe for you and your daughter to consume during a home assignment? (asking for a friend)
4. Bureaucracy is bureaucracy no matter what continent it happens to be on.
5. How many new flavors of potato chips can they invent? Buffalo Wing…Everything Bagel… Lime…Loaded Potato…and today Maple Bacon? Although the Canadian influence in me welcomes All Dressed and Dill Pickle flavors 🙂
And now for this more serious observation.
The culture of incivility that is growing is alarming to me.
Keep in mind that we’ve been gone for awhile. Perhaps my absence from the US for an extended period of time even disqualifies me from making the observation. However, it seems to me like there used to be a time when we were quicker to believe the best about one another, give the benefit of the doubt and to choose to disagree without attacking the other person’s character.
But, coming back this time, it seems like so many are quick to brand someone else the enemy, call each other names and then broadcast those differences in the public forum of social media. We seem to have become very quick to post and slow to listen…and among Jesus followers it appears to me to be exaggerated all the more.
While we used to try to hash out differences over lunch in relationship with each other (and then leave those differences at the table), it seems that now we try to ineffectively hash out those differences in the public social media forum with others chiming in to add fuel to the fire.
As I was preparing this post this morning, I was reminded of a passage from Zephaniah 3:16 – 17. I wonder if there might be something here about how to combat this incivility. Rather than saying, “Yeah, but they were uncivil towards me first”…what if we reflected on this verse?
“Do not fear, Zion; do not let your hands hang limp. The Lord your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.”
There are two ways that I believe this passage turns us.
First, it turns our attention to God. We do not need to prove ourselves nor do we see ourselves as victimized and lost in shame. Rather, we catch a glimpse of our Heavenly Father taking great delight in us…singing over us. Rather than a need to prove my worth and rightness…I see the one who has already settled it.
Secondly, it turns us outward. When we read this verse in its communal setting we see that those around us are also those that God is with. He is taking great delight in them…and He is rejoicing over them with singing, too.
So, while we might passionately disagree, that does not mean that others are the enemy. As we catch a glimpse of the delight of God expressed in ourselves and those around us, perhaps we can continue to disagree, but while believing God’s best about one another.