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Paul Nicholson
Nashvegas TN
Digital Marketing Manager at HealthTrust. Social media junkie, strategist, and app idea guy. Hockey fan, photographer, and father to 2 awesome boys.

(Opinions expressed here are not those of my employer. Heck, they might not even be mine.)
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Thursday, June 28, 2007

real deep thoughts

I recently decided to change my blog title. It used to be "sthguoht peed", and someone suggested "Deep Thoughts" as an alternative. Aside from not liking the implied SNL reference, i didn't think my blog had really lived up to the standard.

This latest post from my sister does.
Go read it.

Really great post Amy. You're dead on. Even with all this stuff back and forth with different people about hockey in Nashville - such a shallow topic - it amazes me how quickly people can get thrown into mad bouts of insults. Conversations that should be civil and general get really personal and vicious.

I am reminded of a thought in Rob Bell's book Velvet Elvis (which i just started reading). I certainly don't agree with everything i've read so far, and i haven't even gotten half-way through. But early in the book he discusses people with intensely fixed, immovable, inflexible beliefs that they fell can not be challenged without risking the loss of their whole belief system.

He describes a letter he had received from such a man at a seminary asking for support and trying to recruit badly needed "defenders of the faith". He said he realized that so many Christians (and people in general i think - pick your topic) get so caught up in talking about how right their fixed ideas are, which of course after a while leads to talking about how wrong everyone else is, which then leads to defending their own belief system and a vicious cycle is started. He provides the alternative that, rather than attack and defend, why not focus on your living life the way you feel it should be lived, and occasionally ask people to join you? I think the idea is that 1) no one idea should be that important to your existance and 2) if you have a good thing, you shouldn't have to attack/defended others to get them to see that. Twelve steps groups have a similar theory. They never actively promote themselves because they believe in attracting other people who want what they have, and when someone is ready to accept it, they will come on their own.

How rare is that kind of thinking though? There are whole industries - and political systems - based around the idea of one set of people being right and everyone else being wrong and the arguments that ensue.

This is one of the things i really like about the 'old' Everlast song "What It's Like" (video, lyrics warning: mature language)(i know nothing of the artist other than this one hit wonder) It's a very impactful song about people on the other side of hot issues. Homelessness, abortion, drugs...they are all very personal issues that we have a tendency to turn into blanket, altruistic ISSUES.

But particularly these types of situations are really never that simple. But it is so easy to look at someone from a distance and assume they are an issue. Ask a homeless person how he became homeless. The answer will not be simple. But it is so easy to look at a panhandler and assume he is a lazy bum that chooses to drink liquor instead of do something better (i know - i've done it). But it is never that simple. Same with any abortion. I have never heard of anyone that liked abortion, never talked to a woman that went through it that said "that was great, you should all try it". But so many times there are people who believe abortion should be illegal who have no compassion for people in those situations. The are unable or unwilling to look at the person and realize that they are not just an ISSUE. Now ability to show the person compassion and save the argument another day.

The amazing to watch people cross the line, too. People so fixated on an ISSUES that when someone they know as a friend crosses the line, they are shunned. Rarely are they embraced as imperfect, wounded humans. They are now one of "them".

Like Amy said. People are not ideas. We should react to the people and the circumstances, not the ideas and ideals that we may prize or hate.

If my idea is that great, people will follow. But i'm ok even if they don't. It doesn't lessen my belief or happiness. Not if i don't let it.

1 comment:

Amy Nicholson said...

I also believe that we should always test our ideas against the person/world that would create if we all acted upon it. Thanks for the link.