Archive for the ‘Thinking Tools’ Category

I’m assuming you heard that Sony Pictures’ computers were hacked, and their contents strewn all over the internet. A lot of people have been ashamed by things they said in emails and other documents. Some have even made public apologies.

A portion of their inner lives was exposed, and it didn’t match who they told themselves they were, or who they wanted us to think they were.

Imagine a hack that exposed everything about every one of us, including our spoken words and even our thoughts. How would that change things?

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It’s the morning after the Newtown, CT school shooting, and I’ve just been on Facebook. People are “talking” about firearms.

I’m not going to share my own views on the Second Amendment, gun control, and other possible enablers of such horrors. Then you could put me in a category, and feel a little more, and think a little less.

No, what I want to talk about is how we talk about things. The day before yesterday, it was about the fiscal cliff and “Freeloaders!” and “Greedy (Straight White Male) Rich People!” (Did your pulse just change?) Give it a week, and it will probably be about a decorated conifer on public property.

Today it’s firearms. We all have a point, often a valid one. But when we talk about it, so many of us attack the intelligence, character, and even humanity of those who disagree.

And then, what amazes me most, we’re then “shocked…SHOCKED” that the other side won’t “engage in dialogue” or “have a meaningful conversation.” We stir up emotion with our words, and then wonder why “they’re” acting like cornered bears. Or, we don’t even wonder any more. It just reinforces what we already think about The Other Side.

Jesus says that the root of murder is in the heart. Continued anger and insults are warning signs. If you take the name of Jesus’ follower and then cultivate these attitudes and words, consider this, from Matthew 5:21-22, Amplified Bible.

You have heard that it was said to the men of old, You shall not kill, and whoever kills shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court.

But I say to you that everyone who continues to be angry with his brother or harbors malice (enmity of heart) against him shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the court; and whoever speaks contemptuously and insultingly to his brother shall be liable to and unable to escape the punishment imposed by the Sanhedrin, and whoever says, You cursed fool! [You empty-headed idiot!] shall be liable to and unable to escape the hell (Gehenna) of fire.

If you don’t give a rip about Jesus, pay attention to the latest brain science. Read “Crucial Conversations” and learn about what anger and insults do to dialogue.

For your own sake, please.

For the sake of my self-destroying country (taking our kids’ future on this earth and maybe ours too down with it), please. The heat from your words is causing the wax to melt even faster.

Groups and Love

Posted: 2012/11/19 in Thinking Tools

They’re at it again.

The Palestinians in Gaza did something. The Israelis did something back. A couple of weeks ago, we Americans were arguing about what the government ought to do, and what the corporations have done.

Legally, these words make sense. Governments enter into treaties, and corporations have free speech rights.

But we start down a slippery slope when we say things like, “The Israelis are oppressors” or “The Palestinians are terrorists.” (more…)

Today a person said a deeply hurtful thing to me.

I have an explanation for it. They’ve spent a lot of time in the last two weeks in large crowds, marinating in sometimes inflammatory sights and sounds, and they misunderstood a statement I made.

I also called their words inexcusable. This is not a contradiction.

An explanation builds understanding. I long for explanations of why a person believes the way they do, feels the way they do, acts the way they do, and speaks the way they do.

An excuse evades responsibility. If I’m walking in the path of love, I’ll forgive—maybe not right away—but I’ll do it. An explanation is helpful, but not necessary. As for an excuse, I’ll just add it to the offense that I intend to forgive.

Just to keep things in perspective, I don’t have real enemies, compared to some of you. So if your reaction to my definition of love, “whether they deserve it or not,” is “Yeah, right!” I don’t blame you.

Here’s a short list of who I find hard to love:

  • Competitive, Type-A (I know what “A” stands for and it’s not “Assertive”) bully jerks
  • The greedy, short-sighted people who stole my future, at least in this life
  • Liars—the kind who can look me straight in the eye and lie to me
  • People who abuse people—especially women and children—and who abuse animals

I could go on, but it’s not healthy. And I could name names, but that’s both libelous and potentially unsafe (and therefore not loving). But if I never name names, under any circumstances, that makes me a coward and therefore not deserving of love myself.

Now, you might say, “People like that are despicable. They don’t deserve love, they deserve justice.” You’re right. (more…)