Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Judge Judy is Sad

As much as I dislike Facebook at times, it is an interesting way to view the social temperature of your current society. It reads as a social commentary that reveals the good and bad and everything in between. This morning was no exception, revealing people’s hearts through their words, an interesting exposure. The following is an exchange of responses to someone’s initial status update. Judge Judy, the celebrity day-time TV judge, isn’t truly my friend and not the author of this status, but I typically refer to overtly judgmental folks as Judge Judy. Makes me laugh and I suppose that’s enough…


Me: Wow, harsh much?


Me: I don't think teen pregnancy is wise, however, I also don't think anyone should think their morality is superior, typically leads to destructive lifestyles.

Another person: Oh my…I with you Adam…so rare to find that pov!

This still has me a bit shaky. That’s not some obscure figurative language either. Literally, my hands are shaking because this exchange bothered me so much, at a level that cuts my soul. There are some interesting details that I feel are necessary to mention to better illustrate the tension of this exchange. “Judge Judy” is a homosexual male. Typically I would never say anything about sexual preference because I think it is an unnecessary detail to mention, much like eye color, but in this case I mention it because it makes his statements somewhat hypocritical. The homosexual population has long cried about injustices, some rightfully so, and how the world and the cruel heterosexuals are so judgmental. A plight I can understand and agree with at times. I’ve never been a huge fan of the cross-bearing, wrathful, jugular vein-extended yelling religious guy standing in strong opposition and making harsh judgments on homosexuals. I have a friend that is homosexual and one of the coolest and nicest people I’ve met before and I’ve seen, heard, and felt his pain as he has had to read about and even deal with bigots like this. All these details are important to me because they create this uncomfortable tension in this situation. It is pretty realistic to anticipate “Judge Judy” has encountered such injustices before, morally pious bigots who lash out in self-righteous rants.

What upset him so much was that teen mom’s were being celebrated on TV rather than having scarlet letters burned to their chests. Seems awfully harsh doesn’t it? Not sure how, but something in that wrinkly mess of muscle in his head led him to elevate his morality above others. He sees teen pregnancy as such an offense that it warrants public humiliation and cruelty. I see this capricious attitude as alarming and hypocritical because you would think he, especially, would be one to sympathize with the idea of not judging and being seen by some as immoral. Not saying I do, because I really don’t care about people’s sexual preference/orientation.

As I said in my response to him, I don't think teen pregnancy is wise, however, I also don't think anyone should think their morality is superior, typically leads to destructive lifestyles. Much like cooking, creating a reduction sauce, after everything has been combined and reduced down you get the product. In this case, the quintessential ideology is judgment. I’m not sure why I keep returning to read a particular newspaper in my city, but I do, and they are one of the most liberal papers I’ve ever read, so, naturally many articles are about protests and marches and other forms of people judging. Judging doesn’t work from the top down either. By the top down I mean that the majority judging the minority is not always the case. The minority more often judges and criticizes the majority. Equality or a level playing field is not the true desire of anyone judging, it is conformity. Most seek to simply conform others to their form of morality, one that they view as superior to others. More often than not I find it ground breaking and difficult to read into and live out what Jesus was about and taught. Jesus said not to judge. I don’t think Jesus was the type of guy just to makes rules up either, he actually disliked rules.

I think that understanding the ideas of Jesus’ teachings isn’t complex. The complications and difficulties begin when you attempt to apply them to your life. Jesus knew that and I think that’s why he told us not to judge. I have a very hard time not being a very judgmental and critical person, actually it is what I do best if not watched closely. I, and others, noticed that when I allowed myself to judge others I became this little ball of destruction, very unhappy, and discontent. I allowed the little things in life to bother me so much that what I thought I was putting myself above (by judging) actually was controlling me. Every little thing would set me off, jerks cutting me off in traffic, dumb employees, incompetent servers, etc. I found myself living an awfully angry life and didn’t like what I saw in the mirror, the person I had become. I had a meeting with a friend who very kindly told me that I was good at criticizing others and that made me not a fun person to be around. I took this critique pretty seriously and did a lot of, and still do a lot of, soul searching. I decided to try not to judge. Truly, my life has been transformed and freed up. I feel much more liberated without the burden of being the judge. By learning to accept things and not allowing my ideas of what is right and wrong, my morality, to become superior I have noticed I am a much nicer person. I think that living into this beautiful freedom is what Jesus had in mind when he warned to not judge.

Food for thought for sure. When you think something I’d invite you to consider the other angel. I’d also invite you to question yourself and whether you are deciding superiority over others in your ideology or morality. I hope you find the freedom that I have found when I decide to not judge. It’s a daily battle, but so worth it.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Talkie Talkie

Dialect inconsistencies beckon authenticity with a familiar stranger. Brown eyes look into mine as we stare at each other, thinking of what to say and how to respond. The reflection I see in the mirror demands genuineness and an explanation of idiom conflictions. The divergence of my tongue beckons analysis to resolve why irregularity exists at all. What are these contrary words I observe? Do these words translate into actions or lifestyle?

I received a text message several days ago. As I reviewed my own words I was struck with the reality that they were spoken in a much different dialect than I would normally respond.

Text received:

“Good to see you this a.m. How’s marriage?”

My response:
“…marriage is amazing, truly a God thing I’m getting to enjoy…”

There is nothing in itself inerrant in my response. There is no evil in attributing my wonderful wife as a gift from God. This was a friend from the church community I would call myself a part of. I wonder if this were an atheist friend of mine would I respond the same. This quandary led me to think about the language I observe daily and within certain environments. Again, this I not villainizing (an awesome made up word meaning to attribute bad qualities to something) giving God credit for providing me an awesome wife, this is focused more on the consistency in which I would say something like this and what that implies.

This thought makes me also think of what my life looks like as far as outwardly appearances. I go to a church community gathering on Sunday mornings. I attend a gathering of a church community on Thursday night as well. I know it’s odd that I refuse to call these gatherings church, but there is a lot of theology behind the non-use of familiar terminology. I find it odd and awkward that people ask if you went to church or say things like you need to go to church because of what the word church actually means. If you were to go back in time several thousand years and ask the early disciples of Jesus these type of question I think there would be a lot of face scowling, tongues coming out of mouths, and eyes rolling the upper right hand corner of heads. I think there would be a physical look of confusion of the faces of recipients of this question. Church is a description of a community, almost more of an adjective than a noun. Church is a community of people living in a way, like they actually believe Jesus way is actually life and living into it changes things. The organizational aspect of what the community requires and needs is unfortunately what it has come to be known for, instead of an organic community. It is necessary to organize and some of the things the organization provides at its capacity, but that does not mean it defines what church is. Ok, time to evacuate my position on that soap box; getting back to the idea of outwardly appearances being questioned as well as inconsistent language.

I suppose all this reduced down to me asking if the church organization and all that comes with it did not exist and I were to go mute would people be able to tell I actually was one who believes in God and is trying to follow Jesus example as the most abundant type of life available and what we were meant to be? If I didn’t have stories to tell about church or small group and couldn’t say I’m blessed by God and such and such would my lifestyle be enough to show others that I was a Christian. Would people even care if they did not have this religious culture and language to gauge others by? If there were no moral code, no theology or right and wrong would I do right?

I would like to say I would and that my life would be a reflection of my spirituality. It has been challenging for me to consider this though. My words and religious affiliation seem to validate my spirituality, it lets others, and myself at some point, know where I stand. What if those validating variables were taken away, were missing from the equation of life? My reflection cannot smile back immediately because I’m left thinking, contemplating whether or not I could stand alone, if my faith were good enough to just live and not have to say or show it (in a religious way, like church activities). The old sage had great parables, one of which parallels man and trees, lifestyles and fruit. The saying goes that a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit, a good tree cannot bear bad fruit and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Pretty simple to follow right? I suppose I just wonder if a good tree is good if it doesn’t say it is? Isn’t the evidence the fruit, what it bears? Should the same be true of man? No religious affiliation or language should or can identify what you are, it should be what you bear, your fruit, your lifestyle. It’s kept me thinking and humbled all day to think about it, what if there were no Christian-talk or church-world to validate identity, would it be enough to trust one’s lifestyle?