Posted in writing

When you Assume… you make an ASS out of U & ME

holier than thou cartoon
©Elmer Parolini, image from cartoonstock.com

This isn’t the post I was going to write today, but a thought-provoking interaction online has me starting with that title. It’s a title that would be objectionable to the person to whose comment I’m responding–but I should back up and share the scenario first.

A friendly fellow blogger re-blogged yesterday’s post about building a blogging community. (Normally I would share a link, but given the nature of the following reflections, I don’t want to cause embarrassment for anyone. The re-blogging friend unfairly got caught in the middle here…)

One of her readers then wrote this comment as a response to the post (names redacted, bolding my own):

Hi [XXX], well your a year older and wiser as they say, thanks for the tips but I don’t appreciate some of the langue used in this woman’s post but then she is not a Christian and they do at times express themselves coarsely my family are the same I tolerate it but I don’t like it or agree with it and they know and have toned down at least when I’m with them.

Take Care – Christian Love from both of us – [XXX]

I confess that my initial response to this was about two-parts-laughter to one-part-hot-ears. I went straightaway to re-read my own post, looking for the objectionable language.  I DO use coarse language, but in this particular post I even substituted “baloney” for its coarser variation, saying I’d save my swear words for when I needed them…

I conclude that the offending phrase was the link to an earlier post titled “Confessions of a Statistics Slut.”  Oh, and I also used the word “profligacy”–so perhaps the mention of profligate behavior (in this case, my tendency to check my blog statistics) might be objectionable as well. Did I miss anything?

teal purse with cross
Hmm, what should I do with this now that I’ve been told I’m not Christian? OK–clearly “sarcasm” isn’t Pastor Kana’s best color…

I have a problem here. I tend to get really judgmental about people who get judgmental. I’m goaded by the assumption (“she’s not a Christian”)–and even more so by the contemptuous dissociation from “them.”

As it happens, I am Christian–an aspiring follower of Yeshua’s teachings (though not necessarily the teachings of all the churches which also bear that label). As it happens, in fact, I’m an ordained minister. But if I were inclined to apologize for my use of the word “slut,” my apology wouldn’t be to those of you who were subjected to the term, but to those of my acquaintance who have been subjected to the profession–for my casual and light-hearted use of the word.

That’s right–I know (and love) some prostitutes. And some drug dealers, some gang members, even some hit men.  Most are no longer engaging in those former professions, some are working to get out of them, a few have gone back…  And I’m blessed with opportunities to minister. Not TO them, but AMONG them–because I’m one of “them” too. With a less colorful past than some, but I’m an alcoholic/addict, I’ve seen the inside of a jail cell (though these days the clergy collar gets me back out again), and oh yes–I express myself coarsely at times.  Did I mention that I know (and love) some human beings?

I can think of someone else who advocated ministry among sinners. Ironically enough, its HIS name which this person uses to label herself as superior to those of us who are… coarser.

for rent sign
NOT!

In some respects, this is an interesting extension of yesterday’s topic. In the blogging community, not everybody likes what other people write–or  even likes the other people themselves.  She thinks I’m naughty; I think she’s a prat. She objects to the coarseness of my language; I object to the grammar of hers. (Now I’M being the prat!)

But unlike some other arenas of life, we each have the opportunity NOT to read one another’s blogs. I will probably avail myself of that opportunity–and no doubt she intends to spare herself any additional exposure to my objectionable self. Problem solved! This is the point where my Sponsor reminds me not to “let someone else rent space in my head.”

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I am... a writer, an explorer, a coffee-drinker, a recovering addict, a barefoot linguist, a book-dragon ("bookworm" doesn't cover it), a raconteur, a sailboat skipper, a research diver, a tattooed scholar, a pirate, a poet, a spiritual adventurer, a photographer, a few kinds-of-crazy, a joyful wife, a mom... a list-maker! :)

63 thoughts on “When you Assume… you make an ASS out of U & ME

  1. VERY well said. I think the original comment was extraordinarily judgemental and self righteous, not to mention presumptuous. I know we are all on our paths and all at different stages of our spiritual development, but attitudes such as this really bring out the worst in me. And I guess that is my lesson to learn in all of this. But I am very glad you blogged this (and the original blog as well). thanks so much. xxoo

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  2. Well, Jesus commanded us to love one another. I don’t recall any “except for” in any of the Gospels. Besides…he hung out with some pretty seedy characters too. Fishermen, tax-collectors….prostitutes…

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  3. Even the Pharisees meant well, but went awry. They hadn’t gotten “it” yet. I must remind myself frequently to be patient, especially with a child with special needs to those who judge and may never “get it.” But they will, in due time, as life takes its course. Take no offense, Mrs. Kana… God will teach, as He has taught us. To each a measure!

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    1. Sorry — weren’t the Pharisees the strict followers of Jewish rules, who ended up taking Jesus in Gethsemane and turning him over to Pilate? Even the Pharisees meant well, but went awry — we certainly read that story differently.

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  4. I guess that will teach me to be behind in emails…
    I will catch up eventualy as i walk bass-akwards through emails..
    this one was interesting, direct with no looking down i thought
    but then I am one she probably would have a problem with

    Thanks for always a great read..I enjoy wandering through here…
    Take Care….
    )0(
    ladybluerose

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  5. Why are those that don’t like what we are saying bothering to read it in the first place and then they complain – hello they chose to read something they find offensive – who’s the fool?

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  6. Wow. Kana, I love you and your coarseness (is that even a word?). Folks like that aren’t worth the fuck you don’t give about them. ;)

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  7. I learned a long time ago that I can’t apologize for someone else. As a Christ follower, that type of action ticks me off and makes me realize why so many people don’t want to have anything to do with Christ.

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  8. Hi Kana

    I love you just the way you are! You are an inspiration. As for the blog topic – for me, words are just words – nothing more.

    Take care
    Lorraine !

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    1. of course… I find myself examining MYSELF in this. I’ve adopted a dangerously self-righteous attitude toward HER now. Being human ain’t easy, is it?

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      1. Yes. He told the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector. The self-righteousness I was referring to was that of the blogger who was so offended by Kana’s word choice, not Kana’s. I think Kana was well within her right to defend herself, and I actually don’t think she was being self-righteous at all. While I too struggle with judging judgmental people, I think when the judgement is directed toward you personally, a little indignation is warranted. Jesus may have told us to turn the other cheek, but he was also quick to point out hypocracy. He wasn’t a placid Buddhist monk–he was passionate and had no problem knocking people down off the pedestals they like to prop themselves up on. I think Kana’s post reflects that spirit appropriately. I don’t understand people who call themselves Christians and then spend all their time looking down on others. Catholicism gets such a bad rap for that, but I hear the same message in Catholic church week after week–love your neighbor, be compassionate, reserve judgement for God, look at the flaws in yourself before you go searching for them in others, and go out into the world and spread the light and love of Christ. This is the message I hear in church week after week, so I don’t understand where people pick up this other message that being a Christian means you have the right to spend your time nit-picking and judging others. (not that I’m judging them–I’m just saying I don’t understand them! Lol). In any case, I think Kana was completely justified in pointing out the other blogger’s hypocracy.

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        1. Thanks for your thoughts — I agree completely with the judgmental nature of Christian Churches, even against, (often against,) other Christian Churches, or Christians in general, or human beings in general. I am a former pastor, and I once got up and preached about Pharisees when the entire district committee was there to hear me. I identified them as such. They were not happy, and so I am a former pastor instead of an active one. I get so annoyed by people who have the gall to think that the box their God comes from is the only box that fits — God is so much bigger than all the boxes in the world.

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          1. Well said, Judith. God can’t be contained in a box, or in any single church. I do consider myself an “active pastor,” though I’m not working in any brick-and-mortar church with “Pharisees” or district committees… Ministering happens out in the REAL world. And I’m blessed to be the RECIPIENT of ministering by the world-wise alcoholics And human beings around me as well… God works through his Drunks every day. ;)

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  9. You nailed my worst sin right on the head. I judge judgmental people. It’s the knee-jerkiest reaction I have. I’m trying to cultivate a sense of curiosity about folks like that instead of labeling them as “other.” Only marginally successful so far.

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  10. Can I get an AMEN!! This was a perfect response and thank you so much! And if there was a like button beside each one of the responses up there, I would thank each and everyone of you. We are human and we are not perfect, thank you God for that. It’s all of my imperfections that make me who I am today. ~Franny

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  11. Oh, Man! This gets me going again. If I had a better memory I would know what had me in a spin last week about “Christian” principles. I think it was one of the gay discussions. Pullleeze! It gives Christianity a bad name. When I hear people spouting I always wonder why they are skipping the parts about “Judge not, that ye be not judged” and “Let he who is without sin….” Oh well. I’m sure that I am pretty selective about what I believe, too. But the older I get, the more I try to let everyone else believe what they want to believe even though I may not be able to embrace the same concepts.

    Sorry, I guess I went off a bit on this. I haven’t read the other comments so I’m probably just being repetitive.

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  12. Aaahhh Kana…you have touched upon one of my life’s challenges, to not judge the judger–especially the Christian judger! Something I say quite often is, “I am prejudice against people who are prejudice.” Which doesn’t make much sense on a practical level.

    I am grateful we serve Yeshua Ben Yosef and not man. :) P.s. Feel free to check out the unique place the Lord has us (my family and I): http://www.hotrodchurch.com

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  13. P.s. I just read your earlier comment on judging and tolerance. Looks like we are on the same level with this one. Perhaps I’ll consider reading the comments before posting one…no promises though. haha

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  14. No need to add to the conversation – it’s all been said – you said it all – but it makes me cry – such unnecessary judgemental assumptions, and other separatist silliness – so I have to add my prayer for love … and a dose of b….y good manners in our Blogosphere, please:)

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  15. Well put Kana. It IS hard not to judge. You have so many people who love your messages, what is it about human nature that we tend to focus on one negative little thing when all around us every one else is positive. ;)

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  16. Hi, Kana — I have responded, perhaps a little hastily, to some of the comments above. Nevertheless, I stand by what I’ve said, and I stand for you and for every writer who has ever been squashed under the thumb of Christianity’s “most ardent followers,” if you know what I mean.

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    1. I do. It’s a sad thing how many of us who identify ourselves as “Christian” find ourselves cringing at other people’s use of that same label to bludgeon the people around them… It’s too often MISused. But I’m guessing God will manage to sort us all out eventually. ;)

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  17. We all judge, in some way, every day of our lives, yet God loves us anyway. That said, grammar is an express elavator to hell. It’s up to us to determine if we are going up or down.

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  18. Fab blog. It’s a shame that people are like that, but this is where we have to turn the other cheek. I’ve always told my daughter that if anyone is rotten/rude/mean/bullyish to you, it’s normally because something is wrong in their own life and they are just projecting onto you. I stand by this as life has shown me that it’s nearly always the case. It also allows us to feel differently about their comments too; pity for them instead of hurt for ourselves.
    Oh and by the way, I don’t believe in a God of any description, but I’m a lovely person who behaves in a more ‘Christian’ manner than some who shout about their religions. Pass this on to her and let her have a go at me :-) lol

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  19. It drives me nuts when people use the label “Christian” to indicate that they are better than everyone else — a distinctly un-Christian attitude. So many people have said it better above, and I totally agree. I will never forget the neighbor that introduced herself and indicated that her daughter would like to babysit for us, when the boy were toddlers. She felt the need to throw in,
    “and we’re Christians”. I felt like saying, “Hmmmm, wasn’t really worried about your daughter using the kids in a satanic ritual, but I WOULD like to know if she knows CPR, thanks!”

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    1. Laughing out loud! :) I suppose my take on this is that if I have to TELL people “I’m a Christian,” I should be examining my BEHAVIORS that make the “announcement” necessary… When it comes right down to it, the label isn’t the important thing about me. My choices are. Am I being the kind of person God wants me to be? Ideally, my actions in the world should make that “announcement” entirely unnecessary.

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      1. Reading through these comments, I was going to add, as you just did, that it is labels that get us into trouble. People can’t be packaged into neat little categories. We are much too complex for that. I say forego the labels and notice the actions….and the key word is actions, not re-actions. Could never understand people who thought they were different from me, when we all came from the same place and are all going back to the same place (in my humble opinion). But I love your spark, that’s what will get you through the tough times. Keep on laughing, that’s all you can do.

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  20. great post! there are times i swear like a drunken sailor but God is not finished with me yet. being human, i can justify anything so i always equate my behavior to Saint Peter’s before the Lord cracked him over the head with the Holy Spirit. Saint Peter was a loud-mouth too and even uttered a few choice words while standing in Pilate’s garden.

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  21. I appreciate your struggle with a significant irony – how we judge the judgmental. It is a huge challenge for any one of us who seeks to live by grace, knowing that we are recipients of it and at the same time are given the opportunity to share it with other human beings, whatever their weaknesses and failings.

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  22. I LOVE the “do not allow other people to rent space in your head” that’s so true.. Ah oh well. To each their own. We can’t please everyone. Great post

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  23. Oh, dear sister-in-the-Lord Kana, you have a huge reason to be rejoicing right now: you do NOT live in a small Southern town where “holier-than-thou” is equated with “barely respectable”. I have been trained in street ministry, especially among abandoned victims of domestic violence. I walk around to commute to work sites (I free lance PR and computer consulting work) and to perform personal errands. I talk to all KINDS of people and have been offered rides “back to the group home” on more than one occasion. And did I mention I am a direct descendant of William Byrd, of colonial Virginia literary fame and gentry listings of that time? I am SO with you about prison ministries and feeding His sheep and going after the 1 lost sheep,etc. The first place I ever played the piano for an entire worship service was in the state penitentiary chapel where my grandfather was a corrections officer and Bible teacher, with my grandmother leading the singing! To quote one of my two favorite Southern authors of the 20th Century,Flannery O’Connor: “Southerners value propriety above religion.” Nuff said. (My other favorite author is William Faulkner.)

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  24. Hi Kana,
    Thank you for stopping by my post. “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” Proverbs 4:23 I believe from reading your words you are a woman with a heart for God. Blessings to you.
    Joy

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  25. Better late than never……….I just happened across this blog today doing a review for my dad’s book and found this post. If my father were still alive today he would be the one thanking you for using his cartoon for the better good. Elmer Parolini was the least judgemental person I have ever known. The phrase “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all”…., that was most certainly Mr. Parolini! This “thank you” comes from a daughter who is grateful to see her dad still being a beacon to this world.

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