Tuesday, February 7, 2012

I call people on their stuff

I call people on their sh*t.  Yep, I don't pussyfoot around.  You know exactly where you stand with me.  When I see stupid, I hand them their sign.  I've been told by some people, I'm not nice.  I don't really know what "nice" is, I guess.  If nice is always agreeing with every un-thought-through idea someone utters.  I'm not nice.

Last night, I was reminded, by a member of my small group bible study, that I tell people what I think.  (our study is on ethics.  it's Chuck Colson's study called Doing the Right Thing)  Let me tell you, this is ground littered with landmines for a person like me.  We were discussing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s Letter from Birmingham Jail and the decision by Dr. King to participate in civil disobedience although he had great respect for the law.  We talked about the difference between Dr. King's response to, what he believed were, unjust laws of segregation and the current Occupy protest regarding the economic situation our county and the EU find themselves.  In order for civil disobedience to work Dr. King adhered to three main principles.  Dr. King was open and transparent about his reasons for disobeying the law of the land, he encouraged the demonstrators to remain non-violent and reminded them they would have to be willing to accept the consequences of their actions.  This non-violence and the horror of the repercussions to the demonstrations were the very things that broke through the walls of segregation in the 1960's.  I think the Occupy protesters do not have the focus we saw in the civil rights movement.  I don't think the occupiers are willing to suffer the consequences of their actions.  I think many of the protesters are unsure of their purpose.  I think the decision to remain non-violent is more difficult than most of the protesters have the capacity to achieve.  This is the condensed version of our discussion last night.
I love this kind of discussion.  I love to look at a difficult issue from all sides and figure out what I think about it.  I love listening to what other people think about issues, and why they think the way they do.  It's fascinating to me.  So, what's my problem?   After the discussion I was reminded, by a fellow group member, that nobody need ever wonder where I stand on an issue.  Ouch.  He said this in a laughing manner, but it stung a bit.  It's true, I'm very opinionated.  However, I don't share my opinions with everyone I meet.  We are in a group discussion.  Right?  Isn't this the place to share opinions and argue them?  Isn't this the place to set personalities aside and find out what we believe and why?  This is what I thought it was supposed to be.  Maybe I'm taking an off-hand comment a bit more to heart than I ought. 

I'm dissecting my actions and statements from last night's dialogue.  I know part of what I would like to accomplish in this group is to make friends with the other members.  I want to be nice.  One thing I've noticed about myself is my ability (or disability) to listen to what people say.  I'm much better at hearing and understanding the words being spoken than I am at reading the unspoken body language and tone in what is being said.  Because of this, I notice when people begin to backtrack and contradict themselves when they are trying to make a point.  I know it is not always necessary to bring this to the speaker's attention, yet, if I feel I must, I try to do it with kindness.  Also, I make every effort to present difficult points with self deprecating humor.  Seriously, it is one thing to say you know the right thing to do and another thing, completely, to say you always DO the right thing.

I think I'm making progress in relating to other people and cultivating friendships.  I certainly don't want a replay of the church lady group.  And, I'm smart enough to know, if it happens again, shame on me.

Please enjoy Bill Engvall.  He cracks me up.


  1. Letter from Birmingham Jail: the perfect argument. I used to teach argument and rhetoric. Reading this post, I would ask: generally speaking, are you trying to be heard, or are you trying to persuade? Because my tone tends to differ based upon how I answer that question.

  2.  I have difficulty hearing my tone.  I'm going to have to ask.  Thanks.

  3. smiles...learning to see things from others perspective is def a skill that takes developing...its ok to have opinions...as much as it is to change to them...

  4. The bottom line is you want to feel acceptance for who you are,
    strengths and weaknesses just as God accepts you. Duh he made us!
    People aren't like that however. We are competitive, nit-pickers, and
    fault finders. Sometimes the comical condescending digs with the
    smiles hurt more than the actual coming out and saying, you're too
    opinionated digs. Knowing who we are in Christ helps us to not let
    those digs get to us but sometimes they just do!

  5. I too have an opinion but have learned that at times I don't need to try to convince others that I know what is right.  Sometimes I just keep my mouth shut and listen.  I'm glad that you are strong.  

  6. Being opinionated runs in my family. Can you imagine growing up with everyone in the house being opinionated! It was crazy! ha! Then I married my husband and now I'm the only opinionated in my house. Actually no, my youngest is very opinionated.

  7.  Amber, Yes.  This is what I want.  I need to be able to accept myself and not worry about what others think.  As long as I am kind in my delivery.

  8. I am very opinionated myself! I have to make sure my tone doesn't sound condescending or manipulative (because really, I know that me thinking one way is not going to convince someone to think another). But I Think being opinionated is good! And you can be respectful and kind and opinionated without placating someone IMO.


Comments from my readers bring sunshine to my day. They make me so happy.