Shake the dust off your feet

Speak what you believe to be true in an assertive, humble, well-differentiated/non-anxious tone. If the words are not appreciated, move on to the next opportunity.

We are living in troublesome times in which friends and family, and certainly professional colleagues may have diametrically opposed viewpoints on the major issues of the day. This is gut-wrenching stuff because most of us would like to find peace and shared meaning with the people we know and love. Alas, this may not be possible. We may need to decide if we wish to speak with differentiation or seek conformity. In the era of political correctness, (idea fascism) the stakes are even higher and the challenges greater. The political left, especially can be ideologically recalcitrant to the point of hostility to anyone that disagrees with them. They fight dirty, they lie, and they fight to win. The ends justifies the means for many of them.

As my readers probably know by now, I identify as a Deist or Conservative Unitarian. At the same time I consider myself a Cultural Christian, deeply impacted by my Catholic upbringing in a positive way. Christian ethics are a powerful influence in my life and that will never change. Thus, I find wisdom in Scripture, and moral assurance from people who attempt to live a Christian life. Correspondingly, I find wisdom in other religious traditions like Buddhism, Hinduism, and Native American Mysticism, as well as communitarian secular humanism. Truth finds its vessel.

This is one of my favorite passages from the Gospels. It is found in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. To me it speaks to what family therapists refer to as “good differentiation”. It may be the best way to deal with powerful differences of opinion that are leading to interpersonal turmoil among friends and family. Watering down differences of opinion gets us nowhere. As importantly, interpersonal hostility does damage. Therefore, speak clearly with humility and respect for the listener. Manage your own emotional reactivity. Move on if you are not well-received or not treated with respect.

Here is one of the Bible translations of the aforementioned Gospel passage. This one is from Matthew.

“If the house is worthy, give it your blessing of peace. But if it is not worthy, take back your blessing of peace.“Whoever does not receive you, nor heed your words, as you go out of that house or that city, shake the dust off your feet. Truly I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city.

There are many other translations and there is more context, obviously, but you get the idea. Stop beating your head against the wall with people that don’t care to listen. Move on. Perhaps someday they will come along. Perhaps they will not. At the same time, as long as you are keeping an open mind and an attitude of humility, you can remain well-differentiated. Be assertive but not bombastic. Pick your opportunities well. Do not waste your time in situations that will not bear fruit. Time is short and we have a civilization to restore. Let’s roll.

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