blind men, elephants and being ticked off

Last night Sweet Anna and I were trying to enjoy the Finale of AGT (if you don’t know, it doesn’t matter- let it go – don’t get me started about the winner) and there were constant interruptions (during commercial breaks) by the stinking Virginia governor’s race. Deeds has gone on the attack against McDonnell and the negative ads are ticking me off. Now, the Right may have run attack ads too, but I’ve not yet seen them (my position on the race is not important at this juncture – so don’t start trying to convince me like last fall, okay?) My point is the ugliness. Which was shown in Congress by that congressman from S.C. who yelled to Obama “You lie!” That ticked me off too. Yesterday, I saw a van with an anti Obama sticker and it reminded me of the anti Bush and anti Clinton stickers. These tick me off too.
I am ranting about this because I am sick and tired of the fact that people can’t let someone else have a different perspective and respect the person while disagreeing with the opinion. In church last week Pastor Bill told about a book he was reading which called cynicism the “spirit of the age.” Sadly, I think that is true. And all this stuff I’m talking about being ticked off about is a sure sign of such. Perhaps this post is as well… 😦  But its not just politics.
Yesterday I had coffee with a thoughtful guy and one of the many things that he said which caused me to nod in agreement is the way people of different religious persuasions and even different denominational perspectives treat each other. Its, like, people think they have a corner on the stinking truth and nobody else can have a differing opinion. Well I’ve got news for all of us. We’re all a whole lot blinder than we want to think ourselves and we need to seek the Truth not from arguing humans but from the Truth himself. And Christians need to spend a whole lot more time in Scripture and in prayer to the Lord than arguing on and about FoxNews and CNN and putting everyone else down because we have a different view.
So, this guy yesterday reminded me of an old parable from the East which has stuck with me. A quick research quest on the parable shows that it is really old and has many versions from the eastern religions. The gist is this: A bunch of blind men happen upon an elephant and seek to understand what it is like. One feels the trunk and says one thing, another its ear, another its leg (a tree) and so on, you get the picture. See, these blind men operate on what info they have. And NONE of them have all the info, so their picture is incomplete. Get it?

See, there are a ton of incomplete views out there because too many of us are not realizing how blind we are and not getting the whole picture about a ton of this stuff here on earth. We have two ears and one mouth for a reason, listen more than talk for crying out loud! And when you disagree, even if you KNOW they are wrong, use some courtesy.

Sorry about the tone. Yes, I’m a hypocrite… sigh.


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4 responses to “blind men, elephants and being ticked off

  1. Lea Coppage

    This hypocrite agrees with you. I recently hid a missionary friend on Facebook because she constantly posts vitriol about, oh, pretty much everything. WAY too much sarcasm and hatefulness.

    On the other hand, teaching American culture for three weeks has made me realize my own cynicism. So the mirror shines in my own face.

  2. I am often reminded of a comment by G.K. Chesterton that “Christianity has not be tried and found wanting; it has been found difficult and not tried”. I wonder how many people simply “christianise” their pre-conceived notions and then assume them to be absolute truth, and thus refuse to allow the social radical from Nazareth to truly change their hearts and minds?

    Truth, if you take the teachings of Jesus seriously, is not a concept but rather a person.

  3. Mike

    As “the coffee guy” Tom mentioned, I’m really just a “fellow blind man” searching for the elephant (is it really an elephant or is that just what we think it is – how do WE know it’s an elephant?). The illustration helps me be more tolerant of lots of people and perspectives (except, ironically, for those who refuse to even hear much less consider another perspective). I realize that much of what I believe and practice in my faith is as much a product of culture as it is of conviction and I have to be very careful to sort those things out – even to the point of hearing people of other (or no) faith tell me of their experiences. I can only know what I experience and how that affects the way I relate to others and to the God in whom I trust. I wonder if, in the end, we will be asked the same questions Jesus asked his followers in Matt. 25. Perhap how what we believe is evidenced in the way we act will prove more important what we say we believe.

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