Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Circle the Wagons

Today's Link
Life at the Morgans

Today's Saying
Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism - how passionately I hate them! ~Albert Einstein

Today's Picture
Still Growing

Yesterday I did a blog about being right.

What happens when we think we are right and write about it in a blog only to have somebody attack us in a comment? Or what happens if they even disagree with us in a comment?
Most often we do what I call bunkering down.

We pull back to the safety of our right position and from there we attack the person who is now the enemy.
We point out how stupid, uncaring, backward or irrational they are. We demean them in every way we can.

Then we don’t have to listen to or think about what they say. I mean look what kind of person it came from.

Thus if your on the left Rush Limbaugh is a pill popping, arrogant , backward, idiot. Thus you do not have to listen to or even try to understand what he is saying. You nailed him.
if your on the right Pelosi is so socialist that she is almost communist. She wants to take away everybody’s rights and freedoms so you don’t have to pay attention to the problems she raises. You nailed her.

A good attack means you are safe in the bunker. No outside ideas can get in.

But we don’t stop there. Next we circle the wagons. We find other people who agree with us and encourage their attacks on our evil enemies. We leave them comments like “ well done you really gave it to them and they deserved every bit of it.”
Same comment works for left right and middle.

It is really hard not to bunker in and circle the wagons in areas where we have strong feelings and we know we are right.

But in truth it serves no purpose except to make us feel good for a moment.
It doesn’t change anybody’s mind. In fact the harder we attack the more they bunker in.
Do you think nasty comments ever changed Pelosi or Limbaugh. Of course not. They know they are right.
Bunkering in doesn’t help us to clarify our position either and it doesn’t help in sharing it.

People who didn’t believe us before won’t believe us because we insulted them.

Sunday I was having a wonderful day and then came the evening and I sat down to read my comments as I do every evening.
There somebody named the amoeba left a comment saying in effect that Pentecost which I was celebrating was almost enough to make an atheist out of him.
Wow! What a downer.
How should I respond?
He also pointed out that on that very day a Christian was shot by another Christian in Church because they didn’t agree.
That’s really a downer.
He was nice enough not to tell me this happened in a Lutheran Church.
He also didn’t tell me that the difference between the two men was where they stood on abortion. The way he wrote the comment one got the impression that it was an argument over Christianity.
I’m sure that wasn’t the intent of the amoeba unless he believes abortion is an article of faith.
How should I respond.
Is it time for me to shoot at him verbally?

Actually I have to thank him. He reminded me of something I knew but sometimes don’t pay attention to. No two people walk the same path.
Pentecost is important to me and I have a right to say so and celebrate it. It is part of my path, my journey.
Pentecost bothers the amoeba. He doesn’t like the emotional content as the fire of Pentecost can burn out of control. He has walked a different path. He has made a different journey. He has a right to tell me that and I have a need to hear him.
Will it change me? Probably not if your asking will I quit celebrating Pentecost.
But knowing there are other Christians who are turned off by the text means I will struggle to be as clear about my feelings as possible. I will listen and do my best to understand those who disagree with me.

I will strive to be as right as I can be without becoming self righteous.
I will try not to hide behind my rightness.
I will try not to bunker in or circle the wagons.

News from Pigeon Falls
The little town in my basement where the trains still run, dragons fly, and life is back to normal
Tommy UK acting on M5rs. Trumble’s advice went to the internet for help but instead of setting up a Facebook account he Googled “Birth Parents”. He found a real wealth of material including a blog called “” at “”. Here there were hints and helps on looking for one’s birth parents. But the best blog he found was called About.Com Genealogy and it gave him a step by step procedure to follow. Some of those steps he had already done but he now went back over them.. Because of this he is now registered with a national reunion registry and has joined an adoption support group.
Now he just has to wait and see if anything comes from his searching. Tammy , of course, is praying for him but she doesn’t understand why he isn’t just happy with the parents he has. They have always been good to him. Tommy says he loves his adoptive parents but he just feels a need to know something about the people who created him. Why did they give him up? Why does he have the power ring? Who is he really?
Wrap UP
Not a bad day. I visited lots of blogs and left lots of comments including every blog that visited and left a comment yesterday. I ran into information on a very impressive electric car on Baron's Life. He refers you to another blog but this is a good place to start. Betty and I got the hanging garden up again but decided this time to go with just two. We are back to working on the birdhouse. Npw I need a breathing treatment.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dr. know I'm not very religious and I don't understand what the Pentecost is but i do know that when we blog or state an opinion anywhere we leave ourselves open for all kinds of comments on it. Sometimes yes they become a shouting match between the parties and nasty things are said. But I for one believe that most people say and post what they feel and others just say and comment what they feel. As long as we can not attack as you say I think all is well. I so agree with your last three sentences and I for one am going to try and remember this everytime I beging to do anyone of the the three. You are full of wisdom.

I sorta wish Tommy UK would leave well enough alone about his real parents. His real parents are his parents he has known and is growing up with. I wish he would just let sleeping dogs lie so to speak...I think it only brings on more sorrow and saddness to open up old wounds

Aloha my friend :)

1:31 AM  
Anonymous the amoeba said...

I do indeed harbor grave doubts about Christianity, in fact I harbor them about all religious systems. Especially at this moment given the Tiller shooting and the social and religious context in which it was acted out.

It is cliché to point out all the mayhem there has been, and is now, in "the name of God". Especially, when passions are inflamed "in the name of God". Konrad Lorenz, the acclaimed scholar of animal behavior, wrote ("On Aggression") of inflamed passions, which he called "militant enthusiasm", and its consequences. Lorenz served (as a field surgeon) in the Wehrmacht during WWII, and evidently took good notes.

However - I see little besides the organized religions that stands as a counterweight against the cult of the individual. That teaches us individuals not to grab for the slightest advantage regardless of what it costs our neighbor, and what it might cost ourselves in the long run. That teaches us long-term and community, not short-term and isolation. That has men and women like yourself in it.

This is a point that, for all their erudition, I think Dawkins and those who think like him have missed.

1:47 AM  
Anonymous quilly said...

Dr. John -- it takes wisdom and compassion to not react defensively when listening to a counter opinion on a subject one is passionate about. You have demonstrated that you have both and we could all learn from you.

2:42 AM  
Blogger anthonynorth said...

I think this is a case of great minds thinking alike. I begin with another angle of this speech thing on my blog today.
As for me, I used to write a lot about the paranormal, etc, and was often attacked from all sides. I usually defend my corner with dignity, as you have.

2:58 AM  
Blogger Sandi McBride said...

You know, it's easy to embrace the concept of freedom of expression, it
is embracing the fact that everyone doesn't agree with us that's hard. Mea culpa mea culpa...I find it hard to accept that someone will disagree with me. But I'll fight to the death their freedom to do so. Great post, as usual.

5:32 AM  
Blogger Family Man said...

One of the fine lines anyone walks when they share a thought, or opinion, or hold a discussion is that they may see and hear the couterwieght, or encounter an opposing view. That is why Martin Luther broke away to form Luthernism, and the foudation on which the United States was born.

The opposing views or the expression of ones opinion is always welcome, as it can open minds to explore possibilities, they once didn't consider.

The major challenge is to make sure if we oppose someones opinion or stance, we don't turn it into a personal attack or take their opposition to our idea that way.

Dr. John teaches a very christian trait here. That everyone is entitled to their opinion, and he honored that opinion.

5:48 AM  
Blogger Melli said...

There is such a fine line between being right and being self righteous. I guess because I almost always agree with your views I don't notice your self righteousness...

I think that if what amoeba said lead you to some self examination and growth then it was a good thing. I love that you always TRY to keep an open mind... and try to help me keep mine open too. Another great post.

I understand how Tammy feels. And some adopted kids don't ever feel the need to look for their birth parents. But I think in Tommy UK's case, with these super powers he has, it's really almost necessary that he find out who he reallllly is and where he came from! Having something like that is naturally going to make him WONDER how he got it, why he got it, and who had it before him and what happened to them! If I were him, I would have a million questions... that's for sure!

5:58 AM  
Blogger Jientje said...

Lots of wisdom, in both posts, as well as in the comments. I think you're a very wise man, Dr John.

6:19 AM  
Blogger Noe Noe Girl...A Queen of all Trades. said...

Where do you get all that wisdom?

The tomatoe plant is looking good!

6:29 AM  
Blogger starbender said...

If we all looked alike, talked alike, thought alike...., it would be a very boring life.

C'mon people now, smile on your brother. Everybody get together, try to love one another right now!

or, there is always that toast:

Here's to you,
and here's to me,
and if someday we disagree,
F*ck you, and here's to me!

...sorry for the profanity!

6:46 AM  
Blogger Lou said...

I blogged along happily for many months, then I got my first negative comment. It really threw me for a spin..a complete stranger, but it bothered me for days. I realized if you want to put yourself out in cyberspace, that comes with the territory.

What we have here is a dialogue, not a diatribe. Two people can disagree, respectfully.

That is blogging at it's best.

6:57 AM  
Blogger Nessa said...

I have always found certitude a scary thing. It is hard to remember that we really know so little and shouldn't be so sure of ourselves in anything.

Someone told me a long time ago that when I find something or someone I "dislike" I should pay closest attention because it is something I need to learn about or change in myself. I have found that to be true (after I calm down, that is.) So your advice on reflection in the face of disagreement is a good one.

7:36 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

You're a good man, Dr. John -- willing to share your wisdom, experience, and sense of humor with the world, on a daily basis.

Some things, we have in common. Others . . . not so much. Which doesn't alter the fact that I've enjoyed every minute we've spent in communication. (Even when I lag off for months at a time. :-))

You've approached this situation like the thinking, learning man you've spent a lifetime becoming.

Issues notwithstanding, we can all learn a lot from that.

7:57 AM  
Blogger Bill ~ {The Old Fart} said...

Who was it that talked about walking in another man's shoes. I think you do that everyday Dr John.

8:29 AM  
Blogger Baron's Life said...

Dr. John, let me start by saying you posted a lovely link today and a great saying all topped off with some great wisdom and even greater comments from your audience.
It's hard to say how one would react to criticism under special circumstances. But I am of the firm belief that if you cannot say something nice, best not to say anything.

11:01 AM  
Blogger A Lady's Life said...

Dr John
No one can dispute the existence of God. So in my opinion, it never hurts to believe.I feel sorry for those who don't because it is clear, they just don't get it.The good thing about God is that he comes at the most unexpected moment and HE will make you a believer.So I leave it in his hands.:)
"Me thinks thou dost object too much." and that is due to fear you may be wrong.

God to me is very personal. He brings peace into my life.He guides me in the dark.
He keeps me balanced and afloat in bad times through strength I would otherwise never have.I guess you could say he restoreth my
He rejoices with me in the good times.I am never alone.
He lets my tears flow easily so my soul is constantly cleansed.
The ignorance lies in them who do not understand "faith".
Religion is abused and misused.
and we are forewarned of the false people who do this.
Every one has an agenda. The only agenda God has, is to try to make us good people so we can be invited to sit at his table and he can enjoy our company.
It is much nicer to sit at a table with true friends than at a table full of Judas, because then evil never ends.
Be blessed in his name and don't worry.:)

2:10 PM  
Anonymous Alice Audrey said...

I can see how a power ring would make you all the more keen to find things out.

3:25 PM  
Blogger Melli said...

WHAAAAAT? It's all my fault huh? Ye of little faith! Your topsy turvy is doing well! So is PJ's me thinks! I think once they start getting tomatoes on them it will pull them down a bit and they will look like the ones in the commercials. ORRRR... the weight might pull them right out of the bag! LOL! Perhaps a few in buckets might not be a BAD idea!

By the way... I TOTALLY agree with Baron up above! And that usually IS my policy when I visit a blog I don't agree with! I either try to find something in it that I can speak positively to, or I just don't comment at all. I have a few people who I read regularly but can hardly EVER comment to! LOL! (why do I keep reading? I value their thoughts... I just don't agree...)

3:37 PM  
Blogger Maude Lynn said...

Interesting debate!

And, I received the laughing box. Thanks, Dr. John! My daughter is going to get a huge kick out of it!

5:44 PM  
Blogger bettygram said...

The tomato is growing but you will notice so are those weeds in my daughter's small garden. I hope to get at them and get some flowers in there but those are tough. they have pickers and are difficult to pull out. I did not have them up North.

7:10 PM  
Blogger LoieJ said...

All too often, political commentators, and others, put a label on another person or group. Once something is labeled, then a us/them or we/they situation is set up. And of course, WE are always right. WE are always better. WE are self-righteous as well. And, WE don't have to bother to listen to the reasons that the other side may have that could be worth knowing about.

7:49 PM  

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