"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

The Reason I Happily Participate in a Protest March

Why is it that disagreements in politics, theology, current events, and other issues often (not always) result in anger, hostility, name-calling, and relational separation?

That's a question that deserves a thoughtful answer.

It seems that the messenger is attacked when the message is uncomfortable, embarrassing, or in the hearers' minds, harmful.

All of us have seen this or have experienced it, but hopefully, we don't partake in it.

Attacking a person for speaking, writing, or defending things that you don't believe to be true is a sign of immaturity.

Free speech must be cherished and protected for a society to be civilized and progressive.

You may not like what the other person says, but we must protect the rights of every fellow human being to freely say or write what he or she believes.

We must learn in our multicultural world to talk *with* those who hold views other than our own.

Our natural reaction to something we deem harmful is to "push away."
When the mosquito stings, we squash it. 
When the food tastes bad, we spit it out. 
When a persons reeks of body odor, we stand away. 
But intellectual and emotional maturity brings the realization that encouragement for others to freely speak what they believe without personal retaliation is beneficial, not harmful.

The mature person respects the dignity and the humanity of the messenger regardless of the message and protects the natural right for the messenger to freely speak his or her mind.

In a free, civilized, and mature society, people bring close others whose political, theological, and cultural persuasions are different, and they listen and engage in thoughtful dialogue.

Mature leaders entertain facts, no matter how uncomfortable they may be, dialogue and discuss varying disagreements, and refuse to personally attack the messenger, no matter the message.

Many, however, in these difficult days, never leave their intellectual childhood. They continue to react to difficult messages by making the messenger the issue.

Saul D. Alinksy, in his book Rules for Radicals: A Pragmatic Primer for Realistic Radicals writes that:
Ridicule is man's most potent weapon.
There is no defense to ridicule. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

Ridicule comes from radical believers.

Dialogue comes from dignified believers.

Dignity, civility, and respectability are the ingredients of a civilized society.

I believe in a distinct moral, theological, and philosophical construct that is based on nature and Nature's God. I also happen to believe in a precise message of Good News based on the God of the Scriptures, a Good News that gives hope to every human being. 

That said, I have no problem coming close to those who disagree and listening to them.

On Saturday, June 6, 2020, I will join a protest march that begins at 10:00 am in Government Springs Park. The reason that I happily will participate in this protest march is not that I necessarily believe the message that is being conveyed by the protest marchers. 

Rather, I respect the dignity of humanity represented in the march and wish to make new friends who may not see the world the way I do. 

In other words, I wish to be part of a civil society that respects the dignity of every messenger, whether the message is believed by me or not. 

I will not push away. I will not squash. I will not run.

I will come close. 

If you'd like to help Emmanuel Enid and Forgotten Ministries by volunteering to cook hamburgers or pass out water, show up on the east side of Government Springs at 9:30 am (Saturday, June 6, 2020) or at 580 Coffee House (20 volunteers needed at the park, and 10 at 580 Coffee).

March begins at 10:00 am and should be over at we feed those who come. 

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

“Many people are looking for an ear that will listen. They do not find it among Christians because these Christians are talking when they should be listening. But he who can no longer listen to his brother will soon be no longer listening to God either."

(Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

Christiane said...

THIS:

"I believe in a distinct moral, theological, and philosophical construct that is based on nature and Nature's God. I also happen to believe in a precise message of Good News based on the God of the Scriptures, a Good News that gives hope to every human being.
That said, I have no problem coming close to those who disagree and listening to them.
On Saturday, June 6, 2020, I will join a protest march that begins at 10:00 am in Government Springs Park. The reason that I happily will participate in this protest march is not that I necessarily believe the message that is being conveyed by the protest marchers.
Rather, I respect the dignity of humanity represented in the march and wish to make new friends who may not see the world the way I do.
In other words, I wish to be part of a civil society that respects the dignity of every messenger, whether the message is believed by me or not.
I will not push away. I will not squash. I will not run.
I will come close. " (WADE BURLESON)


Wade, I agree with what you have written, yes, for so many reasons, so many.

Yes, Christian 'witness' involves the 'coming along side' of people with burdens and helping them in ways that are not disrespectful or condescending or, God forbid, contemptuous. Coming to be 'with' and bringing the 'peace of Christ' into the storm is what calms the waters and the winds, but this requires the witnesses to be living out lives reflective of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, so that even a small act of kindness has more power in it than all of the screaming, threatening, Bible-thumping 'noise' of an angry proud soul who knows he is 'saved' and needs to impact the lives of those he has contempt for so that they can become 'like him'. But that never was the intent of the 'mission' of sending Christian people forth, was it?
To curse the darkness?
Like you have written, Wade, when Christian people go 'forth', their mission is to be one of " a Good News that gives hope to every human being."

May it be so.

Bob Cleveland said...

You started with a question, so I'll start with a answer. The reason is that, when you disagree with someone, you open the possibility that they might be wrong. Hence, the tendency is to attack, often because their position is not very well thought-out.

One sign of Spiritual, and perhaps Earthly maturity is to accept others' disagreement, and not hit back at'em.

Me ... I'm so old I really don't care one way or the other whether people agree with me. Also, being shy and insecure, I normally don't speak up unless I've thought through things.

RB Kuter said...

Bob said, "Me ... I'm so old I really don't care one way or the other whether people agree with me."

I'm pretty sure that it has little to do with his age, although, that might figure into it some. My personal position, based upon assessing why I do or don't get angry by an opposing opinion, is that it is more about my confidence and self-esteem than my "owning" and protecting my conclusion on an issue.

Following that line, I suspect that Bob doesn't feel it necessary to defend his concluded position on an issue because, and this is where age may be a factor, he is satisfied that he has determined the position that he feels most confident in being the correct one. If anyone disagrees, well, that's fine if they are determined to be wrong. If that is an accurate assessment, then a lot of that probably has to do with his experience in making mistakes in the past and learning from that.

At least, being an old gesher myself, that's how I feel about it.

RB Kuter said...

Bob said, "Me ... I'm so old I really don't care one way or the other whether people agree with me."

I'm pretty sure that it has little to do with his age, although, that might figure into it some. My personal position, based upon assessing why I do or don't get angry by an opposing opinion, is that it is more about my confidence and self-esteem than my "owning" and protecting my conclusion on an issue.

Following that line, I suspect that Bob doesn't feel it necessary to defend his concluded position on an issue because, and this is where age may be a factor, he is satisfied that he has determined the position that he feels most confident in being the correct one. If anyone disagrees, well, that's fine if they are determined to be wrong. If that is an accurate assessment, then a lot of that probably has to do with his experience in making mistakes in the past and learning from that.

At least, being an old gesher myself, that's how I feel about it.

RB Kuter said...

Bob said, "Me ... I'm so old I really don't care one way or the other whether people agree with me."

I'm pretty sure that it has little to do with his age, although, that might figure into it some. My personal position, based upon assessing why I do or don't get angry by an opposing opinion, is that it is more about my confidence and self-esteem than my "owning" and protecting my conclusion on an issue.

Following that line, I suspect that Bob doesn't feel it necessary to defend his concluded position on an issue because, and this is where age may be a factor, he is satisfied that he has determined the position that he feels most confident in being the correct one. If anyone disagrees, well, that's fine if they are determined to be wrong. If that is an accurate assessment, then a lot of that probably has to do with his experience in making mistakes in the past and learning from that.

At least, being an old gesher myself, that's how I feel about it.

Anonymous said...

sometimes it's not about 'being right', it's about listening and trying to understand what it is about the other person's point of view that is meaningful to HIM

if you can do this, you have set aside 'self' and taken a journey forward into Christianity where 'it is better to understand than to be understood'; you are giving the other person the gift of listening to him/her and these days, there is a great need in the world for 'a listening heart' that seeks to understand the PERSON for the sake of the person

done well in Christ's name, this is a form of Christian ministry called 'the listening ministry' and it is a great witness to troubled people that Christians would offer this 'service' to them in their great need to speak to someone of their trouble

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

You said, “When a person reeks of body order, we stand away.”

What do you do when you’re ‘trapped in a car’, and the driver starts smoking? He’s doing you a favor, and it’s the first time you’ve met him.

Christiane said...

Hey out there, REX RAY

'trapped' in a car !

there's a STORY in there somewhere :)

RB Kuter said...

Okay, Rex Ray, your comment about being "trapped in a car" with someone who smells bad brought back the memory of an experience that I just had to share even though I have other things which I should be doing.

We were finally called by the family of a young lady who had had a motorcycle crash when she was riding on one motorcycle with her husband and three year old daughter. This was Thailand and it is very common for an entire family to ride on one 100cc motorcycle. It was night and they were hit by a car coming from behind. The husband was killed, the three year old's leg was broken and this young wife/Mom's upper thigh bone was completely broken.

The parents of the wife/Mom, "Bu", were called to the scene. They sent the three year old granddaughter to the hospital for treatment of the broken leg but their daughter, the now "widow"/Mom, was taken back to their farm house and the equivalent of the local "witchdoctor" was called to render treatment to her for her broken thigh.

Of course she was in tremendous pain. The leg swelled up to the size of an elephant's leg. The local Thai pastor visited and pleaded with the parents to allow the church members to take the poor, pitiful lady to the hospital but they refused saying that would undermine their faith in the witchdoctor's treatment. They told me about it and I visited several weeks later. The lady could not stand and the swollen leg had become so numb that her Dad patted it soundly and said, "See! It doesn't even hurt anymore!" They refused to allow us to take her to the hospital.

Finally, after another two weeks or so, I got the call asking me to bring my pick-up to haul her to the hospital. The parents were relenting to her receiving treatment.

A part of the witchdoctor's treatments for the previous two months had been to NOT allow her to be washed or bathed. When the church members put her in the cab of my double-cab pickup, the stinch was unbearable! The gracious church members gave me some vapor rub to put under my nose and we rolled all the windows down with the air conditioner turned all the way up! The smell was so bad that you literally felt that it was a blanket smothering you!

We got her to the hospital. The x-rays showed that the thigh bone, completely severed with the upper and lower portions criss-crossed, had begun to grow together, hence, the numbness and lack of pain. They had to operate, re-break it, and set it all together correctly.

While recovering, the young lady accepted Christ. Her care-taking sister sitting next to the bed as we shared Christ said she also wanted to follow Jesus! Will never forget that smell, but it was worth it!

Lissa Roberson said...

To listen without judging is difficult when it comes to issues of politics and religion. When we disagree, it's tempting to ridicule the other person in order to justify our (my) side, lest we (I) be found on the "wrong" side of the argument. I've learned that dilemmas AND solutions cannot be addressed as either/or issues, but both/and. As of right now, we're not seeing any give-and-take in the George Floyd/BLM conflict; opposing factions are too busy screaming at each other.

I had a wonderful conversation this week with one of my daughters who is much more left-leaning that I am. Basically I gave her audience, asking her open-ended questions that allowed her to express her heart behind her sentiments supporting the protests (which I heartily support) and the issue of systemic racism (which I disagree with). In the end, she thanked me for loving her, listening to her and affirming her feelings.

We ought to remind ourselves that when we go to God in prayer, we are doing much the same: taking our feelings to Him whether they are accurate against Scripture or not, and He patiently and lovingly listens to us. Not only this, He gently guides and corrects us if (and when) we are willing to listen and receive His wisdom.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

AMAZING STORY. I’m giving a copy to our SS tomorrow.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,
AMAZING STORY. I’m giving a copy to our SS tomorrow.

RB Kuter said...

Just sending this as a test. Having trouble getting through.

Christiane said...

Good job, Enid OK !


"This week, Enid has seen an increase of communication with community leaders, as protests and town hall meetings help foster conversations.
Norwood said this week has been encouraging for her, but the conversation needs to continue.
“I see us coming together as a community, as one community,” Norwood said. “There’s no violence. Everybody is working together in peaceful marches and peaceful protests. That’s the way it is supposed to be."



https://www.enidnews.com/news/local_news/updated-bringing-the-community-together/article_5e87bd32-b71e-5470-b7ef-5dc20895b4b8.html

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,
I’ve noticed people come more reading ‘my stuff’ if it’s on one page and in large letters. So, I took the liberty of changing your story to one page with a font of 16 and giving it to most of the ones in our church:

RB Kuter wrote this on Wade Burleson’s blog. Okay, Rex Ray, your comment about being "trapped in a car" with someone who smells bad brought back the memory of an experience that I just have to share.
We were called by the family of a lady who had a wreck when she was riding on a motorcycle with her husband and three-year-old daughter. (In Thailand, it’s common for a family to ride one motorcycle.) They were hit from behind. The husband was killed, and his wife and their three-year old daughter legs were broken.
Parents of the wife sent the girl to the hospital, but took their daughter to their farm house to be treated by a local ‘witchdoctor’.
Her leg got the size of an elephant's. The local pastor visited and pleaded with the parents to take their daughter to the hospital. They refused, saying that would undermine their faith in the witchdoctor's treatment.
After two months, her parents called me to take her to the hospital. Part of the witchdoctor's treatments was NOT allowing her to be washed or bathed. When she was put in my pickup, the stench was unbearable! They gave me some vapor-rub to put under my nose. I rolled the windows down and had the air conditioner all the way up. Smell was so bad it felt like a blanket was smothering you!
Hospital X-Rays showed her broken thigh bone had grown crooked. They had to re-break it and set it correctly.
While recovering, we shared Christ and she accepted him. Her sister was listening and said she wanted to follow Jesus! I’ll never forget that smell, but it was worth it!

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

Yesterday, there were 12 people celebrating a person’s birthday at my sister’s ‘extra house’ they reserve for missionaries. My son, Joe, had been a missionary in Israel, called and I put him on ‘speaker’ so I could hear.

I told him the missionary we were visiting was from Israel. He heard me talking to Joe, and entered the conversation. They talked a long time. Joe told him how he could contact a person the missionary had given up trying to reach.

Is that strange or not? :)

Anonymous said...

Is that strange or not? :)

IT'S PROVIDENCE ! :)

Unknown said...

We are being Jesus to them.

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, thank you for the gesture of passing on my story to someone else. Of course, it's all about God, isn't it. I mean, we kind of just carried along as His Spirit leads us into circumstances that are simply amazing and we basically serve as witnesses to things He is doing rather than "our" being the ones to do it.

Here's an interesting thought I've sometimes had and which I bet you can shed some wisdom and insight; When God came to earth as a man, Jesus Christ, and willfully limiting Himself in many finite ways as are we, do you think that His Father led the Son into situations with certain individuals meant to play out the providence of God to be healed or have demons exorcized, etc., OR did Jesus the Son encounter people and decide Himself that they would be the one to be healed that day? Do you know what I mean?

You and I don't originate the miracles in which God leads us into for His purposes. We just journey along and bump into situations that God has already arranged and intends to use us if we are obediently following His Spirit. So we kind of do a "Henry Blackaby" described exercise of "seeking to find where God is doing something and then join Him in whatever that is." But do you think that Jesus Himself decide to originate the circumstances that led to the 5,000 being fed from 2 fish and 5 loaves, or did His Father have that laid out for Him to be used as an instrument to play it out?

I know, kind of a nonsensical thing to consider, but my feeble mind does wander and wonder about such things.

Anonymous said...

the REAL 'miracle' is that the two fish and five loaves existed at all

Today, we take what exists for granted, but the ancient Israelites did not do this: they knew better and prayed:

"Barukh ata Adonai Eloheinu, melekh ha'olam, hamotzi lehem min ha'aretz."

"Blessed are You,
LORD our God, King of the universe,
Who brings forth bread from the earth."

All that is in existence is provided and sustained in being by God, lest we forget the Source of our own being.

Rex Ray said...

RB Kuter,

You asked did God or Jesus decide who would be healed? I believe God decided such as the story of the man born blind:

“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins…This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.” (John 9:3 NLT)

You asked if God or Jesus originated feeding the five thousand.

To me, that’s about like asking does God or Jesus originate everything that happens in the world? I don’t believe either one originated the five thousand. People are not robots. The popularity of Jesus had grown so much, people wanted to hear him.

Jesus said: “For I have come down from heaven to do the will of God who sent me. Not to do my own will.” (John 6:38 NLT) [Wade, heaven existed then, now, and forever.] :)

RB, you said something about your mind being feeble. I believe I’m ahead of you. Today, I couldn’t pay Walmart because my billfold was in the car. After paying, I parked their scooter, and was using two canes to get to my car. A young man yelled, “Mister, here’s your billfold. (I’d left it in the scooter.)

I’m going to the Dallas VA tomorrow for a possible operation to increase more artery blood flow for my ankle that’s been hurting. So, I may not be making comments for a while.

Christiane said...

Hello REX RAY,

prayers are being said for your possible operation in Dallas VA

May God watch over you during this time. Be strengthened. Be blessed.

My eldest son with Down Syndrome is in hospital for heart problems currently, so much vigil prayer is being said and you are also included in the prayer times.

RB Kuter said...

Thank you for your insights into the VERY challenging aspects of dealing with the humanity/divinity of Jesus and how He did ministry prior to His crucifixion and resurrection.

I commit to praying for you, brother, and asking our Father to guide all of those medical personnel involved in that procedure tomorrow and give them a steady hand and insight as to how best to perform the surgery. I will ask Him to be with you and your wife to give you confidence and peace in knowing that HE is present and in control and I will also ask Him to bless you by minimizing any pain and anointing you with the power of His healing touch so as to result in an amazingly rapid recovery absent of any complications, infections or setbacks and it being totally successful in achieving the desire effects of your ankle functioning as close to being that of a 16-year old lad as God deems appropriate!

Rex Ray said...

Thanks for praying.

No operation was necessary because some fancy machine revealed the blood flow in my leg was normal. Oh happy day!

RB Kuter said...

Rex Ray, thank you for giving me that report! Again, God demonstrates His faithfulness in listening to the requests from His children and responding with the supernatural, healing power of His Spirit. I will certainly give HIM the praise for that as I know you are!

CM said...

Wade,

I want your thoughts on Trump having his first rally in Tulsa on Juneteenth given the debacle that happened in Lafayette Square and all his the inane tweets and actions in recent weeks.

And being a long time OK resident, I am sure you are familiar with the Greenwood Massacre, which interestingly happened just about 99 years ago. So you can see why some folks may be at tad annoyed.

Rex Ray said...

CM,

I’m guessing you’re a Democrat?

CM said...

Rex Ray,

Wrong. Once again you ASSume that I am.
But it is not the first time you have done that and it certainly won't be the last.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,

In light of what ‘Protest Marches’ are doing now; would you change the title of this post to: “The Reason I Happily Participate in a PEACEFUL March’?

Rex Ray said...

CM,

I suppose you’re an “Independent”. If you’re a Republican and if Republicans were like the military, they execute traitors.

RB Kuter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
CM said...

Rex,

I would argue that the GOP has had terminal cancer for many years now, and Trump's nomination was the final stages of Stage 4 Canceer. The best bet is to bury the remains of GOP and build a true Conservative and Constitutionalist party from scratch once Trumpism has run its course.

RB Kuter said...

CM, given that the only way things will change is with a gradual movement of the existing parties toward one direction or another, couldn't you be more productive by being involved in contributing to that happening rather than proposing that the current structure be replaced? That just ain't gonna' happen, but it may be feasible to move the current major parties toward becoming something other than they are.

Not sure what you mean by the Republican Party having cancer and Trump moving it toward its demise. Seems that in terms of energizing it, he has certainly applied a hot wire to it. The Democratic Party has been transitioning further and further to the left to the point of the term "socialism" becoming an acceptable consideration where it formerly would have meant certain political death to any politician using it.

So movement is occuring, but your proposal to simply scorch the earth and build a new party power just won't happen.