Saturday, January 12, 2013

I've Been Profiled


When I think of profiling or stereotyping I usually think of the racial type.  I am thankful to have never encountered the significant consequences of being profiled.  My experience consists of being the only Caucasian boy on a baseball team made up of all Hispanic boys; they gave me the nickname “white boy”. 

Today however, I discovered that I had been profiled based on my religious beliefs.  I received a message from a fellow dad blogger saying that he owed me an apology.   He had read my twitter profile beginning with “I am a follower of Christ” and instantly wrote me “off” based on his previous assumptions about Christians.  He went to my blog and discovered that most of my posts began by quoting a bible passage.  This was more evidence in his mind that I fit the profile he was thinking of. 

I am not exactly sure what assumptions were made about me based on those words, “I am a follower of Christ”, but I spent the day wondering about it.  I wonder if he expected my blog to be full of articles railing against homosexuality, gun control, and President Obama?  I wonder if he expected to read about the evils of abortion, or a call to boycott some movie, company, or product?  I wonder if he expected my blog to feel argumentative, judgmental, condescending, or arrogant?  Maybe he just didn’t want to read about how good God is when there is so much crap going on in the world. 

To my delight, this dad blogger has written a post telling the story of how after his initial visit to my blog he had a separate conversation that provided him with increased insight regarding his profiling of Christians.  Following this exchange he returned to my blog for a second look and wrote this about his experience;

 I went back to that first blog. This time, rather than flee at the sight of scripture, I stayed a while and read his last three posts. Turns out, he’s just a guy trying to live a good life. That life, for him, is rooted in his faith. His posts may play off of the selected bible verses that precede them, but mostly he just writes about being a dad.”

            I really appreciate that this blogger took the time to get to know me.  He spent time listening rather than talking and made a true effort to understand my perspective.  He discovered that I was not what he thought I was.  Through my writing he was able to discover the true picture of who I am.  I am just a guy living a life rooted in faith trying to be a dad.

            I fully believe that a posture of listening, understanding, respecting, and loving could change our society.  When we truly get to know someone we begin to realize that they are a unique individual separate from assumptions based on labels and appearances.  Thank you dad blogger friend for beginning a dialogue and moving beyond your previously held assumptions.  



5 comments:

  1. Hi Mark,

    Thank you for accepting my apology and my post in the light that they were offered.

    I can assure you that the assumptions that I made were not quite as numerous as you have wondered in your post. My initial reaction had more to do with a simple aversion to unsolicited preaching than anything else.

    While we may have different views on many of the listed topics, those perceived differences did not come into play.

    I had no basis for believing that you intended to preach. But I hadn't considered the wrongness of my presumption until I had the twitter conversation with the other gentleman. By then, I decided that I had to make some sort of gesture to reach out to you. Call it an amends.

    As I mentioned in my post, I enjoyed what I read here -- once I gave it a chance. I've added your blog to my Reader and intend to return to read your future posts -- if you'll have me.

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  2. Ray,

    As I spent the day wondering about your post and formulating a response I had many "guesses" about what might turn someone "off" to my twitter profile. admittedly the list of wondering I put in my post were the extremes, and honestly there are many times when I hear Christians talk about these topics in the media and cringe. Sometimes I hear people speak in the media from a supposed Christian perspective and think to myself, "they do not speak for me". I think some of my assumptions have been exposed through this as well.

    We probably do have different views on some of those topics but I am pretty sure we could have a nice conversation about them.

    I could see how you would have an aversion to an overly preachy approach. I don't think anyone wants to preached at, I would much rather discuss a topic with someone who has proven to care about me and my opinions.

    I am thankful that you reached out to me as this has been a nice conversation and has also challenged me to more fully understand my assumptions and beliefs. I am thankful that you will continue to read my posts and am hopeful you find them encouraging and maybe even challenging. I know that I have been challenged by you.

    thank you.

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  3. Back in the Bush years, I used to react to crosses like vampires did. So many people have used (in the past and now) religion to justify hatred, and it's not easy to separate the two. I've met some amazing Mormons online, and yet they funded Prop 8. I've met a lot of Catholics, online and in real life, and they're all great people, and then Bill Donohue says Obama should swear on Das Kapital. So sometimes, my initial reaction when I see someone describing himself as religious, is to become defensive. Hateful people have been using religion as a weapon for thousands of years, so as a non-religious person, I feel any mention of religion is an attack on me personally.

    But the truth is that I have met some amazing religious people, and I do believe that throughout history, for every person using religion to justify hatred, there was another one using religion to fight it.

    So I'm sorry if I sometimes have that same reaction Ray did. I'm trying to overcome that. Hey, at least I'm not afraid of crosses anymore.

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  4. Bloggerfather,


    I don't fault you for having a negative reaction to people using religion as an excuse to be hateful. I despise hatred in the name of religion as well. I think your points about having met some wonderful religious folks online is key. My hope is that once we truly get to know a person, religious or non-religious that we come to realize they are wonderful people, even if they disagree with our viewpoints. I wonder if part of the problem is that it is so easy for a religious (or non-religious) person to condemn another "out there" based on behavior or beliefs. it would seem much more difficult to condemn someone that was known based in a personal relationship. So, the whole idea of building a relationship with a person or group of people would be key to having an effective and constructive dialogue.


    I really appreciate your willingness to engage in this conversation, and am glad that you are no long afraid of crosses


    Mark

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  5. I'm not a follower of any religion, but I do not mind when someone uses bible passages. I have read the bible many times, and I do believe it contains a lot of valuable information pertaining to morals and how you should live as a person. I just choose to not believe in God. I base judgement on the person... not the religion they follow.

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