Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Facing My Own Predisposition

Yesterday I wrote a post on Facebook that attracted the attention of a person I had a casual friendship with in high school.  The exchange between the two of us was not heated, but it did get a bit adversarial.  Since I initially felt my post's relevancy would easily be applicable to the other side of the doctrinal wall, I was baffled by his responses as I read them.

Those that know me understand my immediate curiosity over what just occurred.  What happened here?  Why were we talking right past one another?  It was then I decided to put my old proverbial Sunday school clothes and go back and reread my post.

Just to set the scene, the person I had this written exchange with is the pastor of a church in Ohio, and I am openly atheist.  I'm not at all implying that it matters, but I thought I should at least give some background on the two players.  And other than the original post, I will not directly quote myself or the person I had the exchange with since it's easier to just paraphrase the conversation.

My post was written as follows:
"I need someone to explain to me how adults who had a... umm... let's just say, 'Biblically questionable' youth can go about ignoring the fact that the rest of us REMEMBER HOW YOU WERE."
At the time, in my own mind my message was clear.  But for now, I'll let whoever reads that statement to form their own opinion of it.  And don't hold back your initial reaction either!  Please, allow any opinions you may have of me, or any assumptions you have of my world view to dictate your perception of my statement.  For this analysis don't censor yourselves, because I prefer an honest reaction to what I wrote.  We'll look at the differences between intention and perception in a moment.

On to the exchange...

His initial written response to my post was one of religious acceptance, placing himself beside those that had, "strayed."  I get that - he's a pastor and this notion can be frequently heard while attending any number of local Christian churches.  What took me back was that I perceived his message to imply that it was okay to be a hypocrite, so long as you were "at home" with his God.

I answered...  He answered... both still talking right past each other.  It didn't hit home that perhaps something was amiss until he wrote that he completely understood why I would want to hold a person's transgressions against them.  When I read that statement, I knew this whole exchange had gone horribly wrong.

Okay, I will freely admit that I was a bit frustrated with the guy and wrote a terse clarification in the response thread.  However, after I read his final response, took a deep breath, and let the analyst in me take over, I realized that I had made the mistake of obscurity in my original post.

My initial intent was to come up with a cheeky way to post a message on Facebook against the judgment of others.  With all the various folks on that site throwing their Bibles about over sexuality and birth control, I thought it might be nice to remind them what it was like being young and inexperienced.  But my post was so poorly written that it left too much room for ambiguity.  Depending upon your current world view, or your personal opinion of me, I now recognize that my statement could legitimately be perceived in several different ways.

When the exchange came to a close, it was clear to me that he and I were essentially saying the same thing, albeit via different philosophical viewpoints.  And it was my own negligence in writing that left too much wiggle room for him to perceive that we held the same view.

Thus, my sincerest apologies to everyone for not being clear in my original post.

And so it goes...  No matter your age, sometimes it's best to go back and analyze yourself, especially your own written word, and learn from your mistakes.

No comments:

Post a Comment