All Made to Drink of One Spirit

 For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. 1 Corinthians 12:12-13

Meditations in Motion

Recent events have caused me to ask myself “Is hate increasing in the world today?” USA Today reported that the 10 largest cities in America saw a 12.5% increase in hate crimes over last year.

Hate crimes can range in severity from property vandalism to assault to mass murder. While the majority of hate crimes are perpetrated against victims because of their race, ethnicity or ancestry, some hate crimes are motivated by religion or sexual orientation.

When seeking the cause of the recent spike in hate crimes, there has been a lot of finger pointing going on. The political left points at the right and vice versa. I actually think finger pointing to find one person or one cause responsible for the increase in hate is counterproductive.

Finger pointing brings the possibility of denial by the one who is pointed at and it absolves the pointer of all responsibility. It sets up a false “good guy/bad guy” narrative and does little to solve the problem or to mend hearts shattered again by senseless acts of violence. It allows everyone to congratulate themselves while evading responsibility.

Rather than finger-pointing, I believe that we all should accept responsibility for the hate prevalent in our country. Oh, I know that the only one responsible for the crime itself is the person who threw the rock, lit the fire, or pulled the trigger. Every human is responsible only for their own actions.

Meditations in Motion

But what if each one of us took a little responsibility for increasing the amount of love and decreasing the amount of hate in the atmosphere? Lets’ begin with social media. Let me tell you a story about one of my Facebook friends, a woman I knew in real life, but have not seen in person for decades.

This person shared a post reminding everyone to be kind when discussing politics this election season. “Perfect“, I thought and “liked” the post. When I scrolled down, the very next post I came to was another by the same woman mocking members of one particular political party. Scrolling further revealed four more posts along the same lines. I unfriended her, which may not be a kind thing to do, but it decreased the amount of hate in my own social media circle. We can tell our friends that hateful comments or posts will not be tolerated, and then act on that statement if we need to. Let’s not give hate an audience.

If you want to talk politics with me, fine. I will talk politics until the cows come home. My dad was a politician during my formative years, so I learned from the best. I consider myself fairly well-informed; I form my opinions carefully and try to keep an open mind. I may disagree with you, and that’s OK. Not everyone, incredibly, believes exactly what I do. Discussing politics with me does not give you an excuse to attack my intelligence, moral values, or commitment. Let’s keep mockery, ridicule and taunting out of our discussions. Let’s not allow hate into our voices.

The verse at the beginning of this article expresses my view, more eloquently than I ever could, that we are all one people, all “members of the same body” and baptized in one Holy Spirit. Let’s not think of each other as an “us versus them” equation. Let us welcome the stranger, the other, the poor in spirit with the love and compassion we are called to give. We must stand united against hate, not divided by hate. Let us not allow hate into our thoughts.

We send our thoughts and prayers to those whose lives have been forever altered by hateful actions and it is the proper thing to do, but let’s do more than that. Let’s snuff out hate whenever we get a chance. Let’s not allow the seeds of hatred fertile ground in which to be planted. Let’s remember that we are all in this life together and that each life is precious and unique. Again, 1 Corinthians says it best.

“If one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it”.– 1 Corinthians 12:26

I am linking up with Reflections From Me for A Blogging Good Time, Debbie at Dare 2 Hear, Random-osity for Little Things Thursdays, It’s a Small Town Life for Thankful Thursday, Be Thee Inspired for her link up, Crystal Storms for Heart Encouragement, Susan B Mead for Dancing With Jesus, Crystal Twaddell for Fresh Market Friday, Spiritual Sundays for Welcome, Embracing the Unexpected for Grace and Truth, Anita Ojeda for Inspire Me Monday, Counting My Blessings for Faith ‘n Friends, Just a Second for Scripture and a Snapshot, Peabea Photography for Sunday Scripture Blessings, A Spirit of Simplicity for Selah, and Jessica and Amy at Live Life Well.

 

 

 

 

 

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55 comments

  1. I love this post and agree completely.
    Although just so you know, the hebrew verse translates along the lines as ‘blessed are god (we’re grateful to god), the infinity/creator of the universe who sanctifies us with commandments, with the commandment to wear ‘tzitzis’ – a four cornered garment with strings meant to remind the wearer that the world is created.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I studied politics and religion as a double major while in university so I’m no stranger to a good heated conversation. But I always try to make sure my end of it is respectful. And I do the same thing with Facebook friends. Or at least I did when I used my account on a regular basis. I’ve unfriended people I’ve known my entire life because I can’t stomach their overly religiously hate filled posts. It makes me ashamed to know I have them in my own circle of “friends” people I grew up in a church with.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow! Politics AND religion! 2 topics of conversation that will get you in trouble every time. I understand your feelings about your FB friends. I had to swear off FB during the time before the mid-term elections. I go on Twitter because almost all of my followers are runners, and only do running/fitness posts.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hehe they are two topics that get me into some pretty interesting conversations! But I loved studying them both and how they interconnected. Especially when I was in my upper years and specializing a little more. I don’t go on FB at all anymore. The last post I made was in July although I just sent a picture from Instagram to my FB. But that’s been it since the summer. I only keep it to use the chat and I don’t have to actually go on the website to use the chat haha

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  3. Laurie, in general, I agree with your stated position, but when I think of our public figures it’s hard to ignore who is famous for his mockery, ridicule and taunting. I believe our national discourse has evolved out of that. As a result, we have all turned into middle-schoolers, quick to point out who isn’t like us and form into tribes that exclude. When I look around in my super-conservative town, I see people giving the middle finger to civility. Confederate flags flying that leave many feeling oppressed or ashamed. People shouting against “the Mexicans” at our Halloween parade. At some point, one feels that a conversation is useless, we lash-out at those around us. Sorry to disagree so early on a pretty fall morning.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Jeff, you are right, of course about whom we all think of when we hear “mockery, ridicule, and taunting”. Nevertheless, I still feel as though when we stoop to that level, then we have 2 sides acting like jerks and no one acting like an adult. There is no other choice than to escalate the name-calling, petty stuff that I try to avoid. It just creates too much stress. As you know, I live in a very conservative area, too. I recently volunteered for a young woman running for Congress who refused to stoop to the level of her opponent, who was spreading fear, lies, and hate. Of course, she lost by double-digits at the polls, but I would vote for her for president in a heartbeat. She also took no corporate PAC money. Pretty impressive! I agree with you that conversations are useless. I think we need to show our true colors by not accepting hate as normal and removing it from our lives. If more of us would do that, we could reduce the amount of hate in the world and make it less socially acceptible.

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  4. I am so glad the mid-term elections are over Laurie … no more ads, no more hate-filled dialogue (well hopefully anyway). I am a Canadian citizen here on a green card for the past 52 years, so I could not vote. I have two friends who have been all about politics … it seems they are still griping from the election in 2016 but I digress. My one friend is strictly an e-mail buddy, not FB, and she “announced” this morning that she would be scarce on her e-mail today due to the outcome of last night’s election. She is a R and a passionate Trump supporter. My FB friend continues to spew hate about anything R and specifically Trump. I have not gotten a respite from it in so long that my head hurt.

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      • Yes, everything about politics is ugly and the day after the elections was a shining example wasn’t it? My green card just means I am a permanent resident alien and I think I can stay here forever but I need to renew my green card every 10 years. However … it was not always like that. I moved here with my parents in 1966 at age 10. For years, all the three of us did every January was mail in a postcard regarding our status. We each got a postcard at the post office which we filled out and mailed to the Immigration Bureau. We signed and dated the card and stated our address – that was it. Then, even before the Patriot Act, it started getting a little more complicated. In 1995 I had to go to the police station for ink fingerprints, a photograph in black and white with a side profile and then I had to go to the border when I came in (Canadian/American border at Windsor) and they issued a card. My mother and I did this in 1995. She was okay, but my fingerprints were not clear enough and I had to be reprinted right there at the border. In 2005, it was after 9/11 and the Patriot Act, and a green card would not allow me to cross into Canada – I now needed a passport. And my green card was captured electronically – the picture, the prints, the signature. My prints were not clear as I have been typing for years and worn down my fingers, so I have no deep imprints/whorls on my fingertips. I had to return to the Immigration Bureau for a new electronic capture. In 2015 it was a real mess! I filed my paperwork with Nebraska and paid a fee (around $500.00 or $550.00 – can’t remember now) and got an appointment in Detroit at the Immigration Bureau. I told the person taking my prints that they would have to do ink prints as well and explained why. The person said “I know what I’m doing – we don’t need ink prints.” Three months later I got a letter from the Department of Homeland Security to go back for new prints – the electronic capture was “illegible”. (Grrrr.) Went back for new fingerprints, electronic and ink prints. Two months later, another letter from the Department of Homeland Security – I had to go to my local police station to have a certification done that I had lived at the same address for 10 years and never been in trouble with the law in my city for 10 years. It was humiliating. I got the certificate that I had not been in trouble with the law and I told the woman I had lived there almost 50 years at that time – she gave me my form ($5.00 more to do this) and I had to send it certified mail (more money). Finally, I got my card in June – I had applied in September of 2014; received the card in June of 2015. Just incredible and anyone who knows me knows I am the last person anyone should be suspect of. I am told that I should renew my Canadian passport before I go to renew my green card in 2025 as I would appear to be a person without a country. I used to travel a lot but since I stopped traveling and I have no relatives in Canada (or anywhere else for that matter – I have no family) I never renewed the passport. So, I’ll think about doing that passport renewal next year. To me, Canada is a stone’s throw away and I should not have to go through this effort to get a green card, that at one time required minimal effort, not to mention expense, to renew.

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      • Yes it was Laurie and I am not looking forward to the next time, so that’s why I am seriously thinking of getting a passport to see if it can be an easier process. My green card picture was not very flattering – hopefully that was not the reason – ha ha. They take it on an angle so one ear is exposed and also from the front as well (head on like a driver’s license) and it is always in B&W But their main bugaboo was the prints which were illegible. People who play the piano also have very faint fingerprints. I learned that long before this first fingerprint ordeal back in 2005, from a co-worker. She had been a legal secretary for quite a few years, married for a second time, and had two young children with the second marriage. Her young daughter attended an elementary school where the police came in and wanted to fingerprint the kids in the event they got lost or kidnapped. So the kids would not be scared of the big, burly policeman taking the ink prints, the parents were asked to go ahead of their child. Sue had no discernible prints and she explained she had been a secretary for years, and most of those years on a typewriter where secretaries pounded the keys much harder … the policeman said it was not unusual for typists or piano players to have poor fingerprints.

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      • I had to get my fingerprints taken for my FBI background check when I taught school. I had to go back and get them redone because they were not legible. It must be a common problem. Luckily for me, the fingerprint place was only about 15 minutes away.

        Liked by 1 person

      • The first time the immigration bureau was next to the office building where I worked. That was in 2005. The second time, they moved it to a brand-new building and in Detroit. But I worked off-site then (and now) and, on top of it, the appointment was in February and two days after the Superbowl Sunday big 13-inch snowstorm we had, which paralyzed the City of Detroit and buses and cars could not get around for many days. I did not want to drive, nor take a bus and I hired a limo from Metrocar to take me there. So I had to pay another $80.00 or so dollars to ensure I was not late for the appointment because a no-show or late deemed your application was pulled. So it was more expense to me and I should have mentioned that to you in an earlier post. I was livid especially since I had told the person taking the fingerprints of the previous problems. It was the driver from Metrocar who had dual citizenship (Canadian and Swiss) but lived here in Michigan who suggested I was a person without a country and should correct it before my next application process. He said he has renewed his green card without incident as he has to have a valid passport to visit family both in Canada and Switzerland. Of course he did not have the fingerprint issues. I did not know you had to have an FBI check to teach school I can understand that now with all the criminal activity, etc. But when you started teaching after graduation same time as me (1978) and after you returned when your kids were older. That’s amazing. We had two school districts in Michigan on lockdown today for various bomb threats – they shut down the entire school district in both cases. They are searching internet service providers to detect the perpetrator – no luck yet. It is a scary world we live in, so I tried not to take offense with the DHS’s picking on me but I am such an unlikely candidate for them to be worrying about.

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  5. I am not a very political person, and you will probably never see me posting memes on FB (not political ones, cute animal ones are a different story).

    I’m also not sure that there really is an increase in hate crimes, although there is absolutely an increase of the reporting of such crimes. My mom always shakes her head, wondering what this world is coming to. The same woman that had most of her aunts & uncles & all her grandparents who didn’t leave Europe wiped out.

    You can have very different political views and yet remain friends or even married — we have joked for years that we cancel each other out when we vote, and it’s true; we do. We don’t discuss politics much, but we do occasionally, and yet here we are, still married.

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    • Your mom’s story is incredible! I sometimes wonder what this world is coming to also! I find that the people I personally come in contact with are generally very kind, but it’s the hate we read about in the news!

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  6. There’s so much kindness out there but I know that hate is a real problem. I try to be a little more tolerant and to be a good listener. I don’t have to agree….but I can listen if someone wants to share their views. I volunteer for Hospice so I get a lot of people that want to talk. But like I said at the beginning….there seems to be more kindness among people I come in contact with than hate. Thanks for giving us posts to think about!

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  7. Facebook 😦 Not much on there anymore that is positive, at least in my experience. Thanks for linking up today! I appreciate it and hope to see you again next week.

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  8. In Australia we don’t talk politics a lot, but I couldn’t agree more that there is a way to do it and a way not to. Being hateful and cruel and not being open minded is not the way to talk politics or anything else. I am glad to see you unfriended that person in order to keep your social media a happy place to be. Thank you so much for sharing this post with #ABloggingGoodTime

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  9. I have learned (as my Grandmother always hoped I would), that sometimes it is good to keep your mouth shut. I can believe something without needing to change everyone else’s mind. Knowing that has brought a new confidence for me.

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    • Yes, so true. My mom used to have a bunch of sayings that were lost on me at the time, but which I appreciate now. “You’ll catch more flies with honey than vinegar” is one of them! 🙂

      Like

  10. Like Rebecca above, I tend to just keep my mouth shut. I believe by listening we are far more likely to discover how much more we agree than disagree. I have a dear friend whom I love and we are at polar opposites on a point, yet we maintain the utmost respect and love for one another! Thanks for bravely sharing this!

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  11. I, too, am tired of the vitriol. I have strong political opinions, but I’m also able to allow other people to have different points of view without denigrating them as a person. God help us and our nation!

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  12. I do think that hatred is on the increase. However, I am happy to see when I’m out and about that the majority of people are still very decent. I agree in not spreading. So many times on social media, it seems people forward on posts without thinking how a reader might feel about it, but in the real world, most people don’t come up and start giving advice on how one should feel about things. The scriptures on the tongue are so right. It can be mean spirited. A smile and nice word when out and about and even on social media goes much further than the hurt even innocently can cause. I do not at all understand the senseless killings of people for no reason and then the person commits suicide anyway. I pray we can somehow find some resolve for that dilemma. A great thought provoking post this morning. If one member is honored all rejoice and that is so true in our world. We see it all the time how happy someone being honored makes those around them and others feel. We rejoice. On the flip sometimes too though, when someone is not being honored, we should never jump on that bandwagon. Have a great week.

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    • Thank you for your very thoughtful comment, Peabea. You are exactly right – I see words on social media that people would never say to each other in conversation. It’s incredible! I never thought about it before. I do agree that there is a lot of goodness in the world. We need to look for that and celebrate it! You have a great week too!

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  13. I think that the supposed anonymity of the internet makes many people feel like they can say whatever they want and that there aren’t real consequences. As others have said, people say things on FB that they would NEVER say to a person’s face. 😦 I enjoy talking politics and have had many intelligent debates and discussions with people in real life about various political topics, and some respectful conversations on FB. But sadly, in the last couple of years I’ve seen that even some of my friends who are devout Christians will post political things on FB that are decidedly hateful and intolerant, and essentially shout down anyone who dissents. This is not helpful in resolving issues, nor is it a good witness. I rarely post political things on FB any more because of that, and I have had to unfollow, unfriend, and even block certain people because they could not seem to be respectful. If those of us that follow Christ would commit to being kind and respectful, even when we vehemently disagree with policies or opinions, the internet – and the world – would be a better place.

    Excellent post!!

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    • Yes, I guess you are right. Anonymity makes people bolder, more likely to say something hurtful. Most of my FB friends are people I know in real life, but I don’t know any of my Twitter followers. My Twitter followers are mostly runners, however, and we never post on political topics. It is a nice little bubble of enthusiasm and positivity in my social media world. The woman I described in my story about FB is a professed Christian, but to mock the half of the population who have political views different from hers is not a good way to portray Christian values. I agree with you absolutely, those of us who follow Christ must commit to being kind and respectful to all, even those with whom we disagree. Thank you for your comment!

      Like

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