Sunday, September 28, 2014

Labels Shmabels

I've had the dubious honor of being labeled my entire life, but not for inclusion into any special clubs or groups, it's always been for exclusionary purposes.  The interesting fact is, the labels have varied through the years, but the purpose has seemed consistent.  The reason I mention this at all is to address the two videos I ran last week in the Goshen Gazette.  One, by a pretty famous gentleman who claims to be both liberal and an atheist and the other video by a self-proclaimed Tea Party spokesman . . ."G-d and Country" kind of guy.  I don't agree with either of these men's politics or religion, but we all three, agree on Israel, and so I ran their videos on that specific subject.  It did something for me that I can't really articulate, but it was quite illuminating.  How much do we miss by our preconceived notions due to labels?

My labeled life began early, by my mom, but I won't go into those.  I'd like to address and debunk a few of the social stigmas, political preconceptions, and religious ruckuses that keep us from hearing others who just might agree on some issues, but take their stand in a "different camp."  Due to Bill Maher's outspoken disrespect and professed disbelief of a Creator, I wouldn't have guessed him to be such a well researched proponent of Israel!  I'm so glad I looked past his own self-professed claims.  As for Wild Bill for America, I don't think our political, religious, or racial thinking aligns much, but in a circle graph, there would be areas of overlap.  He's one of those guys whom I'd love to hear share how he comes to express the perspective he does.

These men, tout their labels and belong to their various groups of shared perspective.  I'm going to mention the other end of that continuum, because I know I'm not the only one . . . When I began school, I remember myself and one boy being called to the teacher's desk.  We had to turn in our silver, pointed scissors, for green handled rounded tip scissors.  We were the "lefties." I was also ahead of the desegregation of civil rights, so I was the darkest child at school.  Back then non-whites were referred to as "colored."  Ah the labels begin so early, and truly they serve more to divide than bring acceptance.

Democrats or progressives tend to refer to me as a conservative, because I oppose big government on religious grounds.  Republicans refer to me as liberal, because I believe one must be Torah observant to enforce Torah laws, in the areas of punishment and war.  Most Christians refer to me as legalistic or a Judaizer.  Just last week, I was even called a pretender by a good Christian man and openly lied to, in an attempt for an individual to use a thread as a platform or soapbox against my beliefs.  The Jewish folk aren't usually name callers, but oy vey, the Torah proselytes from Christianity have labels for everyone who disagrees.

In my years of social media, I've been outspoken enough in my beliefs to be slammed, unfriended, and shunned by the religious, but never by unbelievers, except family . . . All of my "friends" or associates have access to the same posts, I presume . . .  Although I refer to myself as a Follower of Messiah, I've had a great many more labels by the folks claiming the same.  We're not all going to agree on everything.  Nobody has everything right.  Torah tells us, and Messiah reiterated; there are four kinds of folk in the world.

Atheists may have never tasted the goodness of our Creator.  Those who put G-d and country on the same level, may not realize this tradition is idolatry.  I'm so glad I looked beyond both of these men's "labels" and heard their message.  It's not up to me to label and discard human beings!  My job is to speak the truth and pray.  I'm so thankful the Creator of the universe looked beyond all my labels, both deserved and undeserved . . . and labeled me "Forgiven and Chosen."

But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvellous light:  Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of YHWH: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. ~ the Apostle Peter

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