STop LOok LISTEN!

it baffles me to no end how people are so quick to speak out of their own unintelligence, acknowledging to the entire world that they are mere fools. if i do not know about a certain topic i am quick to concede my ignorance and ask several questions in hopes i can learn more.
for instance.
i recently was talking with someone at Joe’s coffee (which is located on 5th ave and 13th street in new york city) about the relationship between the Chinese government and the United States. although i want there to be a positive relationship between the two biggest superpowers in the world certain things seem to be standing in the way.
my friend, we will call him/her dr. e thought that regardless of how we perceive the communist Chinese government we must accept them and their economic stipulations and basically give them what they want, because they are equals.
though i was not arguing whether or not we as humans were equals i did argue that they weren’t playing fair in the world spectrum. i brought up the point that the Chinese government is oddly building up their Chinese military and arms supplies. They (Chinese investors) also just bid on an American oil firm (which could endanger its security).
He gave me mumbling about how they are oppressed and we are only adding to the oppression, but i reminded him that the Chinese are a communist government, and communism is a known oppressor. i also informed my pro-life friend that the Chinese government only allows one child per family and establishes a military enforced “birth quota.” i don’t think dr. e believed me as he had never heard this “myth” before.
after he backed off the conversation he began to complain about his job situation and how hard it is to find a decent job, and i of course had to drive the nail in the coffin by bringing it back to the fact that China has harsh labor conditions and are really making it hard to compete with slave like wages & on top of that we have a huge trade deficit (nearly 200 billion) which take jobs away from here in the US and send them to China.
he looked foiled, truth is hard to swallow.
either way, we moved onto conversations about a wilco documentary i watched last night. but the real question remains. why do people desire to sound so psuedo-intelligent when really they have no idea about the topic??
i am sure i have been guilty of it. but people can see through your ignorance, because they know!
a current example are all these anti current government stickers/protesters here in NYC. do they really know why they don’t like Bush or do they do that because its the thing to do here. and if they know why do they know both sides of the story? have they met with Bush or anyone in his administration and know what's going on behind the scenes?
i am not saying Bush is right or wrong, im saying I DON’T KNOW. and that is better than a solid stance with unstable reasoning.
what about those people that send me e-mails about how im not a Christian, or i am ashamed of God because i don’t give a Christ pep rally from stage? do they know my heart? do they even care? if they care so much why don’t they take a stand at their college or their job? i believe its because it is easier to point fingers and type an e-mail than to actually get off the couch and do something with your life.
you have to learn both sides. you need to take into account your benightedness and learn. but if you continue in your current vein of erudition and never stray into other cultures, religions, thought, or philosophies than you will slowly narrow yourself into a corner of self-righteous ignorance.
i recently had the privilege to play a show at a prestigious religious college. i admired the campus, the student's and faculty treated me tremendous, and the aura of knowledge and learning seemed everywhere. i strayed around for a good while before the show (which is very like me) and ended up in the campus bookstore. there i began to look through the magazines, than wandered into the textbook section, then into the hardback/paperback books for sale. i suddenly realized a peculiar pattern; all the books i had encountered were coming from one angle of thought. it seemed all the books were from one corner of the room looking out at all the other schools of thought and trying to reason why the others were wrong, why the school’s philosophy was right, and what to do about it. i even saw a book called “how to deal with other cultures.” no joke! i couldn't believe it, not “how to learn other cultures” or “how to appreciate other cultures” but “how to DEAL with other cultures.” hey, i love hot-dogs, wall street, and baseball as much as the next American but i do NOT think we are the center of the universe (ok so i don't like hot-dogs or baseball but whatever). the point of all this is
LISTEN, DON’T TALK. LEARN BEFORE YOU TEACH. BE OBJECTIVE BEFORE YOU JUDGE. READ BEFORE YOU WRITE. EMBRACE OTHERS KILL CULTURE EGOISM.

Comments

Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
a clever blog
Anonymous said…
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ILoveMeadows said…
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MH said…
I concur. Completely.

...A year or so ago, I read a short essay titled "Christianity is for Losers." It was wonderful--essentially a paper reminding Christians that they should not be taking on airs around people who weren't Christians. Actions speak volumes louder than words.

/End tangent.

Some schools refuse to allow students to read books of major literary influence because of the views in the book. I find it ridiculous. I read (and enjoy) books with not just Christian views, but with atheistic ideas and anything else. I'm more interested in the plot, conflict, and the story itself then in confining myself to one brand of writing. For people to question someone's faith because they don't constantly preach is silly. I support attitude over words any day--thanks for being someone like that.
Kaila said…
Stephen,
VERY clever post and i agree 100%. The thing you said about the book titled "How to deal with other cultures" shocked me when i read that! Christianity is supposed to be a religion where we don't judge other people. And by the title of the book, I can tell it's very judgemental. Not to mention if you don't know anything about it then you should even say anything about it. I mean, how can they have something like that at a place like that! That amuses me and it's great to know that you feel the same.

Kaila
jewoce said…
that was a beautiful no wait.. lovely entry.

[just a random note. when i had first read the title of this post i thought that this might be talking about elementary school or something along the lines of that... only because school started today would i even think of something like that.]
Anonymous said…
there's jerry falwell for ya
inevitable said…
you are mine. there is a lot that i don't know. but i will learn...and if i don't i will be happy to say "i don't know"
Jen said…
May I also add that if their firstborn is not a son, they kill or abandon their own child? This breaks my heart.

Unfortunately, Stephen, so many of us forget there's TWO sides to every story and we are quick to jump to our own conclusions before really getting all the facts, aren't we?

It's one of the reasons why I don't talk about politics with people. I don't know enough to form an opinion so I'm not going to sit there and prattle on about something I have no idea about.
Willy said…
Dude. Is this really Stephen Christian from Anberlin? Awesome. Anberlin is one of my favorite bands. Nice blog, dude. Comment back if you can.
Anonymous said…
I really enjoyed this blog, it made me think about how I am living my life and how I should be living......... I would also like to add that I think you have an amazing heart.
I'll try to email you soon
--Angie
John said…
Funny...wish I had the time to stop around in a coffee shop and have an "educated" conversation.

I believe that people take solid stances with unsteady foundations because they believe in "security". To not have a solid stance would be "indecisive" or maybe even "unsafe". I see this happen a lot in the church, especially where I live (San Francisco). Men take stances because this is what the church preaches...that we should be firmly rooted in your beliefs, which translates to having "solid" beliefs, no matter how firm the roots are.

Christians are beginning to miss what being a Christian is...not so much having rallies, crazy worship, or stuff like that. They forget it's all about love, and that God is love.

Karl Barth, who some say is the most prolific theologian of the 20th century, was teaching at University of Chicago a while back. At the press conference afterwards, someone asked him, "What is the most profound Biblical truth you have encountered in all your years?" Without batting an eye, he answered, "Jesus loves me this I know, for the Bible tells me so."

AND PEOPLE MISS THAT. They think, oh gee, that's great, because what he learned as a kid is still applicable, and even profound as an adult! NO! The most profound thing is that JESUS CHRIST LOVES YOU. And that's SO crazy. It should be enough to blow down walls of cultural egotism and hypocritical arrogance.

"We love because He first loved us."
- 1 John 4:19
Cori said…
Stephen,

I enjoy reading your writing so much.

China is close to my heart. My parents-in-law just recently adopted two baby girls from China. One was born to a teenage mother who was forced to give her up, the other abandoned on the front steps of an orphanage. Both are three and recovering from serious heart surgeries (doing exceptionally well). They are darling and I love them.

As far as close mindedness goes, as you said in your blog if you don't know both sides of a story you can't really form a solid opinion. How can we even be sure of what we believe in (and be able to stand for it) if we have not studied other points of view.

I would love to have a conversation with you next time I'm in NYC. I could learn so much from you :)

Peace,
Cori
sakana said…
stephen, i appreciate you addressing this topic.

in my country japan, an overwhelming number of people vote to Liberal Democratic Party without even trying to learn flaws of LDP's policy, what it really has done. i don't mean to say they shouldn't vote to LDP, i mean, a lot of people even don't know how ignorant they are. how they're sticking to a closed, narrow views, without eyes to look at other people's views.

as i am studying as an international student in the uk and living in a dorm with students from many differnt countries, i have been fully convinced how important it is to recognize differences and learn and respect them.
as talking with my Chinese friends, we both realize that we have had quite a few misunderstandings to each other. but we don't pretend not noticing them, but we stop together and learn each other. although there remain differences in ways of thinking, we can grow. we can also have oppotunities to look back and understand our own culture, politics and etc. more deeply from other perspectives.

i really don't know how about people in the usa, i should learn more, but at least i could say this;
as long as this world has people who speak their opinions without effort for learning, it will be difficult for us to work together and create a world which has no prejudice or racism.
Anonymous said…
I've always considered myself a Christian, but have sadly, stopped calling myself one because I hate to be associated with those who call themselves Christians yet put on airs, as someone else said, or who judge others and are not tolerant of other ways of life and religions. Besides, to me, in the end, God is God is God, whatever you call him.

I know we are supposed to shout it from the roof tops but to me its personal. It's easy to get "burned" by Christianity and/or the church and not want to be technically associated with that group anymore. I had a friend who was pestering me one day about not going to church, whilst I was online counseling cancer patients, myself having been one prior to that. To me, that is my church and at the time, was what God wanted me to be doing. But this Christian friend felt I was doing something wrong by not attending church with him.

Christians need to stop being so damn judgmental and just live your life. You don't have to shove it down people's throats or it will turn them off completely. And as someone else said, actions do speak louder than words. And if you are not educated on a subject, you don't have to pretend you are. Just my 2 cents.
JJ said…
Amen.
this is so true. I dislike those tha also sit around and do nothing, but voice an opinion about it all, and we can see through them.
good entry Stephen, well put.
jon said…
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Scooby said…
Amen brother. I often wonder about protesters myself. I was in St. Louis a couple of weeks back, and there were protesters marching for peace after a football game. The sad part was that they were harrassing people walking back from the game, cussing and pushing. Not to say a number of fans weren't doing their fair share of pushing and cussing, but how can you claim to be in favor of peace and react to trouble makers?
laurafee said…
well stated Stephen...
Story of a Girl said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Story of a Girl said…
idk. i try to not give an opinion and say i'm not interested in the subject. I suppose that is better than making something up, lol.

but let me say, i do learn a lot from topics that i've never made the effort to look into...thanks for writing about so many different topics on here.

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