Aretha Franklin sang her signature hit R E S P E C T in 1967 as a declaration from a strong, confident woman, who demands the"respect" of her man.
Now 40 years later Aretha's cry for R E S P E C T has been hijacked and ratcheted up with evening news 'shows' reporting/exploiting headlines of sexual misconduct (and worse), bullying, systematic white supremacy, white privilege, (white bread), racism, reverse racism, critical race theory, envy, greed, hatred, and our Universities filled with melting fragile snow-flake students claiming 'micro-aggression' by the man. Whoever the man is.
Well, and as Red Green shares in the 'Man Prayer' .. "I'm a man, I can do better, If I try.. I guess.. Amen.
Don't get me wrong, injustice is a serious matter, but truth often is lost in our GUILTY before proven INNOCENT 'intersectional' virtue signaling society.
The above mentioned microaggressions are defined as the everyday verbal, nonverbal, and environmental slights, snubs, or insults, whether intentional or unintentional, which communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative messages to target persons based solely upon their marginalized group membership. In fact in today's progressive thinking.. if I am offended by your views I can consider your words 'an act of violence' towards and can retaliate with real violence like a punch to your nose, or key your car door, or worse.. So beware!
By this 'standard' I have been microaggressed as a white man with a rural Wisconsin upbringing lacking economic opportunities or exposure to a racially diverse culture. Now that I am older I am again microaggressed for wearing bi-focals, and hearing aides by my younger better seeing, hearing, and better looking society.
Truth is I am NOT microaggressed, and I believe it is all 'microaggressed-hogwash'. Life is good but has never been a level playing field. So let's all determine to.. BUCK UP BUTTERCUP!
But back to Aretha's call for RESPECT.. Why do we make RESPECT so complicated? In Matthew 22:36-40 Jesus taught us the two greatest commandments ‘Love the Lord your God' with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind .. and.. ‘Love your neighbor as yourself'.
If I truly love my neighbor my words and deeds will demonstrate respect, and a nice byproduct is it's difficult to feel micro-aggressed if my focus is on God and others.. leaving little time for all things ME.
As I mull over this blog, I remember a couple years ago I had a job where my boss and I had honest mutual dislike for each other. I believed I was disrespected and mistreated leading to a mutual parting of the ways. Looking back I know I should have handled this better.
Love God? check, love this boss? I did not appreciate, or RESPECT him so loving him like myself wasn't happening.. but it should have. I put my hurt ego over humbling myself and representing Christ. Being disrespected by my boss was BEYOND a microaggression to me. He told me he did not like me, and I did not quietly work on improving this. I would follow orders, but if the look on my face could tell a thousand words.. then he knew I did not like him or respect him. Two wrongs certainly did not make a right, and I was responsible for my part/wrong in this failed workplace scenario.
So my prayer coming from this bad experience is to get my eyes off of ME, love God, and care for others... even when the others are bosses from a no good very bad day.
So today I pray we all love God with all our hearts, and uses each of us to be the hands and feet for those who are in need, even maybe your enemies. (note these are God's two greatest commandments, not two greatest suggestions) May our hearts, words, and actions always be compassionate and RESPECTFUL to others in this hurting world, and I pray for God's loving presence and perspective when we are disrespected and/or mistreated by others.
Jeff (micro-REgressed?) Larson
p.s. On a lighter note, I would like to share a clip regarding Injustice inherent in the system at the time of King Arthur. Repression Inherent in the System. <-- click here for a chuckle
Labor Day to me marks the last day of summer as it falls nicely on the first Monday in September.
MY LABOR.. over the years has included such occupations as grounds keeper on a golf course, Logger, convenience store attendant, computer programmer, sports official, and school bus driver. Now in my 63rd year of wandering this Earth I am semi-retired while driving the above mentioned school bus. .. oh, and I draw a cartoon or two or three.
another kind of labor day ----->
So with Labor Day here I am reflecting on these sobering social & economic times where the response to Covid-19 has complicating the employment and budgets of many. With this and more muddling my life I am choosing to AGAIN claim the great scripture..
Trust in the Lord with all my heart, in all my ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your paths.
TRUST is a little 5 letter word (infinitely better than any 4-letter profane word) and the above scripture should be spoken out loud in my opinion. I can reflect on the words all I want, but I then need to come to the conclusion to Trust God. In my opinion it would not be trust if it was easy.
Just like walking on water for Peter made no logical sense, neither do the answers to the many of the troubles we face. Walking on water is of course a miracle and not a parlor trick or slight of hand.. er.. slight of foot.. BUT maybe the answers to my prayers are your prayers are no less a miracle even if they appear to be more subtle.
For example when a person prays for a tragic family situation that seems hopeless and rolling out of control BUT prayer intercedes and life no longer is hopeless but is back on track.. that may be GOD'S SUBTLE MIRACLE. When you have no way of paying your mortgage and the deadline is here, and you work so hard, and you prayer so hard, then TRUST God.. and somehow the funds are available.. it may be a subtle miracle of God.
On the sobering side of prayer we do find man has free will and sometimes must accept that God's will and his providence is bigger than any circumstance. Bad things do happen to good people. This is a fallen world with much sadness and tragedy. We do hurt, we are fragile, there is sickness, and we all will die.. BUT this does NOT discount the the loving miracles of God.
I believe it was Albert Einstein who said "Coincidences are miracles where God wished to remain annonymous."
Of course right after Labor Day we return to rush hour traffic, work, or school, but as I reflect on Labor Day.. I hope and pray for a day to regroup and recoop our energies for another season of trusting and serving our Lord. Let's take the lid off of what is possible when we trust God.
I pray today for God's care to be on display in big and small ways. Where we are truly BBYD = Blessed Beyond our Dreams. May God find us obedient on this Labor day and those other 364 days too.
Jeff (not breaking a sweat today) Larson
The ants go marching one by one hooray! hooray! The marching of the little people is what makes this world work. You see there are presidents, kings, superstar athletes, CEOs of major corporations, and then there is me. There are men of great strength, Hollywood celebrities, super models, great authors, and there is me.
So where do you fit into this world? Are you a superstar or a worker bee? Do you run a major corporation or are you just part of life's ant farm? Truth is I like it here on the farm. Just another face in the sea of faces.. and you know what they say.. all ants look alike.
I have not polled any ants or bees, but I think the message they have is being about the business that needs to be done, and not being jealous of the queen bees or the bossy foreman of your ant farm staff.
So how does that fit in with the body of Christ? Selfless service and simply doing what needs to be done no matter if you are the next Billy Graham, the next church janitor, or even.. a cartoonist!
Whether you are the head of a corporation, work in the mail room, or a server at the local pie shop. What if you are a mom buried with the responsibilities of caring for your preschool children, or a teacher of 4th graders, or a senior widow woman slowed by old age? All one body of many parts, and all parts important. 1 Corinthians 12
The list of possibilities go on and on.. , BUT..
What a life this could be if we were all happy living in God's ant farms or being His little worker bees. A life not burdened with the status of man but instead living for the Kingdom of God.
God's Bugs? what a high calling! Maybe the bar should set a bit higher, lest the classic Hymns for us 'bugs' be The Ants Go Marching One By One, Hooray! and the Flight of the Bumblebee.
note: This is not a call to a life of underachievement where you settle for less than what God has called you, but simply a call to be useful and to serve as God leads in the moments that make up each day.
My prayer for each of today is to be true to who God made us. This makes God smile, and leads us to a place of contentment and success.
Jeff ( a bit buggy ) Larson
The mutterings on life and faith by cartoonist Jeff Larson