Posted on October 11, 2013
First, some obvious stuff.
We live in quite a diverse world. Lots of different people have lots of different opinions on things and issues and ideas. Now, I’m not one who is running into the grocery store with my gun screaming about socialism, but I do think that there are lots of different agendas being pushed out there. Some are good, some aren’t. Some I agree with and some I don’t (and I won’t get into which is which in this post. That misses the point). But the truth is, everyone has their own idea of how they think things should go. Everyone has their own idea of how people should act. Everyone has their own idea of what people should believe. In one sense, that’s the beauty of freedom. In another sense, it causes a ridiculous amount of division between people.
Think of all of the conversations you have been in where you have disagreed with someone. Maybe it’s big topics like politics or religion. Maybe it’s as simple as where you and your friends should eat for lunch or Apple vs. Android. We are constantly divided.
Watch the news stations and you will see the right doing everything they can to oppose our president and the left. Watch the left and you will see them doing everything they can to oppose Speaker Boehner and the right. They are constantly blaming each other for the problems of this nation and never once considering taking responsibility for their own missteps.
Look at theology. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in or overheard a Calvinism vs. Arminianism or Creation vs. Evolution debate. I’ve heard people question the character and even salvation of others, including mine, because of their stance on the topic as if your opinion on election and how old you think the earth is somehow determines your love for Jesus.
I’ve seen people, and myself have, argued for the sake or arguing with our parents. Likewise, I’ve seen parents control their children simply to show their authority.
Virtue is something our society doesn’t talk about that much anymore, but all of us still think about it. The thing is, now that we live in a post-modern society, everyone has their own idea of what is virtuous and what isn’t. And I’m okay with that. I’m not necessarily arguing against that. It just gets confusing.
Some people find tolerance to be a virtue and some find confidence to be. Some find being pro-life a virtue and some find being vegan to be one. However, whatever some people consider a virtue, someone else considers a vice. And this is where the problem lies. In our post-modern society, there is no one, standard virtue that people can agree on.
I’m not proposing the end of post-modernism, but I am proposing a universal virtue that was long forgotten and is in need of a recovery. It’s not tolerance. It’s not conservativism. It’s not veganism. It’s not even faith.
I’m pretty sure the last person to talk about respect was Aretha Franklin and all she did was spell it for us. But apparently it meant a lot to her. Even though that song is a bit of a joke now, I would argue that the good ole’ R-E-S-P-E-C-T should mean quite a bit to us as well.
“To be one, to be united is a great thing. But to respect the right to be different is maybe even greater.” – Bono
Here’s what I’m not saying. I’m not saying that we should tolerate each other. I’m also not saying that we should like each other. Respect surpasses tolerance and transcends liking each other. Respect is seeing value in each person, even in differing worldviews.
Unity is not possible without Respect. I believe that as a nation and as a church, unity is essential. Our country is called the United States of America and Jesus prayed that His Church would be one as He and the Father are one. Unity is essential to how we are supposed to live as both Americans and Christians. However, unity without respect is impossible.
Just because your opinion makes sense to you doesn’t mean that you get to go around being disrespectful to whoever you want to. Your words matter and it’s important that we chose them carefully.
Christians are supposed to be the most respectful people in the whole world. We are, after all, representing the God of the universe and if we aren’t respectful to the people who don’t know him, how will that make them see God Himself?
Really what my generation craves isn’t authenticity or power. It’s respect. We want to live in a world that isn’t dominated by immaturity. Respect isn’t a revolutionary idea. It’s a basic one that’s lost amidst critics and cynics.
Respect deserves to be a primary virtue. Is respectfully disagreeing without demonizing the opposition to much to ask? Jesus told us to love our enemy and I think even saying someone you disagree with is your enemy is a stretch. How much more should we love and respect those people?
It’s okay to not see eye to eye on every issue. Your opponent isn’t dumb. They just see the world through slightly different lenses and experiences. And that, ironically enough, is what makes humanity beautiful.
In a world dominated by tweets, blogs, YouTube comments, Facebook statuses, and a 24 hour newsreel, we could all use a little Respect.
Be known as the most respectful person around.
Be respectful to liberals and conservatives.
Be respectful to Christians and Muslims (and atheists).
Be respectful to the young and the elderly.
Be respectful to white people and black people.
Be respectful to everyone.
Once we can respect each other again, then we can begin to have a real, civilized conversation again. But it all starts with respect.
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Posted on October 5, 2013
Fall Break is officially here and I could not be more excited. Seriously. I really needed a break from school. I love that DBU has a Fall Break. It’s definitely much needed.
To celebrate the beginning of Fall Break, Katie and I decided to go to the Denton Square last night to join in the First Friday fun. Turns out, Denton has a thing on the first Friday of every month called First Friday (surprise) where all of the shops and restaurants downtown stay open a little bit later and feature some special things like sales, live artists, food, music, wine (if you’re 21 of course), and more! You would think that native Dentonites like us would have known about this, but we didn’t. But now we do and I’m pretty sure we’re gonna go every month now. It was awesome.
We went to several different stores like Scrap, which is a non-profit where you can donate all of your scrap craft materials to be resold and recycled to other people for their art projects and such. They had an artist in the back making Japanese Kusudama. His name was Stephen Labonte and he actually sings in Katie’s dad’s choir at First Denton. It was cool running into a familiar face showcasing a talent not a lot of people knew he had! We went to the DIME Store which is Denton’s physical Etsy. Everything in there is handmade by people local to Denton. We talked with the owner, Shelley, for a while about the store, school, her kids, and stuff like that. She’s a really sweet lady. If you’re in there, tell her I say hi.
We also went into UNT On the Square to see the UNT student’s artwork. It was really abstract and ironic but that’s to be expected in this town. They had these Japanese dumplings, meatballs, and cheese in the back. I liked the Japanese dumplings but Katie wasn’t much of a fan. But those meatballs were insanely good and we could agree on that. The Courthouse itself had a little exhibit going on inside on the history of Denton. It had some cool stuff in it but was small and we were both pretty ADD at that point. But they had sweet tea so it was worth the stop.
I brought my camera along and snapped some pictures along the way. Whenever I’m just walking around I normally just snap pictures with my iPhone and move on but I wanted to challenge myself by sacrificing the convenience of my phone and only take pictures with my Canon DSLR (T2i). It was definitely worth it. I shot using only my 50mm lens. I’m pretty happy with how they turned out. If you’re interested in seeing more of my photography, check out my productions site here.
This post was obviously a lot different than past posts. As I’m sure you know, with any craft, it takes time to figure out your voice and who you are and what you want to do. I’m kind of going through that right now with this blog. I’m trying out a lifestyle post like this to see if I like how it feels and to see if you guys like it and want to see more stuff like this. Obviously, I do love writing on stuff like Jesus, dating, creativity, politics, and more. Trust me, I have some posts in the works right now about all of those things. But at this point, I’m just trying things out. Let me know what you thought of this. Did you like it? Could you not care less about our evening on the town? I want to know where to take this blog and I need your help. You guys are awesome for always showing up and I want to put out great content for you. Thanks for listening!
Don’t be shy, you can follow me on Twitter here: @ianharber
Posted on September 16, 2013
So, I got published to the RELEVANT Magazine website. I’ve been thinking about this topic for probably around three years now and it is something I care a lot about. I wrote this article for RELEVANT because I felt like it is a message that needs to be heard beyond my own circle of friends and readers. I appreciate all of your support and I hope you enjoy this article.
American Christians have a peculiar fascination with the Persecuted Church.
We love books such as Radical and The Insanity of God that show what it is like to completely sell out to God and sacrifice everything for the Gospel.
I think there are several reasons we love this. We love seeing other Christian’s faithfulness and sacrifice. We love seeing the Gospel touch people’s lives in some of the least Christian-friendly places.
But I think there is another reason we are so fascinated by it all: In a way, we’re jealous.
Posted on September 9, 2013
I’ve read a lot about Christian dating recently. Not because I went out looking for articles on how us twenty-something Christians should be dating each other, but because I’ve seen countless different articles shared by hundreds of different people on my Facebook news feed. Some are great, some are horrible, some are better than others. But all of them have one thing in common: they’re shared by people who are single. Read More