By Lisa Huddleston
“For a whole year they met with the church and taught large numbers, and the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch” (Acts 11:26).
Are you as sick as I am of the name calling and labelling that is being thrown around like snotty, used Kleenex? It’s driving me even more crazy than it has before, and I guess that’s because I am growing more and more uncomfortable with the labels I have felt forced to wear and thereby conform to in my past. Labels such as: liberal or conservative, Southern Baptist or Lutheran or non-denominational, Republican or Democrat. You know what I mean. And once you call yourself by one of these restricting labels, you are expected to “act like” whatever you have claimed to be. You know, all Democrats are for abortion on demand, and all Republicans only care about the rich. I’m sick and tired of bandwagons that limit free thinking and facilitate mob-mentalities.
If I want a chicken sandwich, I’ll get one wherever and whenever I want to. And if someone expresses a personal opinion based on his or her own beliefs, good for them. I won’t let it stand between me and a tasty lunch.
If a politician genuinely expresses values that I can stand behind, I really don’t want to focus on his or her political affiliations. I want to know that they care about people and that they put others’ needs ahead of their own agendas–or their parties’. Health care matters to me. Life matters to me. Free expression matters to me. Yeah.
And while I’m at it, even the Olympic coverage is bugging me. I want to see all the nations compete. Not just the Americans. Sure I want us to win–but I want to see the best of all the teams. And it ain’t just us. Rant ended. Whew.
Labels have been around as long as people. They are impossible to avoid. I was reminded of this by my son’s wedding this past Saturday. In a one sentence statement, two people who were single joined the ranks of the married. Mr. and Miss became Mr. and Mrs. Charles Huddleston III. Bam! (The suddeness of that change always surprises me.)
No, not all labels are negative. But, please, help me out. Let’s try to see each other as individuals. Less a them and more a he or a she. Please, stop cramming me into boxes that don’t fit. And I promise to try my best to do the same for you.
(You may wonder why I included the verse at the beginning of this post. The disciples were first called Christians in a deragatory sense. It surely wasn’t a positive label–but Christ makes all things new. His name is a label I can live with and be transformed to fit because it is too large and spacious to cramp or pinch. Amen.)