A story my high school English teacher, Mr Fleming, taught goes something like this:
I was walking through the forest and came upon the nest of a bird. As I gazed in to the nest I noticed the eggs were blue. I have, therefore, concluded that all bird eggs are blue. As I continued my journey down the pathway I noticed that some leaves were falling from a tree in to what appeared as a lake of bright orange and red gathering at the base of the large trunk. I have concluded, therefore, that all leaves fall straight down and gather at the trunk of the tree and can be recognized by their color of orange and red. As I came to the edge of the woods I noticed a small house with white smoke drifting slowly from its chimney. I have concluded that all smoke from the stove in a house, will rise as slow, white smoke from the chimney. The lady of the home invited me in to warm myself by the fire and as I got closer to the fire I could smell the heavy scent of pine coming from the flames. I have concluded, therefore, that all fire has the strong scent of pine. As she wrapped her tiny fingers around her cup of tea, the lady told me of her heritage as a Jewish woman from a small village in a far off land. It is safe to conclude that I will always be able to recognize a person of Jewish perspective because they will have small fingers and will surely speak of this village. When I left the company of this lady I was confronted by an angry bear standing on its back legs and before I could react, the bear had attacked and killed me. I have concluded that anyone who walks in the woods will die from a bear attack and that all bears are angry and will kill humans on site. As I sit here in the afterlife I wish to convey the following to mankind:
- Any bird egg that is not blue surely is bad and must be destroyed. Likewise, if you see a bird laying an egg that is not blue; it is also unnatural and must be destroyed. Any person eating an egg that is not blue is also unworthy and unnatural and must be cast aside.
- If any leaf be found that is not orange and red in color, it must be destroyed for it has wandered from the path that nature intended. Likewise, the tree that pushed it away from its trunk and caused it to wander so far away must be found and destroyed before other trees learn of this behavior and follow in its ways. Surely mankind will not withstand the mutiny of so many based on the actions of a few.
- If any fire in the home produces anything other than a slow-drifting white smoke from its chimney, it must be immediately put out. Any food that was cooked must be destroyed and not eaten for it has been distorted by the radical smoke. We must teach our children how to make fires that only produce this type of smoke and if they do not follow our ways it is important to not allow them access to fire for it will surely pollute the skies and the earth and all its inhabitants.
- If any fire lacks the scent of fresh pine it, too, must be put out. For the fresh scent of pine is the only indicator that a flame is fresh, pure, and is truly of the makers’ design. Anyone building a fire that does not send out the divine fresh scent of pine must be cast out among you, singled-out, and not be allowed to partake in the daily functions of humanity. For surely they will teach our children, they will breed other sour fire starters, and thus pollute all that is good.
- In order for Jewish perspective to continue its purity of ancestry any person claiming to be Jewish but having long, thin fingers, is surely deceiving people and must be brought to trial and punished for providing false witness to the perspective.
- Finally, if mankind is to conquer the wood as well as he has conquered the prairie land and the sea he must make it his purpose in life to destroy all the bears lest the bears destroy him first.
As a pastor it is assumed that, when invited for dinner, I will be the one who says grace. As a singer it is assumed that I will start the singing of Happy Birthday to anyone who may be celebrating the day of his or her birth, regardless of my personal relationship with that individual. As a Christian it is assumed I will vote one particular way because I have weighed the candidates against my own perspective and one of them surely plays far different than my Christian perspective instructs.
The narrowness of the minds of man will surely lead us to our doom. How can we make educated decisions when we refuse to understand all points of few? How can we say we hate our neighbor when we have much in common with our neighbor? How can we say that all Muslims are taught to kill people of other perspectives when the very tenet of that perspective teaches the opposite? Why must we be so strayed and so jaded by the acts of the few loud squeaky wheels instead of the truth? Likewise, how can other countries believe that all Americans are inherently evil because of the works and thoughts of a few loud squeaky wheels? How do you feel when a noisy crowd of a few burn the American flag and would kill you in a heartbeat because you are American when you actually had no part in one made them angry to begin with? Do you think that the millions of faithful Muslim believers feel the exact same way a few angry, misguided Muslims do? Do you believe the exact same thing the midnight television preacher does because he does it in the name of Christianity?
The loud, squeaky wheel gets the grease and all the attention and will actually get farther in its work because we allow it. It will grab our attention because we are so narrow in our vision that we fail to see the other wheels working together in perfect harmony. Our vision is narrow and we see only what is in front of us at that particular moment and then we call that truth.
Jesus Christ came not to put blinders over our eyes but to remove them so we may see all that is God’s Creation and that we may have life in full abundance. Regardless of whom you believe Christ was whether from the perspective of the Jewish, Muslim, or Christian perspective – all perspectives teach that as one of the many aspects of Christ’s work on this earth.
Friends, I challenge you – no, I DARE you, to stop limiting your opinions and thoughts of your fellow humans based solely on your limited experience with such a small number of them lest you become as foolish as the man in the story.
Grace and Peace of God our Father to each of you.