Who’s driving the Bus and who’s under it?

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In recent days sports and its dealings with cultural issues is driving the Bus (debate) on sensitivity. One such debate that has landed on the The Ohio State University, President E. Gordon Gee, who retired yesterday after serving as president of the university from 1990- 1997 and recently from 2007-2013. In December 2012 during an update on the Big Ten expansion, he made certain unpopular and disparaging comments/Jokes concerning Catholic officials at Notre Dame University, among others.

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Was Dr. Gee really to blame, or were his actions simply a reflection of our culturally inherent tendency toward insensitivity? In a society that gives encouragement to speaking freely without regard to the ancillary victims of this kind of erroneous discourse, we may have to look a little deeper. Doctor Gee is i.e. a victim of circumstances, because he was saying in public what people say/joke about in private. This discourse has been analyzed at length, cross examined and dissected over the last week.

Many have said It is OK to speak like this in private, but that he should have known not to speak this way in public. Enough said, is it actually OK to speak of others in this manner in any surroundings? Everyone, from radio host, Catholic college basketball coaches, to church leaders have chimed in. Yet, even during our most sacred of Sunday morning sermons, it is not an unusual occurrence to hear a tongue and cheek jab at other churches, denominations, traditions or leaders.

It is important that society does not trivialize real concerns of people who are broad stroked by attacks against entire groups, just for a laugh. If we don’t speak out against a seemingly harmless jabs on a denomination, college football conference or school. Then what kind of footing will we have when one of those old  racially insensitive jokes comes up in a “private conversation”, about any number of us and how we are characterized.

Some might say that we need to lighten up because we are too sensitive, to the point where people are afraid to say anything. Even though lightening up dose have certain merits and sounds credible, nevertheless the numbness of the hearts become multiplied when we allow the tongue to rule in the place of love and good common sense.

It only takes a spark, remember, to set off a forest fire. A careless or wrongly placed word out of your mouth can do that. By our speech we can ruin the world, turn harmony to chaos, throw mud on a reputation, send the whole world up in smoke and go up in smoke with it, smoke right from the pit of hell. James 3:5 The Message (MSG)
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Ultimately, our words have consequences, whether they are realized by the speaker or fermented by the hearer into the resulting actions, influence or opinions that frame our society and future generations. Through the hardware of our consciousness, like computers our minds collect data, and these impressions are not forgotten.

No, none of us are perfect, and if closely examined, all of us have a long way to go. In light of this knowledge, all of us can try to do better concerning one another and how we are characterized. The Language of Reconciliation is a tool to be used to establish peace, and where there is peace there is dialog, where is dialog there exist an opportunity to make our world a better place one conversation at a time.

“You’ll be like a well-watered garden, a gurgling spring that never runs dry. You’ll use the old rubble of past lives to build anew, rebuild the foundations from out of your past. You’ll be known as those who can fix anything, restore old ruins, rebuild and renovate, make the community livable again. Isaiah 58:8-12 the message”

By Kevin Robinson Executive Director of Accord1

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