I was convicted the other day by Jake Owensby’s post about unity.
Full disclosure: I don’t watch the news or read a newspaper or listen to the news (other than if I happen to be in my car and it comes on). I am an ostrich when it comes current events. I know the headlines, but not much else.
Friends fill me in when something monumental happens, but for the most part, the divisiveness and aggression in our country burdens me, and I choose to opt out.
It all started when my friend Jim got brain cancer and there was no room in my psyche for what was happening in the world. All my energy went into taking care of Jim and holding onto my job. Jim watched the news and would brief me on what was happening, and I found that this system worked for me. I became a news dabbler.
After Jim died, I grieved, and my pain was enough; I did not need to hear about crime, war or political spats.
Then I just got used to living shallow when it came to the news. It all just seemed like “different day, same story” and I did not find it helpful to my mental health to tune in.
I don’t like being angry, and that is mainly how I feel when I hear the news. I am tired of how little progress we make as a society.
For example, in the 1960’s and 1970’s many women campaigned to change language that excluded them. It was common for “men” to be used as the word for “people,” and men would say women were included in that word, which never made sense to me. By that argument, the word “women” should have been used because it does include “men.”
Over time, the use of “men” to mean everyone changed. In church, we went from saying “brothers” to “brothers and sisters” and from “brethren” to “people.”
But here we are, fifty years on, and “men” has been replaced by “guys” which is just another word for “men.”
There are no female guys, but I cannot tell you how many times restaurant servers have called me a guy. It infuriates me, and it infuriates me that women are complicit in it, that women exclude themselves by calling other women “guys.”
It is no mystery that we still have a gender wage gap and that women are excluded from many positions of leadership in our society. Words matter, and calling women “guys” reinforces the message that men are the top dogs.
And don’t get me started on racial injustice or the demeaning treatment of people who have disabilities or who are elderly or any number of issues I have cared about for the past fifty years.
So please forgive me if I am impatient, but my impatience does not excuse using words that tear down rather than build up. I will try harder to seek unity in what I say and do.
Thanks for the reminder about seeking to use words that build up rather than tear down, and it was interesting to read what you’ve shared here!
thank you, Ms. Liz. The reading from Ephesians is one of my go-to Scriptures when I want to check-in on how I am doing.
Oh this is splendid, Madeline! I confess that I too go back and forth at how deeply I’m willing to wade into the news flow. Sometimes I step out to preserve my soul. And your observation about the use of “guy” seems spot on to me.