Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

Welcome to Varied Expressions of Worship

This blog will be written from an orthodox Christian point of view. There may be some topic that is out of bounds, but at present I don't know what it will be. Politics is a part of life. Theology and philosophy are disciplines that we all participate in even if we don't think so. The Bible has a lot to say about economics. How about self defense? Is war ethical? Think of all the things that someone tells you we should not touch and let's give it a try. Everything that is a part of life should be an expression of worship.

Keep it courteous and be kind to those less blessed than you, but by all means don't worry about agreeing. We learn more when we get backed into a corner.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Opus 2012-195 Labels, Pro and Con, Part 2 of 2

Sometimes our rejection of good terms is based on ignorance.  Some find labels offensive because they don’t understand the difference between generalizations and stereotypes.  One is a useful tool for dealing with the world.  The other is a tool of insult and manipulation.  Let me explain briefly.

Generalizations are true statements based on honest data.  For instance, if we say that men tend to be taller than women, we can go out and measure the population and look at the facts.  We will find that, on the average, men are taller.  Generalizations are true as stated but not when turned into stereotypes.

A stereotype would be to state that if you are a man, you are taller than women.  This is obviously not true, that is why I chose it as an example.  Some women are taller than some men.  That does not change the generalization but means that you cannot assume.  Stereotypes are usually used to judge and discriminate unfairly.  Stereotypes are misused and twisted generalizations.

It is because of the misuse of stereotypes that true statements are taken as insults.  At school I often will have a kid say, “You are old.”  Okay.  True statement.  They might have meant it as an insult because in their mind “old” is “bad.”  That is their problem, not mine.  I generally thank them for being observant.  Other ways they try to get under my skin is by calling me bald, pointing out my big feet or calling me four eyes.  All I can say is, “Thank you for noticing.”  Sometimes I add, “Compliments will get you nothing.”

Labels are generalizations.  That means they don’t tell you everything.  They are a guide.  There are a general reference point.  There are Republicans who are pro-abortion and Democrats who are pro-life.  The exception does not invalidate the rule.

So use labels but do it honestly and accurately.  If my Calvinist brothers want to tell me I am a no good, dirty, rotten sinner, I don’t mind.  Compared to the eternal holiness of God that is still a good generalization.  Having said that I don’t think you will find “no good, dirty, rotten sinner” in anything but the newest paraphrase of the Bible.  I prefer the generalization that Paul used to talk the church.  He calls us "saints."  I can live with either because I know what they mean and I am not bothered by labels.

homo unius libri


  1. Some folks might think you are spitting hairs. The guru used to quote someone who said that all stereotypes are true. (That IS, after all, what MAKES them stereotypes.)

    1. When you are as bald as I am, splitting hairs can be productive, or futile.

      Is that statement (all stereotypes are true) another stereotype?

      Grace and peace.


Comments are welcome. Feel free to agree or disagree but keep it clean, courteous and short. I heard some shorthand on a podcast: TLDR, Too long, didn't read.