I saw the featured graphic on Facebook this week, and it had a beautiful little write up about getting too focused on others to our own demise, but then I realized that sometimes we’re the bird. We’re the ones provoking others.
Often the pendulum between justice and grace swings broadly, and religious people face a dilemma between standing up to cultural issues that contradict their faith and loving on those who need to embrace that same faith. We feel the need to defend, and that comes from a very real place. Scripture tells us to be ready to defend the faith, but it also has a lot to say about speaking with grace so that those who do not believe will see Him in us.
I’m a grammar teacher, and this week I taught pronoun-antecedent agreement–I know, you’re dying for a transition here, aren’t you?
Have I lost you?
It’s just grammar…
Hang with me for a second…
In the early ’70s, I remember being taught that when using a singular personal pronoun to refer to someone of unknown gender, always use the masculine forms. My female teacher felt that balanced out by the fact that we refer to vessels and institutions in the feminine forms, so no one need be offended. Apparently, society did not get the message, and as the feminist movement progressed, we faced another dilemma, the awkward his or her wording.
Fast forward to modern culture, and we have entire college classes emptied because a teacher uses a gender-specific pronoun. It seems the world has lost its mind.
One student had a very strong reaction to this pronoun issue and asserted that he uses the masculine (’70s grammar) without apology and will continue. He seemed a little too proud of how many arguments he provokes with his word choice. I challenged the class to think about whether their language choices were drawing others toward faith or driving them away from it.
Paul the Apostle said he would be “all things to all people so that some may come to know Christ.” How difficult is it to adjust a few minor words in order to have influence in another person’s life?
I’m not suggesting that we abandon our faith or even speak untruths. A simple adjustment to write and speak in plurals makes all the difference and also improves writing style. They and them have no gender, and using those pronouns in no way turns away from Truth.
What a blessing to influence others in life. Even those who do not profess faith understand the importance of grace and mercy in the lives of those around them.
How many other hills do we choose to die on every day? How many Facebook memes and articles do we share poking at folks who should not behave like us because they do not share our beliefs? Why do we expect that somehow confronting people in such an unloving way will do anything to draw them to a loving Savior?
I’ll spend some time this week thinking on these things; will you?
…and that’s the view from My Front Porch.