A Thought On Hot Topics

I have recently started using reddit. I am not sure what inspired me to sign up for it, but I did, and I began scrolling through this hot mess of subreddits about anything and everything imaginable. I picked a few broader subreddits to follow in order to narrow my feed and have begun, rather hesitantly, interacting with some of the topics from time to time.

I have also been in the process of writing some responses to responses, focusing on primarily religious issues. The first of them is readily available to everyone. The second is a bit more controversial due to my handling of the topic (though if you are interested, send me an email at jeremyzerbycoaching@yahoo.com and I will gladly send you the link).

The second response led me to go on reddit and ask a question in a theology forum on the topic of the Bible. Nothing particularly wild. More a question for intellectual types, the very kind who seem to be in that thread. My post got very little attention until a moderator upvoted it. But even then, it seems no one wanted to really have the discussion.

The same thing occurs outside of philosophical topics as well. Florida’s bill banning the discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity with K-3rd graders comes to mind as a very recent example. Parents do not want to have this conversation. They try to frame the argument in such a way that seems to sound like they are opposed to public schools having the conversation, but I do not think this is the case at all.

The big push by these same parent groups has been the need to reopen schools for in-person learning. They have cited the negative impact of the shut-downs on the kids as the main reason for it. But they have also stated that kids need to be back in school so everyone can go back to work. So parents have had two years now to have all kinds of potentially uncomfortable conversations with their kids. Pixar released Out in 2020, during the pandemic shutdown, for example. Also in 2020 were the protests over the killing of George Floyd. In one year alone, two very uncomfortable topics for, especially, white conservative parents (race and sexual orientation) were put right in their laps to begin having some serious talks about the real world.

These same parents who want schools open because, ultimately, they are unable or unwilling to teach their own kids anymore, also seem to think they should have control over what their kids learn. Only, rather than trying to influence the curriculum, they simply do not want to have the conversations in the first place.

Just like those armchair theologians did not want to have the conversation about the Bible, even though it is the foundational text for every one of their theological beliefs.

We all have the potential to be the same way. We all have topics that we just simply refuse to talk about. Some of these topics and the reasons for avoiding the discussion are valid. Such as cases of trauma. We are just not ready to have that conversation yet. As a result, we have every right to excuse ourselves from those conversations or filter out those topics until we are ready.

What we do not have the right to do, though, is tell other people that they are not allowed to have those conversations. We also do not have the right to decide what our kids are ready to talk about. If a child is asking a question about a certain topic, they are ready and entitled to some kind of answer. And, obviously, that answer should be given at their particular intellectual level.

So many times, we want to be the one in control of the dialog. We feel that conversations should be on our terms or not be had at all. In most contexts, this is simply not okay.

This is a control issue within ourselves that we may need to address. This may even be the limiting belief that is turning us into a total monster.

The key to overcoming this is to let go. Acknowledge that we do not need to be in control of everything at all times. If you have had a chance to control the dialog and have refused to even have the conversation, that does not mean that others are not demanding to have the conversation. You need to respect them as well and step aside and give up control. If you are not ready to have that conversation, excuse yourself from it.

As long as you are trying to control others, you are not free yourself. Because you are bound by the same restrictions that you have placed on them. Everyone is on a different path and at a different place on that path. To make the people further ahead stop and wait for everyone else or not move at all because you have decided you are not moving is unfair to the advancement of everyone.

On the flip side, if you are further ahead and you look back and see others who have fallen behind or are not ready to advance to where you are, you are not entitled to drag them along with you anyway. As the one further along, it becomes your responsibility to act as a guide and help them navigate the path ahead. This means respecting their boundaries as well.

When it comes to conversations, it means not forcing others to talk about things they may not be ready to talk about. It means leaving room for the discussion to be had but also giving some kind of advance warning that there is going to be a touchy subject being brought up, so if they are not ready then they should step out for a moment.

Our interactions with others should be for the good of the others and not simply for the good of ourselves. Would that we all understood this and acted as such.

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Hermeneutics, religion, pop psychology, self-help, and culture. They are all connected, and I am here to explain how.

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Jeremy Zerby

Jeremy Zerby

Hermeneutics, religion, pop psychology, self-help, and culture. They are all connected, and I am here to explain how.

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