Recently I had this interesting experience of being called a ‘Bretheren’ by one and a ‘liberal’ by another friend. As you can notice both are actually almost antithetical to each other atleast as we know them in India, which to me was amusing and definitely scandalous for a ‘brethren’ to know that he has been bracketed with a liberal. Though my friend who termed me a liberal graciously amended it to ‘liberal in thinking with firm Christian backing’.
It set me thinking and wonder if, when an idea comes our way, which challenges us and our present categories of thinking one way in which we tend to cope with it is by sizing it up, classifying it, labeling and bracketing it with one of the categories that we are familiar with. This is for most part a good way in which our mind works to handle information that comes our way.
But this could work the other way too as it happened with Jesus… pharisees often bracketed him with sinners the outcasts of the society. Apostle Paul faced it at Areopagus. So it could be also a subtle way in which our mind works to avoid being challenged. (I do not imply that both my friends in the two instances above have done it with such an intention). But I know I am guilty of doing it many times.
I must be careful, when and why I size up, classify and label others.