Friday = My day: Episode 4 – Blessed are the Geeks.

Posted: April 19, 2013 in Good News, Life to the full, Love, My day
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Last night, tbV and I ended up in this room at the back of a Games/Magic the Gathering shop playing some new [to us] games.

Panda eats shoots, then leaves

With titles such as Poison, Dixit and Takenoko, we ‘moved the panda and ate the bamboo’, ‘avoided the poison’ and came up with the clue ‘Rapunzel’ to describe a card that showed a number of knotted sheets tied together leading out of a prison window with its bars cut out.

I know, Geek Central, right?

Or was it? Because the ‘geeks’ I was referring to definitely didn’t include Val and myself.

When we label people, we rob them of the ability to be something else.

When we categorise someone we meet as a ‘jock’ or a ‘blonde,’ an ‘Aquarius’ or a ‘hottie’ and especially as we cross a more substantial line and start throwing out titles such as ‘racist’ or ‘bitch’ or ‘murderer’ or ‘rapist’ to refer to or describe someone, we subtly remove the possibility or at least the likelihood in our minds, and possibly in those of our hearers, of them being anything else apart from that.

Is he ‘a rapist’ or is he a broken and messed up human being? A person who, for whatever reasons, ended up committing the horrific act of rape?

Am I born ‘a racist’? Or as I grow up, and are natured and nurtured along the way, do I at some point start to exhibit racist tendencies, thoughts and actions?

Am I born a ‘murderer’? Or is it possible that somehow along the way of life happening, circumstances took place and decisions were made that led me to the point where I killed someone?

Val and I had a really great time last night, vibing with some new people and learning some fun new games. We were completely welcomed in to this gathering of people we had never met and treated with the utmost kindness and respect. People showed interest in who we were, why we had moved to America and the work we are doing. It feels like doing them a tremendous disservice and injustice to collectively label them as ‘geeks’ and let that be the blanket definition of them.

In the Bible, Paul writes this to the Corinthian church – ‘Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation.’ [2 Corinthians 5.17-19]

Let the labels fly away

In a nutshell, he is saying to them, ‘That which you were before you met Jesus, you are no more. You are a brand new you. No longer will you be defined by the title ‘sinner’ or ‘broken’ or ‘messed up’ or ‘needy’ but now you will be known as a child of God. You are a King’s kid. Find your identity in that.

No, she is not ‘stupid!’ She is a delightful, lovely person, who may have done a stupid thing.

No, he is not ‘evil!’ He is a person loved by God [who calls me to love him too] who has committed an act that can only be described as evil.

Let us look beyond the labels, and even possibly start discarding them?

Let us start to see people. Beautiful, fascinating, people.

[To read next Friday’s Getting Busy with it, click here]
[for last Friday’s When the Busy Fades, click here]

  1. Excellent reflection, dude! There is some redeeming quality to labels as it does help us understand certain characteristics of a prson…but I think it should be up to the person to determine what label they self-identify with. I am a geek. I deliberately choose that label, not because I bite the heads off chickens in a circus side-show (look it up), but because the geek culture of video games, sci-fi/fantasy, RPG games, etc., is where I find my comfort zone when I seek out people “like” me… I don’t play cards like the folks you hung out with, but I understand them because, in many ways, I am like them.

    • brettfish says:

      i hear you Robert and self-identifying is fine and probably a good point to add to this reflection, but i think the main point i am making is that you are more than a geek – so not saying identifying with a geek is bad but if that’s all people saw you as they would be missing out on the mystic and the husband and the adventurer and the philosopher and so on… to label you geek might in someone’s mind refuse you the possibility of being anything but and therein lies the tragedy.

      • Good point… I think, though, the key then is to let people self-identify… but then not to assume that is the ONLY identity… For example, I never saw myself as a mystic until you mentioned it… really? Me? A mystic? Call me “NostaRobMus”… 🙂

        But yeah… in self-identity, don’t limit yourself ONLY to a single label either, any more than you want someone else to label you… the best label, and the only one that I think matters, is a “child of God” and all that entails…

      • BTW, got a buddy who plays Yu-Gi-Oh and has found a way to relate a couple of his favorite decks of that game to the Christian witness… Geeks can be missionaries, too. 🙂

  2. MJ says:

    I agree. Labels can be lame and miss out on the truth of who the person actually is. Nice post.

    • David says:

      Hey Robert. “Child of God” is not the best label if you’re an atheist. Just saying. I wouldn’t be offended by it of course, but it shows that even a label that might be considered positive and complimentary by the “labeller” might not be considered to be so by the, um, labelee(?). In some contexts it might even be a way of pushing an agenda on someone.

      • True enough, David. How about “fellow human”? Personally, I believe we’re all created beings, created by the Creator (although I’m not locked into the literal 6-days thing…)… but hey, if you and I can treat each other as equally valued (humans are humans are humans no matter what), then that’s pretty much what I was getting at.

  3. Timothy says:

    Brett this is something I think about often, because every time I see a car with those stick figure families stuck on it I wonder how the people represented by the stickers feel about being portrayed to every one as the golfer dad / shopping mom / skating teen etc and that’s it… I’m sure (as you have said) there is a lot more to them…

    Great article by the way… Blogger Brett :-p

  4. […] Friday took a rather cutting look at the labels we put on other people and what that might say to th… […]

  5. David says:

    Good stuff Brett. Funnily, I had read something which kind of touched on the same theme but from a diff perspective on another blog I follow called zenhabits. Can’t link to it but the post is called Expanding The Envelope. Also, I love Dixit!

  6. […] [to read last Friday's Blessed are the Geeks, click here] […]

  7. missbron says:

    I love this. I think the label struggle is so complicated for humanity because as much as we hate labels being thrust upon us, we also love applying them to ourselves. Id say I’m a nerd, and I feel a sense of pride and belonging with that label – a feeling i think we all find with our self appointed labels (christian, athiest, cheerleader, gym bunny, geek w/e). Perhaps putting ourselves into a box is not as healthy as it feels though? We are excluding others from connecting with us. Maybe its our own need to belong to something that makes us kick others out and need to label them ourselves. On the other hand, I think the biggest problem is not the labeling itself, but the spite and the attitude behind it. If you got to know me personally and then as my close friend who invested themselves in my life tried to describe me as accurately as you could, id appreciate that. But if you stare at me blankly as a stranger or acquaintance and make a 5min judgement on who I am and then thrust it upon me, I will naturally take offence.

    • brettfish says:

      missbron i think you have nailed a lot of it right there – i didn’t think of the aspect of self-labelling but it can definitely be as detrimental in some circumstances including those which you have described and yes i like the bit about relationship with someone earning you the right to label them in a sense. good stuff!

  8. […] to quite a variety of posts which have received different interest depending on the topic but it was this post called ‘Blessed are the Geeks’ on the effects of labelling people that really got people’s attention and […]

  9. […] lastly, Friday being my day, well interestingly enough ‘Blessed are the Geeks’ was the most viewed post for that day and it was all about the labels we put on people and so a […]

  10. […] lastly, Friday being my day, well interestingly enough ’Blessed are the Geeks’ was the most viewed post for that day and it was all about the labels we put on people and so a […]

  11. […] reminded me of a post i wrote for my old ‘Mash and Peace’ blog titled ‘Blessed are the Geeks&#82… that was about the labelling we tend to do so easily and the potential destructiveness of […]

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