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Morning Sun
  • OKIE IN EXILE: The small rudder

  • A short while back a good man contacted me with regards to a column of mine. The theme of the column was that we should take care of our own.  I stand by what I said, but I could’ve made it clearer that it doesn’t stop there.  Rather than rewrite the column now, let me just say I accept the correction.

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  • A short while back a good man contacted me with regards to a column of mine. The theme of the column was that we should take care of our own. I stand by what I said, but I could’ve made it clearer that it doesn’t stop there. Rather than rewrite the column now, let me just say I accept the correction.
    In the course of his email to me, he mentioned the book of James. James is a favorite of mine. In the third chapter of his epistle he said: “The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.”
    James was never one to sugar-coat it.
    You can read the rest of the book yourself. It’s short and it’s not hard to understand what he’s getting at.  
    James was certainly right on the mark. To honor James, let me say now exactly what I mean.  We will change the way we think to match what we say.  I didn’t get it switched around there.  We’d like to believe that we say what we think. We’d like to believe that’s a virtue; it’s not always so.
    We will change the way we think to match what we’ve said. If I were to hazard a guess, I’d say it was because we are such a status-driven animal that we’d rather be wrong than admit we were wrong.  And maybe I am just writing about myself, because I’ve at times caught myself thinking (and saying!) it’s not a lie if I can make myself believe it.
    Not unconnected to this, there is scientific research to indicate that our actions, our physical actions, affect the way we think.  Malcolm Gladwell in The Tipping Point (I think) cites a study wherein it was discerned that nodding while listening to a stated position makes it more likely that the listener will agree with that position. Maybe I was nodding while I was listening to this on my iPod, but it rings true to me.
    There are skills of thought one can learn to attenuate this, but we’ve got to be on the alert.  We are living in a time where there are countless channels of communication.  There are lots of folks who can write, and most of them need money.  They are smart; they are talented; but that and four bucks will get you a cup of coffee, if it’s not too fancy.
    On the other end of it, there are folks with money and a point of view they want to become more widely shared.  They hire folks from the media to put that point of view out for the world to see.  The media folks--let me call them writers to make it more specific--will write what they agree with at first, but over time they will morph into the image of the one who has the checkbook.
    Page 2 of 2 - Lest anyone believe I am only talking about one end of the political spectrum, let me say this is the way all across the board.  There are groups of elites in this country who view the common folk as something like a meat-animal. (How’s that for plain!) The common people are to be cultivated to be consumers; they are to be sheared of their fleece; they are to be herded into corrals for slaughter, sometimes literally.
    Who can I listen to when everybody is trying to sell something?  Well, I will pay attention to James.  He’s dead and he’s not trying to make any money off me.  The message he’s spreading ought to make everyone uncomfortable: It’s the Gospel.
    We hear about the social gospel.  I think I know what they mean, but the Gospel is like a Navajo rug: You can’t just pull half the threads out of it and still have a rug.  There’s what I do for others, but then there is what I do about my own behavior.  It’s all the same thing.
    Bobby Winters, a native of Harden City, Oklahoma, is Assistant Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Mathematics at Pittsburg State University. He blogs at redneckmath.blogspot.com and okieinexile.blogspot.com. You may contact him at okieinexile@gmail.com.

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