Friday, September 3, 2010

Personal Tastes

The other day I was listening to the radio and clearly heard my own blunt, hurtful, clueless, and uninformed voice emerge from the speakers. The person talking wasn't actually me, it's just that they spoke words that I very well could have said. In that moment, my mind was flooded with the countless times over the years where I uttered vehement and strongly worded statements of my personal beliefs or holdings as if they were some universal truth. I then appreciated how I must have sounded to others unlucky enough to have been within range of my voice. I can only say that this experience left me feeling more than a little unsettled, more than a little disgusted with myself. It left me wishing that I could somehow take back all of my ignorant words, but of course, I cannot. I can only work to be more sensitive in the future.

The person on the radio was delivering their take on the daily news. This wasn't supposed to be Walter Cronkite or Edward R. Murrow. It was supposed to be light and quirky and funny. To go along with the story, someone had selected music from a local Christian folk duo to play in the background as the piece was read. When the newscaster had finished, she took the opportunity, off the cuff, to note how boring and pointless the music was, ..., what garbage. All of the other folks in the studio chimed in with more remarks disparaging the music. Unfortunately, none of them had paid any attention to the lyrics talking about God's love and grace, and their statements came out as an indictment of the message. The context of their words and barbs ended up as a dig on the message of Christianity as a whole.

It's one thing to say that you do not particularly care for the style or tempo of a piece of music. It is another thing entirely to denounce an entire musical genre, its message, and all of the people who embrace it as silly or foolish. I can't tell you how many times I have voiced my opinion in a very similar vein to those folks on the radio. Personal opinions are just that, personal, specific preferences of an individual. They are not to be espoused as universally right or wrong. They are yours, and while you fully have the right to have your opinions, they are not necessary valued or shared or appreciated by others. Yes, I can only work to be more sensitive in the future.