Tuesday, April 12, 2011


Remember that arcade game at Chuck-E-Cheese called Whack-a-mole? You know, the one with the board filled with holes? You’re given a hammer and the object of the game is to whack a mole when you see it pop up through a hole. You have to be fast and remain feverishly focused because the moles keep popping up again and again.

Fun, silly game. Unless you’re a mole.

Sometimes in life we are a mole. Less often do we view ourselves as a whacker.

Ever had your ideas or thoughts whacked almost before you’ve even gotten them out? That’s a dumb idea, no no NO, or we are pelted with a litany of reasons why we can’t do something.

The mole and the whacker. The offended and the abuser. We all have been both, I think.

Why do you and I get so upset listening to ideas that are not our own? Why do we have to whack someone over the head simply for voicing them? Where’s the threat?

This maybe:

Education is the ability to listen to almost anything without losing your temper or your self-confidence. ~Robert Frost

It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it. ~Aristotle

Yup. Whether it’s fear or ignorance or control issues or provinciality, whatever makes us whack someone over the head for simply introducing a new thought or idea or opinion, it is very un-Christ-like. Tolerance, after all, is a divine attribute (and I’m not talking about embracing values that are not our own or tolerating evil, you know that).

This then from Christ’s Ideals for Living* (the old Sunday School manual I grew up with):

The ideal of tolerance at its best is hospitality to new ideas. Genuine tolerance weighs carefully opposing views. Above all, it allows those with opposing or conflicting views their right to private judgment. And even more important, the person who is genuinely tolerant will rise above his differences into the fullest fellowship and the noblest friendships. Mormonism represents such tolerance. It is deeply opposed to coercion or compulsion of any kind. If ever an organization depended wholly upon the voluntary spirit of man, fellowship that rises above individual differences, and divine love that unites the body of the Church, it is the religion called Mormonism. Intolerance is a sure sign of weakness. And someone said, "Only the confident can afford to be calm and kindly; only the fearful must defame and exclude."

Love that. Respect for the right of private judgment.

The manual continues:

While this is a widely accepted doctrine, like other great ideals, it is a difficult one to practice — to reverence the personality of another so that it causes one to pause with respect for another's judgment, however much there is disagreement with that judgment.

Verbally whack-a-moling people for their ideas or opinions is not a fun game to play. Apart from wounding and offending others, we hurt our own growth and personal development as well. You can’t win at this game. Ever.

*This book long out of print, If you are lucky you might find a copy at D.I. An amazing manual/book.
Or here: http://www.cumorah.org/libros/ingles/Christs_Ideals_for_Living_-_Obert_C_Tanner.html

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