Monday, August 31, 2009

Audience Gap


Dear Readers:

I often post here the homilies I give in my Episcopal parish, because other people often enjoy reading them. In my Episcopal parish, my audience is other Episcopalians. My blog audience is much wider. Readers who know me know that in speaking to other Episcopalians, I'm not insulting or leaving out anyone else, but people who don't know me read the blog, too.

If I say, for instance, "Christians are called to serve other people," that doesn't mean that Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Wiccans, Unitarian Universalists, and atheists aren't also called to serve. Reading the statement otherwise commits a basic logical fallacy in which "A" automatically implies "not B." If I said, for instance, "Apples taste good," it doesn't follow as a logical corollary that bananas don't also taste good, and it would be inappropriate of the Banana Council of America to take offense.

But, of course, this isn't a purely logical issue. Many people have been damaged by centuries of oppressive behavior by other people who called themselves Christians, which means that Christians bear the burden of being especially sensitive to when their comments may be taken as exclusionary, even when they weren't intended that way. And if Christians grow weary of having to apologize for being Christian, and of being criticized for talking about their own faith in their own church, well, karma's a bitch, ain't it? The sins of the fathers are indeed visited upon the children.

In posting my latest homily, I perhaps should have added a headnote stating that I know that all people, including Christians, are called to compassionate service. I neglected to do that. I hope I remember next time. If not, please be generous readers.

Blessings to you all,
Susan

5 comments:

  1. Oh for heaven's sake!

    Context is king. There's Dictonary.com for anyone who doesn't recognize that "homily" is a synonym for "sermon." It's completely inappropriate to criticize a Christian sermon for not addressing non-Christians.

    Some people just go out of their way to find offense, and no headnote will mollify them. They'll just find something else to complain about.

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  2. Anonymous1:51 PM

    Susan,

    I am awed by this gracious, empathetic response. For the record, this Jew wasn't offended in the least.

    XO,

    Claire

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  3. Anonymous2:00 PM

    I want to complain about #1 Dinosaur's comment. ;)

    Jeff P.

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  4. I want to complain about anonymous comments complaining about mine, even when they're signed. heh

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  5. As an athiest who's spouse is Buddhist, I wasn't at all offended. The context was obvious. Rest easy.

    :)

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