A Fluid Relationship (without stereotypes)


IMG_1218 2stereotype is a thought that may be adopted by a specific type of individual but that belief may or may not accurately reflect reality.

Examples of stereotypes are

  • Cheap Jews
  • Jewish grandmothers
  • Jewish mothers
  • Police at donut shops

The word stereotype comes from the late eighteenth-century, and is a method of producing cast-metal printing plates from a mold. Once the metal plate was cast, you would have a stereo-type (second-type) that could be used to print newspapers and other high-speed press runs.  You could not change the stereotype. Once it was set, that was it.

The stereotypes we hold of people are just as unmalleable as a metal printing plate. While pigeonholing people can be effective and even fun, it is not fair. For example, we don’t give the victims of our profiling a chance to be other than who we define them to be.

God is not rigid, uptight, fixed. At least any God that I could possibility believe in.

Real religion is fluid, not stationary. Real religion is about the present moment, not about lost regrets or unfounded fears.

In a previous article God Loses to Bias I mentioned two psychological notions that keep our thinking about religion, life and God from changing:

  • One is the notion of correspondence bias, illusory correlation or observation bias. It keeps us stuck in our ways of thinking, or stereotyping.
  • The second is called inattention blindness, and it keeps us from seeing that things that might be patently obvious to others.

When was the last time you really saw your children, your partner, or your boss anew? Here’s an example:  I’m convinced that my wife Jane can’t cook and she’s convinced that I don’t clean. And quite unconsciously we walk around collecting data to support our own views.

But all relationships are dynamic and change. So how about your relationship with God (howsoever you understand that word).

Chances are you didn’t have the vocabulary or understanding of the world when you were little to be able to formulate a healthy relationship with God. When was the last time you let God have a new chance, a fresh start?

In other words, can you see the world anew?

This week’s spiritual advice:

Take a few moments to figure out what your relationship with God and reality is. For bonus points, try to articulate it in a sentence or two. 

(If you want help on this, I’m here for you.)

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