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by Al Carden

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Apr. 26, 2020

Now that we are into our fourth month of the coronavirus pandemic here in the United States, not to mention the World, and the death toll in the US. has exceeded fifty-thousand, we discover once again that we are beings of reflection. This simply means that more times than not, we observe behaviors in others that are copied from the behaviors of others. Sometimes these behaviors are positive but a lot of times they are negative. When these negative behaviors are copied enough then it seems they begin to take on a life of their own. If negative behaviors are not put in check early then the ultimate conclusion can be violent. When information offered to the public has not been thoroughly researched then what is reflected to the public can often get out of hand.

My entry today is related to thinking and behaving outside the box. Outside the box thinking and behavior is really not a new concept. However, what seems to be missed by well meaning people stems from a misunderstanding of “in-box” thinking. Allow me to offer an example. A local religious congregation in AnyCity is viewed by the community as being peaceful and helpful. One day there is a group of people that move into the community expressing beliefs that are contrary to the established religious congregation. A meeting of the religious leadership is called and as a result very negative assumptions are made about this group of people based upon their research. The religious leadership decide to offer prayer for these “outsiders” that their beliefs will fall into line with their own. In the meantime these negative assumptions are reflected out to the members of the congregation and like a virus, they begin to affect the attitudes of not only the members of the congregation but to the community as well.

Using your imagination and drawing upon history, one can easily find example after example of negative assumptions reflected on others where the outcomes became violent. Violence does not have to be physical in order to be violent. Psychological violence can be just as detrimental to those experiencing it. What I hold up for consideration pertains to the internal thinking of this religious congregation. Is it possible that the religious leadership felt threatened by a group of people unlike themselves? Is it possible that because they were moving into their established community that it intensified the possible threat?

As it turned out one of the members of the congregation began to reach out to some of these newcomers in love. Let’s call him John. By this time the negative feelings within the congregation and now in the community was at such a level that when they discovered that John was reaching out to these newcomers they began to react toward him the same way they were reacting toward the newcomers. As John continued to attend this religious congregation he began to sense being shunned by his fellow congregants. Eventually this shunning behavior became so prevalent that John stopped attending.

The point I am holding up for consideration pertains to what can happen when one goes against the majority’s beliefs. If I’m not mistaken, this is what got Jesus of Nazareth crucified. Usually those inside the box tend to agree with each other. They usually point their accusatory fingers to those outside of their box of safety. When someone inside that box becomes aware of truth not held by the “insiders” and makes the decision to vacate to the outside, it is very possible that those accusatory fingers will be pointing at the one vacating. Our reflective nature can either reflect the love of God or the possible violence of mankind. It depends upon the Light of Truth reflected within us. Believe me, this Light is there within us waiting to be discovered.