Thursday, May 15, 2014

Duck, Duck, Goose!

Recently, one of my cousins shared this picture on Facebook with the comment, "Nice weather for ducks..." Immediately, comments started pouring in that these are not ducks, but in fact, geese.

Knowing full well that my cousin does, indeed, know the difference between ducks and geese, I also commented. I pointed out that she never said they were ducks and that her statement about the weather being nice for ducks was a true statement.

At that, someone said, "True but who would take a picture of a cat and say
'it's a nice day to walk the dog'?"

We could say that. We could do that. We could take a picture of a cat and comment that it's a nice day to walk the dog if it really is a nice day to walk the dog and it would not be wrong.

But, it would be unexpected, because the picture produces an expectation and when that expectation is not fulfilled by the words associated with the picture, people don't know what to do or think. The unexpected throws them. The picture actually becomes a filter they run everything through. If there's a picture of a goose, people automatically assume that any comments made in the context of the picture must be about the goose. But, there is more than geese in the picture. There's weather. There's grass. There's a field of stubble of some sort. There are no ducks, but my cousin's statement is still true; it was nice weather for ducks.

My final comment on the thread was, "Observation without speculation leads to independent thinking."

Imagine if we simply took someone at their word instead of filtering what they say by what they look like or where they live. We all have filters. People often approach God's Word with the same type of filter people used on my cousin. They go to God's Word with preconceived ideas and expectations and end up either being disappointed and become disillusioned, or they become legalistic and put their, and everyone else's, faith in a box.

Observation without speculation is hard to learn in our society. There are given expectations that everyone is expected to follow. Schools are a perfect example of this. Kids are often herded for control, expected to act and learn in a certain way. That doesn't work for every student. Albert Einstein was labeled "lazy, sloppy and insubordinate" by more than one of this teachers. His parents were told he wouldn't amount to anything. The schools did not know what to do with him because he was an independent thinker who made observations without speculation or expectation. The school system, even in that day, was ill equipped to handle him and others like him.

Thinking outside the expectations opens up an entirely new world. It might feel like it's out of your comfort zone, but I guarantee that if you start making observations without speculation, it will change how you see the world, and how the world sees you.

When Jesus walked this earth, He lived this way and it often astounded His followers and naysayers alike. Read through the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John and notice how Jesus talked and interacted with people. When He met the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4, He talked to her. She, herself, questioned Him for doing this, saying, "How is that you, being a Jew, ask a drink from me, a Samaritan woman?" The verse explains, "Because the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." The expectation was that no Jew would be talking to a Samaritan at all, let alone a woman. Jesus didn't care; He acted outside the expectations. Verse 27 tells us that even His disciples marveled that He spoke with a woman, but no one questioned Him.

His behavior constantly rocked the boat, even for His own disciples.

Rock the boat. Observe without speculation and see what happens.
Take a picture of your cat and tell the world it's a nice day to walk a dog.

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