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Thursday, July 30, 2009

PLEASE DON’T PIGEONHOLE ME

Did you see the confrontation between California Senator Barbara Boxer and Harry Alford, CEO, of the Black Chamber of Commerce? If not, watch the following video.



It doesn’t matter in which camp you reside, but apparently, according to Mr. Alford, Mrs. Boxer assumed that all blacks in America should do or think the same. In other words, she pigeonholed the gentleman, which offended him greatly. As a naturalized American citizen, I have experienced this type of misconception from both Christians and non-Christians.

Recently, an old student of mine who had read my blog wrote me saying, “Don’t tell me you believe in Rob Bell’s crap.” She was referring to the Author of “Velvet Elvis” who is an emergent church pastor. Although I own the book and had read parts of it, I had forgotten whom Rob Bell was. Later, when I remembered who he was, I realized why my student had made the comment. She was assuming that because some of my ideas were like those of Rob’s, I must be an emergent teacher forgetting that, because of my background, I have had those thoughts long before Rob wrote his book.

Right after 9/11, I began traveling all around the country and abroad with my American flag bandanna. At that time, for security reasons, the airlines started the policy of randomly checking three passengers’ carry-ons. The computer provided the names of the passengers. On one of my flights, proudly brandishing my bandanna, I sat next to a young white lady from San Diego.

As we began to talk, she said, “In the past week I have been to 5 different cities and in every city, when boarding the plane, my name has come up for inspection. I am so happy they are doing it that way.”
“Why?” I asked
“Well, for your sake!”
“What do you mean?”
“This way you and people from your background don’t feel like they are being singled out.”

Again, just because of the way I look, she assumed I might somehow be offended or annoyed if the airlines had decided to only go through the luggage of those who resembled the Arab terrorists. I think my reply shocked the heck out of her.

I said, “With all due respect madam, this is one of the most illogical statements I’ve ever heard. Why should the authorities go through your stuff, a white blond woman, while I, a Middle Easterner, can freely waltz onto the plane? For what? So my feelings might not get hurt? I wonder if you ask the men and women who lost their loved ones in that cowardly attack what they would have rather seen: 12 Arabs having their feelings hurt or their loved ones being slaughtered? After all, the men who slammed the planes into the Twin Towers were not a bunch of white men from Sweden.”

In my last blog I talked about Postmodernity, which, automatically, made one of my readers assume that I must believe in Process Theology. I wasn’t aware that there was such a connection between the two, but, apparently, the reader had a need to pigeonhole me. By the way, no, I don’t believe in Process Theology.

I’ll never forget the first time I met with a New York Times best-selling author of a book that is brilliant and yet not very complimentary toward evangelicals. This was our first meeting and she knew nothing about me. In the course of our conversation, I don’t know what I said, when, with a surprised look on her face, she exclaimed, “So, you’re a Republican?” She had assumed because I’m a minority who liked her book, I must be a liberal Democrat.

Please don’t assume since I’m a naturalized American citizen from Iran that I automatically desire all illegal aliens in the US to be given amnesty. I believe the same rule of law that applied to me must be applied to all. On the other hand, just because I have a great passion for Christian gay men and women who struggle with their sexual identities and their place in the Body of Christ, one should not pigeonhole me as gay man (my wife will convince you otherwise) or some misguided liberal Christian. Would you label Jesus a whore and a criminal because He had compassion for and spent time with all those hookers and thieves? I doubt it.