Politically Correct?

Recently, I saw a meme with a quote I’ve seen attributed to several people. This particular one was tagged with Neil Gaiman’s name. No idea if he actually said the words or not.

The meme suggested that “political correctness” was just another name for “treating all people with respect.” I would have to disagree with that. While the PC movement might have started as a brilliant idea to treat all people with more respect, these days, it usually doesn’t have that result.

Some personal examples:

Someone who loudly butted into a conversation I was having, insisted I couldn’t call myself “handicapped” because that was mean. I had to call myself by the more “respectful” term “handicapable.” Really? *gag*  This same person shoved her way past me one morning because I was too slow juggling cane, ID badge, lunch bag, and door. Did she offer to help me with the door? Nope. Offer to carry something? Nope. She blew past me and just about knocked me on my can. I guess I wasn’t “handicapable” enough for her.

A university that prided itself on diversity required aspiring teachers to take a class that included serious time on the whole idea of PC “people first” language. The instructor of that class corrected students who messed up until we all got it right. The year after I took that class, I had a fight on my hands. The university blocked my efforts to go into student teaching because my hands shake. They wanted “a letter from a neurologist” stating I would never have a seizure when in charge of a class. My neurologist laughed and said, “I can’t say that about neurologically normal people.” Sorting out that mess so I could finish my student teaching and graduate took a good chunk of a semester. Oh, yeah, they called me a “person who has seizures,” but they treated me like I had some fatal disease that would infect my students. So much for diversity and putting people first.

Some other examples:

An Indian gentleman visited a class I was teaching. He brought along a slide show to clear up some misconceptions about what living on a reservation was like. One slide showed a baseball game with teams in uniforms. The back of the jersey for one team said “Indians” and had a logo. He included that one to prove that the term “Indian” was not an insult. In fact, he said many Indians find the more PC “Native American” to be a useless and sometimes insulting title. Why? If you were born in the United States, you are a native American.

The store where I work right now serves a significant population of deaf people.  Yes, I said deaf people, not “hearing impaired.” Why? I was told by one of them that the PC term “hearing impaired” is insulting. It implies that something is defective with the deaf person, and many of them don’t see themselves as defective. Different, yes, but not defective. Likewise “blind” and “visually impaired.”

When I was teaching (in Texas), there was the inevitable registration paperwork that parents had to fill out at the beginning of the year. These invariably included demographic information about ethnicity and race. One of my coworkers got an interesting one back one year. The parent had crossed out “African-American” and wrote “Black” and marked that box. When my coworker called for clarification, she was told that “We’ve never been to Africa, and I’m from Canada.” Hmmm… Sounds like “African-American” is not more inclusive or necessarily more respectful after all.

Does this mean we should forgo all attempts to call people respectful terms and treat them kindly and politely? No, of course not, but treating people with respect goes beyond making sure we use formulaic terminology.

Israel’s Blindness

How long is Israel blinded?

According to Romans 11:25, Israel has been blinded until the Fullness of the Gentiles is brought in.  In other words, God is going to deal with the church or Israel as his vehicle for spreading the word but not both at once.  When the church is out of here, Israel is back in the game. This doesn’t mean Israel is not part of God’s plan while the church is still here, so we do need to support the causes of God’s chosen people, but don’t be surprised when they’re not real ecstatic about the message of the Messiah.

When It Comes Together

For my last vacation, I took a trip up to visit my northern family. Last June, Dad had mentioned that I might try moving up there in part to help out with the family business. We talked about the prospect some more while I was up there visiting. The business can’t afford to hire me on full time, but I could do some project kinds of things to earn a little extra money.

To make that work, I needed a job with medical insurance. Purchasing insurance independently would be … costly.

I’d been trying for the last several years to get a job up there. Applying out of state is complicated. Some places will do phone or skype interviews, but others want to see your bright, shiny face IRL. Dropping everything to road trip 800 miles for an interview for a job you might not land … is prohibitively costly.

So, while I was up there, we — the northern family and I — realized I could be looking for optician jobs while I was there. Not the trainer gig I was hoping for, but it could work if I could find the right place.

I used my iPad to hunt down optical businesses in the Greater Des Moines area, and then parental assistance helped me weed out “too far from here to commute” and “you wouldn’t want to be there without a well-trained Doberman and a CHL.”

First, I tried looking at options for a lateral (actually backwards because I’d be stepping down from vision manager to optician) move within the company I currently work for. Only 2 local stores were hiring. One was too far away, and the other was only looking for part time. Ugh.

Next, outside the company. I called one place and got to speak with the general manager of a local chain of 22 stores. He was going to be at the one closest to my folks’ house, and arranged to meet with me that afternoon. Another was also hiring and suggested I drop by and fill out an application. Well, 2 appointments for the afternoon was about all I was going to be able to squeak in, so I stopped there.

We headed to the second one first, and I filled out the application. Talking to the manager, the job sounded a little too part-time. He thought he’d be able to squeak it up to full-time if his regional manager agreed, but that sounded like a big “if.”

I went to the first one next and got there a few minutes too early. That gave me a chance to check out their frames and compare prices. The name brands were about the same as where I work now, actually. They didn’t have the “low end” frames, and they had a lot of higher end ones that my current job doesn’t have. Interesting.

The interview seemed to go favorably. The general manager sounded like a reasonable, well-spoken gentleman. He asked me some of the usual sorts of questions about my experience and education as well as my reasons to move so far north. We talked a bit about pay scale and work conditions and so on. Then I had my chance to ask questions and fill out an application. He said he’d get back to me by Friday and asked me to send him a resume when I got home. (so I did)

Thursday, I received an email asking me to call on Friday to discuss a job offer. (WHOOT!)

In 5 days start to finish, I had a new job in the part of the world I wanted to go to. There are still some logistical things to work out, but it’ll work out.

After a decade of trying to find something, the speed of that turnaround is amazing. Almost like there’s a divine hand guiding things.

The Loudest Actions Cover Reveal

The Loudest Actions, sequel to Remnant in the Stars, is almost ready to publish. Editor Terri Pray and I have finished the editing, and artist Sam Pray has finished the cover art.

Here … check it out!

loudest_actions final cover

First contact missions are hard enough, but they get even tougher when the negotiator has an ego the size of a gas giant.

Burke Zacharias, a first contact researcher, is chosen to spearhead humanity’s first official contact with Montans, an insect race that has already had a run-in with less friendly humans. Although his words and overtures toward the Montans are cordial enough, the Montans are put off by how he treats the crew of the scout ship that brought him to the world.

With other, less friendly forces trying to establish a foothold on the world, the negotiation must succeed in spite of Burke, or the Montans could be facing extinction.

 

Under the Moon plans to release The Loudest Actions at the end of August.

Millennial Gifts to Christ

When Jesus comes to set up his kingdom in the Millennium, he’ll be given only 2 of the gifts he received as a baby.  Which two and why did the third one get dropped?

 

Flip to Isaiah 60:6.  He gets only gold and frankincense.  He doesn’t need the myrrh, a burial ointment, because he has already passed the point of his death, burial, and resurrection.

 

Clothing Misadventures

As I was getting ready for that Dallas interview last week, I discovered that all my interview-quality dresses have zippers in the back. I can manage that about half the time, but last Friday was not one of those days, and I only managed it by popping my shoulder. Ow.

Today, I went forth into the world to try to scare up a few dresses that don’t have back-facing zippers and don’t need dry cleaning. I got amusing reactions from salesfolks in the clothing stores.

Salesdudette: Can I help you find something?

Me: I’m on the impossible quest, and you may have the answer I seek. I need business-appropriate dresses for scrawny people who don’t like zippers in the back. Like size 0.

Most of them thought that was pretty funny … except for one grouch who apparently was not issued a sense of humor by her manager.

I figured out pretty quickly that I had to specify “business-appropriate” or they’d send me to Juniors, where clothes are designed to neglect the “under” part of the word “underwear.”

In the ladies/misses section of the stores, If you wear Size 6 or higher, you’re in good shape. Those were everywhere. Size 0 or XS is tough to find outside the Juniors area. I think the window decorations are wearing them all.

After touring the entire mall, I ended up with just one dress … and it’ll need a slight alteration to make it fit properly. Not a problem. A few quick stitches and good to go! There were other Size 0s there, but they either required dry cleaning, had a zipper in the back, revealed way too much, or were priced well beyond my budget.

My next stop was also disappointing. I found nothing smaller than a 4, which won’t withstand the pull of gravity.

At the next place, There were no 0s to be had, but I did scare up XS, which is equivalent to Size 2. Most of those had too much room in the top, but I found a skirt that fits if I tuck a shirt into it. Do you think I could find a shirt there that fit? Pfff… Nope. They were all made by The Paul and Barnabas Tent Emporium. Fortunately, although I wanted to match the blue or yellow in the skirt, a plain black or plain white shirt will go with it fine [I have one of each already], and I found a lovely scarf that matched the pale blue in the skirt, so good to go!

At the two places after that, I discovered that my definition of “business-appropriate” is much more strict that some people’s definition of that term… either that, or they’re thinking about a different sort of business. I’d really prefer that the dress’s hem is longer than my fingertips … much longer than my fingertips.

My last stop was the most fruitful. They didn’t carry 0s in the ladies’ section … and 0 in the Juniors had the usual problem. There were XS/2s, though. I did find a calf-length dress and a skirt-and-shirt combo.

In the end, I was victorious! … but it was an all-day adventure.

God’s Word Was Not Broken

In Genesis 49:10, the tribe of Judah was prophesied to have control of Israel until the Messiah came.  In AD 7, Rome took away Israel’s right to assign capital punishment for a crime.  (That’s why some 20-odd years later, the Sanhedrin had to go to Pilate to get Jesus killed.)  The priests of the day were convinced that the removal of the privilege of consigning someone to death was a breach of God’s promises to the tribe of Judah.  Little did they know that the Messiah had been born about a decade earlier and was living in Nazareth, learning how to be a carpenter.