I was at work last week, and somebody asked me if I had tried a certain meat product.  When I said no, he automatically replied with, “I didn’t know you were vegetarian!  I mean, I figured you ate meat because of the gun thing.” (I’m pretty open about my views on guns and gun control at work, and people know that I carry outside of work).  I was pretty stunned.  I mean, this fellow made two assumptions: because I hadn’t tried the product, I was automatically a vegetarian, and because I carry a gun, this presents a disparity.  I disagree on both parts.

First, just because I’m an omnivore doesn’t mean that I have tried everything that has meat in it.  I have never tried blood sausage or veal or venison either.  That lack of experience does not make me a vegetarian.

Second, just because I carry a gun does not mean I can not be a vegetarian.  I don’t carry a gun to hunt-I carry it for self-defense.  I actually know a vegetarian who carries a gun, and it’s not weird or shocking to me.  There are lots of reasons that people are vegetarians, and there are lots of reasons that people carry guns-assuming that the two overlapping is strange is kind of naive.

I know that the comment was not meant in an insulting way.  I know that.  I was just really surprised by the instant use of stereotypes.  I think that as soon as this fellow found out I carry, he automatically fit me into a category that I’m not really sure I fit into.  I was disappointed.

Unfortunately, we all do this.  We meet someone and automatically categorize them based on one or two things we know about them.  But people are so much more complex than that.  We are so much more than just Republicans or Democrats, men or women, young or old.  We are more than our race, our job title, or our education.  And it frustrates me when we stereotype others based on a set of often inaccurate assumptions about a group.

So please, don’t assume I can not be a vegetarian just because I carry a gun.  Never mind that I’m not; just don’t assume that.


Apologies for not posting in a week!  I didn’t even realize until I logged in today and noticed.  And then my jaw dropped.

Anyway, my first interview for the internship is tomorrow, and I am extremely nervous.  I have prepared a cheat sheet for all of the information the interviewers want me to be versed in.  I have an outfit.  But the one thing I am nervous about explaining is the fact that I don’t belong to a political party.

According to the information I was given, I have to be prepared to explain why I do not belong to a party.  Honestly, I wish that (to be fair) party members had to explain their political preference in their interview.  However, this is not the case.  The burden of defending political beliefs falls only on those of us who are NPP.

I do have my reasons.  I think that many (not all) Americans use their political party as a mental shortcut when it comes to voting.  It is an easy label that can be used to easily determine which candidates and which propositions to vote for.  I don’t have a problem with mental shortcuts-they are a naturally occurring phenomenon that allows people to make quick decisions.  However, when put into the context of voting for the laws of the land and our political leaders, those shortcuts are really scary.  I don’t belong to a political party because I don’t want to fall into a trap of not doing the research before a vote and choosing my party over my common sense.

The big problem is saying that without offending the panel of interviewers, many of which probably belong to political parties.  Any suggestions?

For the past 6 weeks we have been doing a series with our students based on Rich Stearns’ book The Hole in our Gospel.  Last night was the final lesson, and I found it to be very inspiring. 

Last night’s lesson featured the story about the founder of Hoops of Hope.  His initial idea was to shoot free throws to raise money for those orphaned by the AIDS crisis.  The first year, 2004, he raised $3,000 from donations and sponsers.  Now, thousands of people participate in a shoot-a-thon every year to raise money to build medical facilities, buy caregiver kits, and support orphans.  The event has raised over $1,000,000 in 6 years.  The coolest thing about the story?  The founder was 9 years old.  This kid isn’t even in college yet and he’s probably schooling most of us in terms of giving.  His big heart and amazing successes got me thinking.  If a 9 year old kid could start something so huge, why not us? 

I know that life can be hectic sometimes, but does that chaos get in the way of what we’re giving back?  All of us have been blessed with gifts-we are great talkers, or great friends, or talented musicians or atheletes.  Isn’t it time we start to put those talents to use (if we’re not already)?  Think about it.  If all of us gave at least one hour of our time a week to doing something we are already good at, but for the benefit of others, what a world it would be.  We could be changing lives left and right!  Since this summer many of us will have more down time, why not spend some of that time volunteering?

Or, what about all we have?  If you are a starving college student, you may be ready to skip to the next paragraph, but please hear me out.  While we may not be the richest people in the US, we are living in one of the wealthiest countries in the world.  We have all sorts of freedoms and opportunities, and we take them for granted sometimes.  $35 dollars a month can save a child in a foreign country.  $100 once in a while can buy livestock, which can change a family’s life.  If you are really, ridiculously poor, do you have clothes you don’t wear?  Donate them.  Do you have movies you rarely watch?  Get a Netflix account and donate them.  Hey, we all have blood-why not see if you can donate?

We all have ways we can give to others-sometimes we are held back.  There are many psychological models on behavior and why people do the things they do (or don’t).  One that stands out is the Theory of Planned Behavior.  This theory takes into consideration 3 factors that determine whether or not a person will act: Attitude, Social Norms, and Perceived Control.  What I find most interesting is that when this theory is applied to the giving of our time and resources (more specifically why people don’t give that much), it looks like we are the only ones holding us back.  We don’t give because we don’t care, or we are alone in our giving, or because we don’t know if we even can help. 

I think it’s time to stop this pattern, and gain an attitude of compassion and self-efficacy.  We can get others involved, and we can all help, since we are all talented, gifted, unique individuals.  I know that some of you already volunteer and give, and that is wonderful.  I have seen amazing things happen due to Middle School and High School students.  I have seen thousands of dollars raised, and houses built, and people reached, all by students.  We can change the world, it’s all a matter of knowing that we can and doing something about it.

Challenge: Find a way you can make some change happen this summer.  Then, tell me about it!

Normally I do not set an alarm when I have a day off because Nason wakes up at a decent time, so I just get up a half hour or so after he leaves for work.  This morning, however, I woke up a little late. 

Well, not a little late. 

10:50.  I don’t know why.  Maybe it was the fact that we went and saw a movie last night, or maybe because we stayed up until midnight or so afterwards.  Maybe it was the…hanky panky…this morning.  But whatever it was, I am now feeling a little disoriented.  It feels like half the day has been slept away.  If I was at work right now, I would be done with 5-6 hours of my shift.  That’s a significant amount of time, and I’m kind of embarrassed.

On a different note, we all enjoyed the movie last night (we went with a couple of friends).  We went to see Shutter Island, and it wasn’t really what I expected.  Having only seen the previews in a couple of places (and not really paid much attention to them), I thought it would be more of a horror film, and I was a little apprehensive.  However, it was more of a psychological thriller, and I was very impressed.  I loved that it addressed some of the issues in methods of mental illness treatment, from the lobotomy to medication to simply treating patients with respect and caring for them (which surprisingly works to some degree as shown in the town of Geel).  Overall, it was an enjoyable film with enough twists and turns to keep all of us guessing.  I’d love to go see it again, just to see if my perception of the film has changed due to the plot twist at the very end.

Your turn!

Seen any good movies lately?