What is context? For most, it’s a set of circumstances which form a setting for the allowance of understanding, creating a point of view and thus giving us a chance to evaluate any situation. The more experience we have with any one topic, contextually speaking, the better we’ll evaluate and decide an outcome. This could be circumstantial whereby we have direct control over the outcomes, or a condition which although we can’t determine outcome, we can accept it as truth or at the very least out of our hands, in other words, we aren’t surprised. However, can context take on a direction of purpose, rather than the analysis of the past or cogent outcomes? I think so, and by this, I mean a cognitive effort to will one’s self, by the Graces of God, to accept whatever context arises and be willing to apply a set of understandings which are contemplative, compassionate, and in the end the right decision. As we grow older, I think this becomes a more plausible position to be in, at least as a matter of course. Our context becomes one of proper decision making, and then also being able to see the contextual road signs which will lead us in the right direction.
When we read any history book, we run the risk of placing an event long since passed, in an incorrect contextual situation. We begin to look at events which may have happened a generation back, or even a couple of centuries in the past, and affix our values and perceptions to their outcomes. This is most dangerous, especially when we apply a harsher or less compassionate system of judgment to a proper system of context as it relates to the people and times of our general focus. Ok, so let me give you an example. Would it be fair to judge the medicinal practices of the early twentieth century as they relate to today’s medicine? I think most people would give a resounding, “no!”. Medicines and training have improved dramatically, we have specialist for nearly everything, and because of this, we live in a hypersensitive environment as it relates to health and fitness today. I’m sure we all know a few people who spend their nights and evenings, working out making sure to eat the proper diet for an attempt to prolong a healthy and beneficial quality of life. So, it would be bad form to criticize anyone from earlier generations, about their eating or working out habits, without having an extensive knowledge of the times as they relate to those individuals. Acting like we know, when we don’t know, causes a poor platform for supposition and judgement, which left unchecked can create a paradigm where our contextual perceptions are misaligned with our environment.
In today’s social climate, we see a great number of people giving unasked advice on politics, race relations, social dilemmas, and even health. Everyone it seems is an expert, and everyone reserves the right to be offended at the thinnest of slights, if they can distort the context of whatever is happening and bend it towards a selfish goal an accomplishment although diminishing, is in its own context realized. This diminishing accomplishment occurs while trying to apply contextual justice to matters which are already decided by the lens of yesterday, or a complete failure to understand anything more than our own person milieu. The result inevitably means, a constant search to right the wrongs of everything seen, and an awful reality is, due to in improper alignment of context, those who pursue justice, are usually the ones who fail to recognize it when it is before their eyes. They fail to recognize the inherent desire for all humans to set things right, and those social justice warriors (SJWs), have become self-appointed martyrs to a religion which have no true basis of judgement or context to determine justice whatsoever. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement is a perfect example of this aberration of truth, and the application of misaligned context as it relates to everyone’s sense of justice. I will gladly admit though, people have been abused in the past and it was clearly discrimination. Their rights were taken from them, and in many cases of abhorrent racism, lives were lost. This is as unacceptable a point as anyone can make, life is the most precious gift God gave us, and it isn’t acceptable to take life as a matter of faith. However, in the cases which we’re presented with daily onslaught of poor policing, poor social behavior, and misrepresentation of facts (or rather a distortion of facts, language is an effective tool) an environment is created causing a climate of misaligned context. Everyone sees the same event, but everyone has a different opinion, and everyone else’s opinion is wrong but ours and the people who agree with us. No wonder there is so much strife these days, but is this the right context, is this the right perception of our world as it relates to all of us. Quick answer, nope, it’s nowhere close to reality.
I love to talk to people, and wherever I can find a conversation, I will. What I’ve learned over the years is, most everyone is good, we are all trying to do the best we can with what we have, and the last thing most people want is a climate of strife and turmoil. We inherently want good things, although an understanding of struggle to have those good things is being replaced by an environment of entitlement and, “what can I get now” attitudes. Most people have a very sane view of life, and can see worthless context when it arises, though just like with anything, unfortunate context and its attractors mutate to the growing swell of anecdotal history plaguing any good discourse today. A history which fails to look at context and a much broader picture, and dictates feelings based on individual stories as a matter of course, and how difficulties should be dealt with. For the record, no decision ever should be based on a matter of feeling as it relates to our culture, look at prohibition (Amendment 18, and its repeal Amendment 21). If we go back and look at the policing as it pertains to the BLM movement, we can see verified police corruption if not racism in certain cases, like the Slager vs. South Carolina case, where Slager shot Scott in the back at a traffic stop, and it wasn’t self-defense this is self-evident in the video of the murder.(South Carolina, Michael Slager) We can see many more events of this nature occur throughout the US, though if we just examine this one case and then with a simplistic ideological point-of-view, we try to paint the landscape regarding policing as racist, then we place situations much like the Slager case in poor context to the overall situation. I included the CNN report as a matter of context to read along with my points, but one line in the article struck a chord with me. “ ’Attorney Chris Stewart said the plea represented a rare show of accountability compared to other police-involved deaths that did not end in pleas or convictions.’ ” Although, I’m positive Chris Stewart is an intelligent attorney, what a dumb comment to make! It insinuates systemic racism, and presumes the other district attorneys who pursue justice are colluding with this attempt at racism, and now the jig is up, because Stewart has overcome the unobtainable. The context is poorly judged in this statement, Stewart made, and should never have been allowed as a matter of statement on the CNN report unless vetted properly to insure the statement was of fact, or placed into a bubble allowing the general reader and understanding, this poorly crafted statement does not represent an accurate depiction of our criminal justice system and the moral and ethical attempts to serve justice daily. In 2002, the Bureau of Justice Statistics concluded in over 26,000 times of complaint against an officer only approximately 8% were found to be of merit and exhibited “sufficient evidence to justify disciplinary action against the officer or officers”. Hardly systemic, and this was in 2002, are we to believe racism is getting worse, I thought we lived in a generational time where we understand and perceive things better than our previous descendants? If anyone has the time, they can spend days scouring the federal and state websites to better understand the transparency with which our society goes through to show a heightened sense of justice, and what they will find, is it’s all out there, a system of racism would never show its flaws to fool you, just wouldn’t make any sense at all. It’s all about the context.
So, why did I go through this long, drawn out story over context? Even in our daily lives, when we aren’t paying attention, the subjective line of context is always moving. If we’re not careful, we’ll eventually be caught on the wrong side of the contextual line, and be held accountable and judged by criteria we do not agree with and by arguments poorly crafted but gain momentum over a mob rule. What do we have to look to, to properly and objectively base any judgement on? In short, God, and the moral teachings of the Church. I know there are those people out there who have their own opinions of God and the Catholic Church, but generally this is all it ever is, a nuanced opinion, most likely derived from a firsthand experience or a retelling of something based on a subjective point of view, with no obvious means of cross-reference to be seen. As, fathers and husbands, it is up to us, when we attempt to lead our families to weed through all the junk which is purposely placed before us, and know when and when not to stop and investigate. As we see major events happen before our eyes, played out on a global scale, the need to take our time and be more deliberate about our decisions is paramount. Our wives and kids depend on it. Like I stated before, people are searching for truth and people to follow. I think this is the very nature of our beings, to never rest until we find, the truth, and just where this truth resides. If we look back at our history, it’s founded on a strict set of Judeo-Christian values and morals as a roadmap. The very fiber of our constitution is related to a proper understanding of these values, and now because of poor context, there are those who would try and upend our concepts of objective truths and values and replace them with a shiny and poorly constructed set of subjective contextual feelings as they pertain to events as they happen. A desire to make our outcomes equal is the end of this quest as far as I can tell, and this is another way of exclaiming, “life isn’t fair”.
Of course, life isn’t fair, therefore we need leaders, men and women to help their families proceed down the proper pathway to life. Life in the sense as we contextually understand it now, and as we perceive it to be, based on our poor understanding of God’s glory and love. So where does this leave any of us? Where do we go from here, and what can we trust above all else? There are two things needed, the word, and the interpretation of this word. When we have both, we are no longer concerned with fair, but with right as it pertains to our life and the lives of the people around us. Read the Bible, in the context with which you understand it, and do this daily. Then when you have questions, don’t go and ask your friend who may have less of an understanding than you, but go to the authority, the people who compiled the Bible and ask your questions. This activity daily will change your life for the good, I never walked away from any daily readings thinking, “well I could have done without that tidbit”. Some of the readings didn’t pertain to my situation, obviously, but there have been other readings which seemed to talk to me personally. It was as if the reading was picked that day for my questions, or more astoundingly the answers to questions which seemingly weighed my heart down for what seemed ages. The Bible is beautiful, this collection of books is translative of life to give us a sense of the proper context as we approach every situation we encounter. Our context becomes such, as we see everything in black and white, a definite right and wrong. Not in a sense where we judge people or create a divisive environment, but instead a right and wrong determined to bring, into the fold everyone we see. We are all created by God, and in such a context, we are all precious in God’s eyes. As a father, I could never choose one child over another, I love them too much, but in the context of God, I would always put their needs first above my own, and I would always stand defense to anything which insinuates a harm against them. Anyone today could say, “well I don’t have to believe in God, to know this”, but I would argue, you most certainly do. To keep an objective contextual point of view, you always need to know where you are, and how to proceed forward without fear of backsliding. Always keep the light of Christ before you, to light your path, and keep truth in perspective. An objective viewpoint which places context into its proper perspective, helps us to separate the fact from the fiction. There is too much supposition and fictional points of view floating around in today’s media, politics, and social commentary. I challenge the men and women reading this, to stand above all this, and choose to be better and focus on a proper context to all situations. Take your time making decisions, appreciate the efforts, the struggles, and the bigger picture in anything you’re looking at. We just don’t fully know the narrative with which our struggles are placed or why the means exist to our own ends, but understanding the overall purpose, places everything we could possibly know and understand into a more understandable context.
I hope if you are struggling with content, or have personal issues in your own life, you will look to God in all matters. The answers are usually found in the silence of our hearts and the context of the questions we ask, so pray, pray a lot, and you will find your answers. May God bless you and your family!!!
God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good!!!