Monday, October 1, 2012

Ostracized


Today my students and I are writing on the word ‘ostracize.’ I’ll go first.

I’ve always had a heart for the outcasts, the underdogs, the ugly ducklings. When I was growing up there was a boy in our church named Harold, a loner who was tall and lanky as Ichabod Crane. His face was so pockmarked that the other kids said it had more holes than a golf course.

One day I saw him sitting at the end of a pew all by himself and wondered if I should go sit beside him… but I didn’t really want to go that far, I mean, what would people think?

So I came up with another plan to inform him that someone knew he existed. I pulled a stick of Spearmint Gum from my prized pack, marched straight down the aisle to where he sat, and held it out to him. How embarrassing when he shook his head ‘no,’ he didn’t want it.  


Fast forward 10 years to the school pariah at ENCSD where I taught P.E. Cassie was so obese that all the other children made fun of her. She waddled when she walked and was clumsy and inept at sports and most everything else she attempted. 

No one gave her the time of day. Whenever we played competitive games like kick ball or held relay races, none of the team captains chose her. She was left standing alone while all the others stood together on their individual teams, gearing up for the fun.   

And so I made Cassie my official pet and assigned her the role of captain so she’d get to choose team members instead of being automatically swept to the sideline. When we lined up to go back inside the building I placed her in front of the others and said, “Follow Cassie, the leader.”

This psychology actually works. Children are not oblivious to the treatment others receive, and they tend to follow suit when another is well esteemed. When they were with me on the playground the other kids began showing respect for Cassie, and eventually stopped poking fun and ridiculing her altogether.

***

Then there was the Christian blog group that ostracized me because, apparently, only pontificating was tolerable, and if you didn’t preach to the choir they didn’t want you. Their motto seemed to be, “You tell me what I know and I’ll tell you what you know.”     


When have you encountered ostracism?

68 comments:

  1. Oh, Debra, how I feel for Cassie, and all the underdogs out there. How my heart aches for them, and how I, too, tried to turn things around for some of my shunned students.
    We must be twin daughters of different mothers with our love for and sensitivity toward the oppressed and downtrodden. If we are to be disciples of our Lord Jesus, we must love and lift up the least of these, always and everywhere.
    I'm so sorry that this Christian blogging group closed the door upon you. Sadly, it is their loss. How much more blessed they would have been had they opened themselves up to your witness?
    I have encountered ostracism from certain members of my former Episcopal church when I made the decision to join the Methodist one. Even though I continue to make positive and loving comments on Facebook, there is no reaction from them whatsoever. I've decided it is just what it is. I will continue to love and continue my journey with Him.
    Thank you, dear friend, for this amazing post. Your writing always inspires me and places my heart in the comfort zone . . .
    Blessings!

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    1. Martha, this is only a drop in the bucket. I’m sure you and I both could write a book on our experience with ostracism. There are so many stories I have of people I’ve known who were shunned. In fact, I should make this a whole chapter in the memoir. There are far sadder stories than these to share…
      You’re right in saying, ‘their loss.’ I say the same thing about your former church: their loss and the Methodists gain! You are such an asset to them with your gifts and talents, friend.
      Happy fall! Wishing you a wonderful week!

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  2. A drop in the bucket? Oh, wow, there is more to come!
    Happy fall to you, too! This is my favorite time of the year as everything, just before its passing, gives glory to the Lord with all its color and splendor. May we always do the same! :)

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    1. It’ll probably go in the memoir and not on the blog. Are you doing sequels to your book, Martha?
      When you mentioned that group who ostracized you it reminded me of the time I went to a conference and met a guy who asked where I went to church. I said “Episcopal,” and he said, “You know what they say. Where two or more are gathered there’s a fifth.” I didn’t get it, so soon thereafter I asked our priest about it. He laughed and said, “Oh you know, a fifth of Vodka.” :-0

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  3. I appreciate what u did for Cassie! U are right, what one does, the others follow! Hats off for ur effort and ur discovery of that simple truth...
    I am happy to know u, a person who genuinely cares and also has the guts to stand out of the crowd! Way to go.

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    1. Jerly, you’d have done the same my friend, you angel you. Have you ever been rejected? Those who’ve experienced exclusion have more empathy for others who’ve been ostracized – or at least they should.

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  4. This post reminded me of my school days when I was ostracised because I did not have a boy-friend. I know that sounds pretty silly but that incident stayed on with me. My teenage years were filled with many instances of keeping me away and it was then I became my close friend and in doing so, I never felt lonely.

    I really admire what you did to Casey. You are a blessing, Debra. I thank God for you and what you do. Let your light shine to many people.

    Joy always,
    Susan

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    1. Oh Susan, high school classmates can be mean and petty, can’t they? Of course those memories would have a lasting impact on you. I’m glad to hear of a girl who learned from that experience to be her own best friend. What a beautiful story, one you should write more about to help other young girls who are struggling to overcome peer pressure.

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  5. Ooh Cassie reminded me of my kindergarten days, when I was overweight and my classmates called me "pig" and didn't want to play with me. I recall those days, Debra, when I would just walk on the school playground all alone, brushing the sand with my feet while watching the other kids running and enjoying their childhood.

    It's strange what that Christian blog group did to you. I mean, they're supposed to be "Christian," right? And be impartial and be open to anybody who wants to be a part of their group. Sadly, some Christians do call themselves Christian but really don't live much like Christians. Oops, sorry for the word vomit. But I was just reading a verse from the Bible last night about the Pharisees and I'm very much reminded of it because of your post.

    You ARE a blessing, Debra! A blessing to me, a blessing to the blogging world! And to the world as a whole! Much love to you ♥♥♥ God bless :-)

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    1. Irene, I can’t even imagine you being a chubby little thing in kindergarten; you’re so stunningly beautiful now. Bless your heart. Kids are so cruel, especially to call you ‘pig.’ That’s just downright mean. When my daughter started first grade at a certain private school the kids there ostracized her too. They ganged up at recess and played together and left her sitting under a tree by herself. I eventually took her out of that school.
      Yeah, they were pharisees alright. I wrote about that experience as a guest post on Bill Huffhine’s blog awhile back. When I find it I’ll send you the link.

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    2. I'm glad you took out your daughter from that school and spare her from all the emotional trauma early on.

      Yes please do send me the link. Would LOVE to read your guest post. ♥

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    3. Here it is Irene.

      http://debrasblogpureandsimple.blogspot.com/2010/10/forgetting-how-to-skip_27.html

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  6. Hi Debra:
    You'd think moving ALMOST every three years while growing up (grammar school and middle school age) would have created many cases of ostracism for me and what with my verbal challenges I've endured my entire life I'm the PERFECT example.

    Yes I did face many cases and the story you provided of Cassie DID happen quite often to me as I wasn't as physically fit as many of my classmates. Taking into account my scoliosis I didn't look NORMAL, whatever that word means. So there have been many times during my school career, especially grammar school and middle school that I felt the negative eyes upon me.

    However, one of the things this taught me was resilience. I clearly understood that if I wanted to overcome the ostracism, it was up to me. I'm in charge of my life and if I wanted to find friends then I had to speak up. To heck with me speech challenges. To heck with how I perceived myself. As I became more confident, many of those who ostracized me in the beginning saw that I wasn't sitting back and simply accepting my lot in life. SOME of them came around and those that didn't were in turn ostracized themselves because they continued to harass me. My friends (Those same people who started out ostracizing me) who accepted me became my biggest supporters and if someone spoke out against me they ALWAYS had my back.

    So I saw both sides and I was fortunate that I had the back bone to stand up and say accept me for who I am.
    --
    Chris

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    1. What a powerful story of triumph and resiliency Chris! Apparently you’ve become who you are today, not in spite of, but because of the childhood ostracism. Those with handicaps either overcome or sink into despair. Your story is a perfect example of success, how you rose above your circumstances and began to encourage others in your writing and in your life. Bravo!

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  7. I don't think I've had an experience of being ostracized until recently, Debra. I know a lot of lies went into two friends decision to keep me far, until I decided to break off from them completely. My heart breaks for children who are ostracized. What you did for Cassie is a beautiful thing. I wish there were a lot more teachers (people) like you, my beautiful friend. ♥

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    1. Corinne, those two so-called friends needed to go. Who needs friends who’ll lie about you? My heart breaks for children everywhere like Cassie. No child deserves to be treated with distain. Even some of the teachers were acting like the mean kids; I overheard more than I cared to hear :-(

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  8. Hi, Debra! ~

    I have encountered ostracism many times throughout my life. Your post brings one particular situation to my mind...

    When I was in Jr. High, my Math teacher reprimanded me in front of the whole class for staying home from school the previous day to watch and 'help' my dog give birth to her first litter of pups. (As if I would have learned anything at school that could compare to that educational experience...)

    Anyway, she told me I'd have to stay after school for my punishment and when I replied that I'd have to get back to her about that she became irate and demanded an explanation.

    I said, "I need to see if I can arrange transportation before I can commit to staying after school."

    All the kids in class laughed and they called me 'Transportation' for the rest of the year. I didn't even get what was weird about what I had said.

    Imagine my delight to grow up and find myself, today, surrounded by people who love language and interesting word usage instead of ridiculing these art forms! Wonderful!

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    1. Linda, what school lesson could possibly be better than being midwife and assisting your dog in giving birth to those puppies! I mean, what academic knowledge could possibly compare with that real-life experience? What an awesome story, girl! Miss Transportation! I love your spunk; and you haven’t changed a bit ;-)

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  9. This is near and dear to my heart and I thank God for you and the way he uses you to write. I remember when i was told by my fathers mother that my mother died because I came out dark black and with my other sister and brother being high yellow , real light skin what was said over and over again did make me feel inferior and not wanted but my mothers mother was the angel that always had a kind word and love spoken and shawn toward me it appeared i always stuck out but i found out after I was grown that it was not me that they had issue with but that my fathers, father wasnt who I thought he was but was a caucasian man and being being real dark skin made it hard for them to take me where they took my sister and brother to see the other folks because i didnt fit in because I was not light skinned enough do as they said back then pass. So it was not me that was hated and ostracized but the the lie that was trying to be kept until I showed up and put some real color in the family that couldnt be denied.We sometimes will never know the truth behind why we are astracized but God got that to.

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    1. Thank you for sharing your story Dorothy. Your great-grandmother told you that your mother died because your skin was dark? Oh my, that must have done some emotional damage to you as a child. Thank God for your maternal grandmother who knew how to give you the love and acceptance you deserved. What we all need to teach our children is to heed Martin Luther King Jr.’s immortal words.
      “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.”

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  10. Hi Debra:
    Great job bringing into the open about ostracism. It occurs on different levels and to some degree we've all been a victim of it or have known someone who have gone through it. Sadly, my experience with it was from it was from church folks but I've since released them through forgiveness so that I can now move on with my life.

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    1. Yvonne, why does that not surprise me about the church folks? Many of us have suffered rejection by religious people – and that’s what they are: more religious than righteous quiet often. Sometimes we have to forgive while brushing the dust off our feet and moving on, yes we do.

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  11. Debra you have such a beautiful heart. What a blessing you were for Cassie and those like her. I never was ostracized at school but I saw plenty of kids who were and always tried to stick up for them when kids would be mean. It's awful how mean kids can be!

    It's kind of ironic but I feel more ostracized sometimes now as an adult than any memory of feeling so in childhood. Mothers can be highly competitive and "cliquish" these days, and sometimes when I'm among older mothers I can get the cold shoulder..for example being the only one present completely left out of a conversation. It's not a good feeling! But I'm older now, and wiser, and can take it. I feel so bad for young children that get bullied and ostracized. It's really a shame and the responsibility of us parents to teach our own children compassion towards those who are different.
    ~ blessings

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    1. Jessica, if I accomplished nothing else that year, I do believe I made a difference in that one child’s life - but hopefully the other children learned compassion, if nothing else.
      On being cliquish…yep, I’ve met those moms too. What an example they are setting for their children :-( No wonder the kids emulate such behavior.

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  12. Me, sometime in grade school I developed cooties and was on the out with everyone ever since. Thus began my people watching pass time.

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    1. Oh Anna, no way! Really? Cooties? No wonder you moved to the wilderness and became a writer. Kudos (not cooties)!

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  13. Now get to tell it . . . I felt ostracized by those beautiful girls in high school who formed the 'twirler' (majorette) and cheerleader squads. Why I wanted to belong is beside the point -- it goes with the territory of being a bright teenager in a world that valued (especially back then) beauty more. As it turned out, the teacher in charge of the squads was onto them, and implemented new rules that superceded their petty ones. Can you picture me twirling a baton? The real point, though, is that, like you, I have such an aversion to insensitivity. Being different should not be a curse. And I love the way you handled Cassie.

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    1. Oh Deborah, no, I can’t quite picture you twirling a baton or waving pompoms ;-) Did they have an artist/literary act in your high school?
      I recall feeling offended just a little when, after graduation, someone said to me, “I bet you were a cheerleader in H.S.” I quickly said, “No I was NOT; I played basketball.” Like, please don’t insult my intelligence. Our culture seems to still value the superficial though.

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  14. oh this hits so close to home... I've been the popular kid and I've been the picked on kid. It is not a great feeling to be isolated from your friends, especially in formative years.

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    1. I feel for all the children, Ana, at the mercy of classmates (and sometimes insensitive teachers). I’ve been on both sides too. There were a few good years and some awful. Writing about it has been cathartic.

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  15. A lot. It bothered me for a long while. I mean, I am not one size fits all, and I don' fit into a nice box. One day, Mom told me... 'Who the f**k cares what people think about you.. think about it. If they are so busy talking about you, keeping you from this or that, can you imagine how boring their lives must be if they have all that time on their hands to consider you...." I mean she had a point. Now, I just don't worry about it. With my kids, I made sure they understood this early on, and have encouraged them to share AND when I hear friends of my kids talking about it, I share the lesson. I am reminded this starts in the home with the parents. Where do kids learn? It makes me sad we have come so far, but we still have even further to go.

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    1. Brenda, I think I’d love your mom; she did have a good point. Don’t people have anything better to do with their time than put others down? Does it make them feel better about themselves to degrade another? Oh, I instilled in my kids early on the golden rule. It’s so simple.

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  16. I still remember catching some gals making fun of me in junior high because I only had one pair of jeans. I'd spent all the money my parents would give me on one pair of Guess jeans to try to be cool...

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    1. Oh Rachel, shame on them :-( I’ll bet we could exchange some stories from junior high and high school. There was one girl I know whose mother tore up the sofa upholstery to make her a new dress so she wouldn’t have to wear the same one to school every day. I remember one year having exactly enough clothes to rotate every five days. Monday was the brown skirt with the tan sweater, etc… one girl said to me one day, “I knew you were going to be wearing that today.” Why do we remember this stuff all our lives?

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  17. We were practicing some songs in class for a teacher who was celebrating her birthday. One student suddenly asked everyone to stop singing, divided us into three groups and asked each group to sing a line from the song. When our group sang, she asked us to repeat the line then one by one asked some students to stop singing until it was just me and another student left. Obviously I was the odd ball and right in front of everyone else, she asked me to move out of the circle and stop singing with the group.

    I've never sang again since then...

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    1. Oh Anne, how mean hearted :-( I’ll bet her karma taught her not to single others out. You are still singing, though, with your lovely writing voice. Bravo!

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  18. I knew you would be that kind of teacher Debra! You saw a way through for that plump student. Unkindness becomes a circle somehow,someone feels threatened or jealous of something or someone, sometimes even jealous of a totally different person than the one in front of them yet they feel they have to pass it on and hurt someone else. It's a fact of human-nature and probably began back in the dark ages when we were more like animals than humans, survival of the fittest. However we aren't animals and we should rise above that nature and break the circle by behaving differently, behaving kindly and you are so right that it begins in the home and should be reinforced at school. Children need to be led towards empathy to be taught to nurture that side of our natures and walk away from that primeval prompting to wound.
    That little boy in church who refused your kind offer of some gum was no doubt so used to being teased he thought you had an ulterior motive, how sad that his trust had been dashed down so far. However I bet he still remembers that day Debra!

    Hugs Jane

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    1. Jane, there are smaller versions of Lord of the Flies everywhere, particularly in schools. One day when I was standing outside the door waiting for a teacher to release the students to me for P.E. I observed a disturbing scene. I saw Cassie approach the teacher and appeal to her for help. She complained that another student had called her “a bad name”. But alas, instead of reprimanding the culprit, the teacher scolded the victim. “Would you stop tattling? Every time I turn around you are snitching on someone.” No wonder the kids had learned to pick on others with impunity. I believe that teaching children compassion is more important than some of the compulsory drivel shoved down kids’ throats.
      You’re the first person here that mentioned Harold. Thank you for the encouraging words Jane. Hugs.

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  19. I don't recall any times when I was ostracized unless you count the time I was kicked out of Girl Scouts for smoking. I do remember other kids who received such treatment and wish I'd not added to their misery. The thing is, I grew up to be a bleeding heart liberal, champion of underdogs everywhere. I cannot bear cruelty or injustice when I witness it. And don't get me started on so-called "Christians."

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    1. I’d count the time you were kicked out of Girl Scouts for smoking as a form of ostracism. Oh Jayne, that must have been traumatic for you :-( I’d be scarred for life. On cruelty and injustice… I can’t bear it either – neither these nor pharisees.

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  20. Debra, thank you for your kind comment on my blog last week. I am following you now too. I appreciate the introspective nature of your posts, and I look forward to reading more.

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    1. Hi Elisa, how did your reading go at the Houston Poetry Fest? Delightful I’ll bet.
      Have a wonderful weekend.

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  21. I wrote a post 2 days ago about a girl who was frozen out, bullied or completely unnoticed. My son "had" to sit with her. he was nice while it lasted. as i wrote it made me realize how much "we Christians" talk about helping others. and talk. and talk.
    I am your newest follower..pls follow back if you can.

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    1. Annmarie, “Don’t sit next to Peggy” - case in point. At least your son has a good heart and doesn’t seem too influenced by the herd. Yeah, better to walk the talk. ~ Blessings

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  22. It took me long to come back but I had reflected more on what you wrote. I had experienced it when I was older because of a sickness. It was such a terrible feeling. It was my family who helped me go through this hard time.

    I always pray for kindhearted teachers out there like you. It's never an easy task but a simple kind deed will last forever.

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    1. Oh Melissa, I’m sorry you were ostracized because of a sickness. When I was in first grade I felt like a leper when chicken pox left a huge black scab on my chin, in such a conspicuous place. It caused others to perceive me as somehow unclean. I remember well how upset my mother was when my grade on hygiene went down from an A to a B because of it. Can you imagine grading children these days on hygiene? But that was in the dark ages ;-)

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    2. LOL! I couldn't imagine Debra... you made me laugh :P

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  23. A great post Debra and you brought back some memories when I was young. I wore thick glasses since I was about 5 years old and the children, including my own nieces and nephews made fun of me. It was terrible and I will never forget how it made me feel. You did a great thing for Cassie!!

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    1. Nelieta, I had a nephew who wore thick glasses. I remember how others called him clumsy when he couldn’t catch the ball; they made fun of him until they realized he was half blind.
      Did you end up getting contacts, beautiful lady? Did you have surgery? You can’t be that blind to take such gorgeous photos.

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  24. Yes, ostracization is all too common, and, unfortunately, it doesn't end with childhood.

    I like how you put this:

    "...apparently, only pontificating was tolerable, and if you didn’t preach to the choir they didn’t want you. Their motto seemed to be, “You tell me what I know and I’ll tell you what you know.”"

    It's not just blog groups either. Christian groups seem to have a natural inclination toward group-think, that requires conscious effort to resist.

    Thanks, for sharing!

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    1. During the brief time I was part of this group I began to identify more and more with how Jesus felt when the Pharisees tried to trip him up with their questions.
      The administrator started up her random queries one day, “What are your religious beliefs and what denomination do you belong to?” There were a variety of answers, everything from Vineyard to Anglican to Baptist to whatever. I wrote that I believed the Apostles’ Creed and was a follower of Jesus Christ, instead of identifying myself with a particular church denomination.
      Then this question was posted: “What Bible translation do you read? Are you a KJV advocate, or do you believe that other translations are acceptable? How cliquish can you get?

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    2. Debra, I recently saw a church creed in which they stated as one of their core values, "We believe the King James version of the Bible is the inspired word of God."

      I kept my mouth shut, but wanted to ask, "So, are you under the false impression that the Bible was originally written in King James English? Or do you just not understand the difference between inspired writing and translation of inspired writing?"

      In the end, I have to simply thank God for His amazing willingness and ability to use each of us despite our prejudices. I'm sure I still have my own areas of blindness...I just can't see my own as well...

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    3. Joe, recently my friend who moved here to the U.S from Jerusalem asked me to recommend a good translation because she was struggling to understand the KJV, but was told by some in her church that this was the ONLY true version. She said that when she read The Jerusalem Bible in order to understand the meaning she almost felt guilty because of her church leader’s dogmatism. I can’t tell you how many people I know who hold this same belief. One woman recently told me that any Bible who had a copyright date was not God-inspired. Thankfully, we have the Holy Spirit who leads us into all truth. I feel sure that Christ would want us to read any translation we could understand over one that was “Greek” to us ;-)

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  25. Wow. God certainly leads us where we need to be. This is my first visit to your blog and I am so touched by this piece. I have three young boys and we speak continuously about this. My oldest just started seventh grade this year and is has required so much conversation about staying true to himself even when it doesn't go with the crowd or make him "cool." He looks for the the children who are on the fringes and works hard to bring them close to him. Thank you for this work and your uplifting and encouraging words:)

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    1. Hi Christina, I’m glad you stopped by so I’d know where to find you. And what a surprise to discover the wonders over at your place, the enchanted forest full of glorious light and love – not to mention the awesome shadow box art I peeked over at. I’d love to hear more about your children’s book too. Keep the conversation going with our son on compassion. You must be so proud of the way he reaches out to children on the fringes. I know I'd be.

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  26. Hi Debra, as an adult I can't remember being ostracized, although I do recall being outcast by Christians. Once when the members of my youth group lined up and called me a false Christian. I think it was because I had had sex with my boyfriend. I was 19 at the time. Another time it was also from Christians who call me basically a witch because my doctrine differed from theirs. There were other times too but I can't remember them right now. Anyway, these events were EXTREMELY painful because I was being rejected by people I loved. Years later I can say that it has taught me to stand on my own two feet and not give my power away to any group. I could go on and on, but I'll spare you. Sending love Debra!

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    1. Leah, I trust that you’ve found healing from the stones hurled your way. I’ve meet those people you mention. Joe commented that Christian groups have a natural inclination toward group-think. In psychology it’s called the herd mentality. Thinkers who express anything different are all too often ostracized. I’m sure you can relate to the words of poet John Berryman: “Artists are extremely lucky who are presented with the worst possible ordeal which will not actually kill them.... Among the greatest pieces of luck for high achievement is ordeal. I hope to be nearly crucified.” Sending love right back!

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  27. oneday,our teacher gave us a presentation and told that you all students have to interpret pictures...i chose the picture debra which you have chosen...the girl sitting lonely while other two are enjoying...it happened two months ago and now i am feeling the same pain from which i suffered long ago...the same picture and same topic...i have suffered from "OSTRACIZED"...i've experienced it so closely and still i am going through it...heart touching post...

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    1. Zarnab, I know it must be painful, these memories that surfaced. But you know there is healing from these memories - yes, memories can be healed. And you already know that writing them down helps, as you are now doing. Some say not to look back, but our memories are still very much a part of us, and rather than repress them, which can wreak havoc physiologically, we face the demons head on in our writing or therapy or however we are able to face them.

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  28. You have obviously struck a nerve based on the many comments! We all want to belong somewhere and I suspect that we all have had our moments (hopefully not longer than that...) when we were treated as outcasts. I currently have a situation where I've been ostracized from a social group in a subtle way. Sometimes I'm astonished at the behavior of adults! The key is not to take the actions of others to heart but to rise above and continue to treat others in a way that is fair and considerate.

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    1. Lynne, exactly! Rise above it. Last year when I was president of an organization I went through the worst experience; I felt squeezed in by two opposing camps within the group. Left and right carrying on, and I in the middle trying to keep the peace. I felt ostracized by both sides because each wanted me to take a stand (for their side). When I confided in a neutral friend and divulged how awful it was to be caught in the middle, she said, “You don’t need to be in the middle of this; you need to rise about it. “ Thankfully, that’s what I eventually did. And so I can really appreciate your words here.

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  29. Debra, this post reminded me of my sister. She, like you, always had a soft spot for the outcasts. Whenever we went out and she saw a homeless person, she wanted to bring him/her home. The same applied to stray animals and friendless children. I used to tease her mercilessly and threaten to bar her from the "popular" clique if she continued to take the "losers" under her wing. I was successful for a time, but she was miserable. To this day, and much to my humbling, my sister continues to root for the underdog. And thankfully, so do I. It has taken much growing up on my part to realize that we are all deserving. Gone are the "mean girl" days when I thought only a handful of girls were deserving of being cheerleaders. But alas, this understanding has come after plenty of stumbles and falls that have shown me the true value of compassion and tolerance. Good for you for the kindness you showed Cassie! :)

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    1. Bella, you are so funny. So you learned from your sister, the underdog lover. I can’t picture you, though, as a mean girl. I just can’t see it no matter how hard I try. Were you a cheerleader, girl? love and hugs!

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    2. Not only a high school cheerleader, but cheerleader captain to boot! ha! Love and hugs to you too, friend! :)

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  30. This touched me very deeply. What a beautiful spirit you have. I really like your point about children noticing how others are treated and following suit. I do think many adults are like this as well.
    When I was a child, I was fortunate that I was well liked but even more fortunate to have a wise mother who told me even from a very young age to befriend and care for those who were shunned and made fun of by others. I also have a heart for people who are left out and do try to always be kind and inclusive.

    Thank you for this beautiful post!

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    1. Colleen, your mother reminds me of mine. She was one who went out of her way for others, and her call in life must’ve been to teach me the same. Hats off to mothers who taught their daughters well!

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  31. Ostracized is something we deal with over the course of our lives. As we age, we become more adept at handling this situation in a dignified and more effective way. One way is by our example: how we treat others. Another way is to help others see the good and capability they have within themselves even when others tell them differently. A kind and sincere word goes a long way. There are kind things that people said to me when I was younger, and in the midst of a difficulty; I remember those things as though it was yesterday. Great piece.

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    1. Thank you Barry. You're so right in saying that we are better equipped to handle ostracism as we age, but it's still hard. Yes, apply the golden rule and encourage others to do the same. A little kindness goes a long way. Have a wonderful week!

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