I know that there certain plastics or glass that can filter out particular colors. The computer glasses I just ordered filter out a blue tint so I can see clearer and later on sleep better. That made me wonder about other filters that we might be wearing, and I think there are a bunch of them. I believe that the filters we use to cover our eyes and our minds help determine which opinions and “facts” we will accept and what we will reject. “Wait, Chuck, there can be only one set of facts.” Are there? Mark Twain would say, attributing the quote to Benjamin Disraeli, that there are three kinds of lies – lies, damned lies, and statistics. Statistics can be used to manipulate numbers one way or the other. So some of the numbers that are lifted up are facts that some may accept and others reject.
Filters come from a variety of places – our homes, families, and hometowns. Our education, including religious and spiritual involvement helps form them. Personal experiences play a big part. Our vocations and occupations have instrumental affects in forging our filters as well. But since our life journeys are all different, so are our filters.
Starting with the premise that we all have personal filters, it would seem that each of us, I’m included in this, have designed our own personal filter that is used in our political understandings and interpretations. Some cannot see red while blue vanishes for others. It affects the way we look at media of all sorts and social media in particular. It affects the way we perceive social and cultural issues. And it also affects the way we view religions and religious documents. Some things we see and accept. Others we reject. And it is all, maybe not all but largely a matter of the filters that we have chosen, and or the filters that those around us have taught us to wear.
I believe this is important because we will hear or read something that might have been valid for the author but is way out of left field for us. We cannot understand where they are coming from. When the reality is that they are simply wearing a different filter. And that is probably neither good, bad, or indifferent. But in order to effectively communicate with one another, we have to recognize our own filter, and understand that others are wearing filters that had been forged quite differently. Otherwise we can easily fall into the trap that everyone has to see the world through our personal filter, and that is just not possible. It leads to anger, hostility, and maybe leads to violence, verbal or physical, when the basis of the disagreement is that you are not wearing my filter. Why can’t you just see things the way I do.
So I put this out for everyone’s consideration. And I hope you see that the real beauty of this is that if you disagree with any of this, I can just blame it on the belief that you are wearing a different filter than I am. And I guess, that’s okay.
Charles Sprenkle – Lead Pastor at Asbury United Methodist Church – OM Contributor