Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On the art of sacred-cow tipping . . .

A Holstein cowImage via Wikipedia

I just posted about Tracy moving on from her duties as a Sonlighters Club forum moderator.

In the responses to her farewell address, one participant wrote,
I still consider your thoughts on sacred-cow tipping to be among the finest things I've ever read on the art of interpersonal communication, especially in regards to views on religion.
Oh, wow! I agree!
On the sport of Sacred-Cow Tipping....

As moderator, I often get a lot of "reaction" to various threads and posters and topics.

May I make some observations?
  • You [generally] all have sacred cows in your barnyards.
  • You [generally] are most upset and most convinced that [fill in the name] is being inflammatory and mean when it is YOUR cow that is being tipped. And vice versa.
  • You [generally] are also [generally] equally convinced that you are "just telling the truth" when you are tipping someone else's cow.
It has been my observation, that the degree of "fairness" and "appropriateness" of any single argument/post/thread depends in large part (but not entirely so) on whether or not the cow being tipped is in your [general] barnyard.

Now I am sometimes handicapped by not being able to speak MY own personal mind about the delicacy or lack thereof of the various cow-tippers and their cow-tipping technique. But if I may speak in some general terms?

Don't take joy in tipping others' cows or tip them solely for the fun of it. Perhaps it might be possible to get someone to abandon his/her cow WITHOUT proving how easily it can be tipped. It doesn't always have to be about tipping the cow. Have MERCY for crying out loud!

But if you MUST tip the cow....

Put pillows down for other people's cows. Soften the blow. Make it about YOU and not THEM and as much as possible treat their cow with all of the respect that you can.

Give them time and space to realize that their cow is down. And frankly, let them walk away without admitting or even realizing that their cow [in your opinion] has actually been tipped. It's THEIR cow. They are entitled to keep it as long as they want even if it isn't steady on its feet.

The more certain you are that all of your cows are not only standing but couldn't POSSIBLY be tipped, the greater your obligation to be gracious and let the Holy Spirit do the work.

And ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS . . . keep it about the cows and NOT their owners. Cows are stupid. Cows are stubborn. Cows may be smelly and stinky and wobbly on their feet. Their OWNERS are loved by God.

Feel free to work this metaphor into oblivion . . . sometimes it isn't about the elephant in the room, it's about cow-tipping.
As I wrote earlier: I'm going to miss Tracy!
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