Me, Narrow-Minded, Shallow, and Mean-Spirited? Trust Me: You Have No Idea

So I’m in a Starbucks—where over the sound system they’re just now playing Sly Stone’s It’s a Family Affair, sung by (I think) Lou Rawls.

BRB. I have to ask one of the Starbucks employees if they happen to have sharp knife in the back that I could borrow for just a moment to cut off my ears.

Anyway, wanted to say real quick: What I care about is the truth. I don’t care what that truth looks like once it’s been dragged out from wherever it’s been hidden—but I’ll pull it out of the bowels of Satan himself if he’ll just hold still long enough to … well, let me sick Michael Rowe on him, because Michael knows how to scare people, whereas when I get nervous I start being funny, and I’m loathe to make the devil laugh because I’m sure when he does he sprays saliva all over the place, and I’m pretty sure Satan spit stains.

Anyway … right.

So what was I saying?

Oh: so, I think I need to be clear about something: I don’t like atheists, okay? They tend to be frothing, logic-challenged reactionaries who’ve transferred onto God their raging anger at their parents. I also don’t like Christians—for all the same reasons atheists don’t.

I don’t like Muslims, either. Every time I try to read the Qur’an, I get so confused I feel like I’ve delved into the middle of a 10,000-page Babylonian tax code. If those people want to believe in something so confoundedly difficult for me to understand, that’s their business. But it compels me to have to dislike them. I hope they’re aware of the cost of their impenetrableness.

I don’t like people who do covers of other people’s great songs. I don’t like people who mistake canines for fashion accessories. I don’t like men who tuck in their Hawaiian shirts. I don’t like women who ask their one-year-olds what they want to eat. I don’t like assholes who complain about illegal immigration. I don’t like people so stupid they’re still driving SUV’s. I don’t like people who leave polling places proudly adorned with one of those insipid little “I Voted!” stickers. I don’t like men with complicated facial hair. I don’t like women who clearly think cute is all life requires them to be. I don’t like anyone who knows too much about wine. I don’t like mega-church leaders—and I’m not that thrilled with regular church leaders, either.

In a nutshell, I think one of the worst things you can say about someone is that they’re human. Because from there I think we can all agree it’s pretty much straight downhill.

So do me a favor, please. Don’t complain to me that my sympathies, thoughts, affections, inclinations, or prejudices lean too much toward one group or another. Instead, trust that they lean in one direction, and one direction only: away from everyone.

I mentioned guys who tuck in their Hawaiian shirts, right? Because one just walked by.

And he was walking a fussy little dog.

You’d think they’d have a sharp knife somewhere in the back of a Starbucks, wouldn’t you? But the guys at this one said they don’t.

Oh, and I don’t like Starbucks employees. They so obviously lie.

I am congenitally, organically, inveterately cantankerous. I’ve tried to be a nice guy—but simply have no talent for it. I end up making comments about people’s clothes, or questioning the veracity of something they’ve said—and from there find an inevitably short distance to markedly unbidden observations about their lifestyle generally.

You might call me (as now few number of you have today, actually) narrow-minded, shallow, and mean-spirited. And to you I say, proudly and without reservation, that you, friend, have no idea.

About John Shore

John Shore (who, fwiw, is straight) is the author of UNFAIR: Christians and the LGBT Question, and three other great books. He is founder of Unfundamentalist Christians (on Facebook here), and executive editor of the Unfundamentalist Christians group blog.  (In total John's two blogs receive some 250,000 views per month.) John is also co-founder of The NALT Christians Project, which was written about by TIME,  The Washington Post, and others. His website is JohnShore.com. You're invited to like John's Facebook page. Don't forget to sign up for his mucho-awesome newsletter. If you shop at Amazon, help support John by entering the site through this link right here--Amazon will then send John 3-4% of the cost of anything you buy before exiting the site again.

 

  • Mindakms

    You had me at “I don’t like women who ask their one-year-olds what they want to eat.”

    Confession is good for the soul dude. And for the fans. Thank you for being, well, sorry, HUMAN.

  • Marcelo

    Oh, snappeth. We have pissed him off….We hope he won’t find where we really hid the knife.

    Allow me to welcome you to the world of the Charming Curmudgeons….

    But you’re wrong, John, it still makes you a nice guy….

    …Sucks for you. :-)

    • Anonymous
      • Marcelo

        Oh, my. The paint just peeled off the side of my monitor. Good one, my friend! You have a treasure trove of posts I must delve into….

        Love this: “…he or she must do penance by washing and detailing the pastor’s car right after the service. That’s why pastors’ cars always look so great. It’s amazing what a little Turtle Wax and a lot of guilt can accomplish.”

        I can see it now: “The Great Commission: Christian Duty or Convenient Car Wash?”

      • plasmaphase

        I was actually hoping we could get posts down to one word per line…but not quite :)

  • http://ricbooth.wordpress.com Ric

    You missed Life Coaches. Just sayin’, full disclosure an’ all.

  • http://megaloi.blogspot.com Redlefty

    Speaking of mega-church leaders, I sat front row at Lakewood Saturday night and talked with Joel Osteen afterwards for a while. I don’t find him compellng nor deep as a speaker, but in 1:1 setting he was much better.

    It was my mom’s birthday. She’s a huge Osteen fan. I try to be a good son because I love her and she’s my mom.

    I’d do it again in a heartbeat. But only for her.

    Cuz I don’t really like mega-church leaders either.

    • Anonymous

      That’s cool your mom got to meet him like that. He’s got a majorly winning personality, for sure. I don’t have anything (that I know!!) of against Mr. Osteen.

  • Dennis Dawson

    I apologize for my comment on your previous post. I had no idea that I would upset you so.

    I will be more circumspect in the future.

    Personally, I like Christians. I like Muslims. I like atheists. I like lots of people, including guys who wear socks with Birkenstocks. I’m certain that this is why controversy and turmoil always follow in my wake.

    • Anonymous

      Dennis: Was this comment intended for me? I wasn’t aware of you … having offended me at all. I recall you commenting something very short—I think it was, “I agree to disagree with you” or something close to that—but I didn’t take offense to it at all. Honestly, I simply didn’t know what you meant. I just had no way of knowing to what, exactly you were agreeing to “disagree.”

      • Dennis Dawson

        Yeah that’s where the humor would have come from if you had considered it amusing. Since I said something utterly innocuous, you could not have taken offense. Ha ha.

        This is just my seeking attention without actually contributing in a meaningful way.

        On a lighter note, I do happen to believe that while religion isn’t the only reason people fight wars, it is a convenient way to get Ralph next door to go risk his life to kill people 7,500 miles away so that we can have their oil and my stock price goes up. If I just said, “Kill people so that I can get rich,” he might balk at the notion. If I say “Kill them because they hate freedom and Jesus,” he’s more likely to go.

        So we should agree to disagree.

        Ha ha.

        ~D

        • Anonymous

          That IS funny. Sorry to be so slow on the uptake.

        • Shadsie

          Hmm. I think a stronger motivator than religion for getting people to fight wars today – at least in the U.S. is money.

          Several years ago, back in 1999-2000, I was in community college, but coming from a blue-collar family, had no ability/prospect for going to university to get anywhere with my life. I was also desperate to get away from my family. Friends had joined the military and it worked out well for them, so I enlisted in the Air Force. Big mistake for me – I was far too sensitive for it. Dropped out of basic training because the stress was making me suicidal.

          Bottom line: I was *very* religious back then – conservatively so, but if someone had told me “Hey, go be a target and/or kill for God!” I wouldn’t have listened, but people saying “Hey, go be a target for a few years and we’ll give you a college education, a chance to see the world and financial benefits for life!” – that’s what got me. I think you’ll find that’s what gets most people, actually – opportunity, not faith!

  • Revmlt54

    I like the picture.

  • Sea Sick Sailor

    One day, when you are older, you will fulfill your desire an become an actual grumpy old man.

  • Mindy

    I will join your curmudgeonly rant – I don’t like women who wear make-up to exercise. Or people who can’t stop asking me if my pug is the dog from Men In Black. I’m not fond of most other drivers on the roads when I’m driving, either, now that I think about it – especially the ones whose stereo bass is making MY car vibrate. And worse than the Hawaiian shirt issue is the XXL t-shirt with a stupid logo tucked in over a large beer belly. Now THAT’S attractive. What I can’t figure out is why you like Jews so much. Surely they’ve done SOMETHING to piss you off??

    • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

      I am adding to this rant.

      I hate bad haircuts, especially when a client asks for a mullet (thankfully a rare thing, but hey I live in the South). I also loathe the fact that I can’t find a pair of boots that will fit over my thighs. Used car commercials should be banned from television, and any other local ad where the spokesperson is extra perky

      I am also not a fan of preachers who insist in the need to save the mourners from hell at funerals, people who take overflowing shopping carts to the self check out lines at Wal-hell, and beets. Why did God make beets? Horrid vegetable.

      • Don Rappe

        Beets are turnips with a little class.

      • Karen

        Allegro63 – Indeed! I am in complete agreement with “I am also not a fan of preachers who insist in the need to save the mourners from hell at funerals.” How is that supposed to comfort folks? And to add to that, I do not like fussy church ladies who feel it is their duty in life to point out the failings of others (real or imagined) or fussy church ladies that spit and hiss after a funeral where the preacher did not try and save the the mourners from hell. (True story) As far as beets go, they’re messy and taste nasty unless my mom has canned them. She adds some sort of magical ingredient that makes them delicious. (Knowing her, its probably Allspice.)

        Mindy, I’ll have to agree with the logo tucked in over the beer belly look. Gak! And John! I do feel your pain about the “I voted” stickers! I am one of those people who hands them out to the voters. They practically rip them out of my hands and they have rules about who can get them and how to wear them. (ie: a child cannot wear his mom’s sticker because he’s too young to vote and the stickers must be straight and worn in the general area of the upper left breast pocket.) Okay, I feel better.

    • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

      You. Have. A. Pug!?? O.O

      (As for Jews – ever watched/listen to “Fiddler on the Roof”? Nobody in his sound mind can dislike them. ^_^)

    • Ace

      You forgot people who smack and chew with their mouth open.

      And people who use their cell phones while driving, in restaurants, while sitting on a toilet in a public bathroom in the middle of a deuce, chatting with some poor soul, etc etc.

      And people who ignore their child in a store while said child tears up things, bothers other customers & store employees, and generally acts like a brat while mom/dad just stares ahead like the kid doesn’t exist.

      Oh, and door-to-door Jehovah’s Witnesses, and PeTA members.

      Actually, I’m with John. I don’t actually like anybody, really. Humans are annoying critters.

      • Don Whitt

        My current unfavorite are people who say, “Second-hand smoke is worse than smoking!”. No, nothing is worse than smoking, you nemrod. You, the non-smoker, can move away from the smoke, but the smoker can’t walk away from their cigarettes for more than 30-60 minutes without a puff.

  • JAy.

    OK, not to be too rude, but how do you feel about yourself?

    Just the whole Golden Rule thing.

    Seriously, have a nice, cool, adult beverage. Put on some headphones and listen to some James Taylor (depresses me, but everyone else loves him.) Study the stars (or the back of your eyelids if you are sleepy). And remember, regardless of what you or anyone else says, God Love You! (Of course, he loves everyone else, too. But don’t worry about that right now!)

    • Anonymous

      sigh….

      • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

        lol…

      • jes

        Either JAy really did.not.get.it, or he just totally upped the sarcasm to the next level here, in utter win.

  • StephBroz

    Wow John don’t hold back next time, tell us what you really feel ok? LOL!! Release is good for the soul ya know. It’s possible if you tell us how you really feel we might just maybe agree with you……Man, I think I really like you dude :)

  • http://allegro63.blogspot.com/ allegro63

    “I don’t like people who do covers of other people’s great songs”

    At work they have this canned in music. Right now it is a lot of remakes of songs performed on the show Glee. It’s cute, but not remotely as good as the originals. Then there is a remake of a song that makes me want to stab my eardrums out with the tail end of a foiling comb. Some woman is singing Stevie Wonder’s You are the Sunshine of my Life.

    Why do I want to hear anything, I mean anything, fingernails on a chalkboard, my granddaughter in mid-temper tantrum, any words that come out of Glen Beck’s mouth, then her rendition of that song?

    Because she sings it as if it were a dirge. Slow, with melancholy mood swings. It’s horrible, and try as I might, I can’t quite reach the speaker right over my head so that I can melt the thing with a combination of styling tools. But things are looking up. Halloween is next weekend. I will get to hear six solid weeks of horrible renditions of Christmas music. Who knew that you could do a disco/mariachi version of We Wish you a Merry Christmas? Someone did it last year! We made our boss turn off the feed to the music system.

    Yes us hairdressers can be moody when you mess with what we have to hear.

  • Don Whitt

    Being a late bloomer, and normal, I pretty much hate any young children with their own music videos or TV shows, cars or mansions.

    Speaking of music (and covers): How about Pat Boone’s 1997 “In a Metal Mood: No More Mr Nice Guy”. There’s a cover album. And I know that Pat, being a religious man, appreciated the many listeners who, upon hearing his version of Stairway to Heaven, cried at the top of their lungs, “Jesus, make it stop!!”. Good ol’ Pat.

  • Don Rappe

    Have another cup of coffee. And don’t get me started about decaf !

  • Shadsie

    I’ve heard the phrase: “If the human race were a club, I wouldn’t join it.” _and totally agreed ever since.

    I once tried to point out to somebody who called me close-minded that all people were close-minded about something. It is impossible for the human mind to be open to absolutely everything. His answer was something along the lines of being proudly close-minded toward anything illogical in his sight and boiled down to, basically, “My close-mindedness is okay, but your’s isn’t.”

    Humanity in a nutshell. No wonder one of my favorite History Channel series was “Life After People.”

    • jes

      I tried being entirely open minded about everything, but my brain kept falling out, so I had to close it up a little.

      • Shadsie

        I was once open-minded toward raw celery, but found out I don’t like it – I’m pretty close-minded toward it… but not as close-minde as I am toward the idea of eating live crickets.

        I also tend to be pretty close-minded toward people who are purposefully rude, condesencing, belittling and “superior to thou,” – at least those who have no idea how to couch it in good satire. (Anyone who’s able to put me down but make me laugh about it has my grudging respect… the rest – my eternal contempt).

      • Shadsie

        Also, try duct tape.

  • http://mine4thetaking.blogspot.com/ FreeFox

    From your recent posts I didn’t think it likely I would agree with you on much, besides the God/crotches thing, but man, you sure raised a lot of great points just now.

    (I hope you at least like disliking stuff. It’s gotta be very aggravating otherwise to be you…)

  • http://www.barnmaven.com Barnmaven

    My younger sister overuses the quote “I believe in equal opportunity. I hate everyone equally.” It might be funnier if she weren’t a bigoted asshole who also tends to use drugs and leave her children to be raised by their fathers, but I digress.

    Honestly, your cantankerousness really doesn’t come through in your blog posts that much. Sarcasm, snark, compassion, a genuine desire to reach people with a message you feel is important, anger, despair, pride – to name a few – these come through. I never get the sense that you dislike humanity. Although when strangers who don’t really know you at all take pot-shots at you because they misread your words, I’m pretty sure its easy to feel a bit of misanthropy. When I feel that way I usually find myself spending too much time laughing at People of Walmart, which is generally followed by a sense of shame, because you know, God loves us all. Even those of us who are obnoxious, dress poorly, weren’t blessed with the brains God gave a squirrel, who vote Republican and who drive Hummers.

    By the way, your blog post on suffering led to some of the thought in my blog post today.

  • http://www.onefleshmarriage.com Onefleshmarriage

    Thanks for venting John. Now for all of our downtroden hearts and your mental health tomorrow’s post has to contain a list of all the things you do like. Oh and try to figure out how to work in that Jesus spits rainbows.

  • http://www.christianityinhighheels.com/ blessedbabe

    It just seems that you dislike narrow-mindedness and just have really specific preferences, such as Hawaiian shirts and Starbucks employees.

    But this where I draw the line!! Starbucks employees? What were you thinking? They always get my latte right.

  • Karri

    John, thanks for your most eloquently worded rant. I can’t seem to get past the dark and thunderous clouds that form around my head when I’ve been pushed too far, at least, not out loud. With that in mind, today, I do not like Tea Partiers who try to get me to join their club by saying they are the most informed people in the world after trying to tell me our president is a terrorist, that he’s not America, that he’s Muslim, (why is this still being argued?) that the healthcare bill will euthanize our elderly (for the billionth time – check your facts buckwheat!), that the president will personally come to their door and take their guns away from them so they can no longer play great white hunter, that they hate everybody except for those who are just like them, and that religious freedom means their brand of religion is the only right one, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. (and I am thinking to myself that they probably believe in aliens too.)… and that they don’t understand why people think they’re radical and why I don’t want to join their club. Mind you, this is only my personal opinion which I am entitled to have as long as we still have a constituion which I have been told by the same above mentioned folks is a dead document so I ask them, when did it die? Hopefully, it wasn’t before slavery ended or before women had a right to vote. Oh boy, don’t get me started.

  • Mike Burns

    “I don’t like atheists, okay? They tend to be frothing, logic-challenged reactionaries who’ve transferred onto God their raging anger at their parents. “

    Please do expound John.

  • Mike Burns

    “I don’t like atheists, okay? They tend to be frothing, logic-challenged reactionaries who’ve transferred onto God their raging anger at their parents. “

    Please do expound John.

  • http://www.facebook.com/asad123 Asad Jaleel

    “Every time I try to read the Qur’an, I get so confused I feel like I’ve delved into the middle of a 10,000-page Babylonian tax code.”
    I know you’re joking, but I fear comments like this will deter people from reading the Quran. And if that happens, they might miss beautiful passages like this one:
    “And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink), with seven seas behind it to increase it, yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) [31:27] ”
    Or this one:
    “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. [49:13]“

  • http://www.facebook.com/asad123 Asad Jaleel

    “Every time I try to read the Qur’an, I get so confused I feel like I’ve delved into the middle of a 10,000-page Babylonian tax code.”
    I know you’re joking, but I fear comments like this will deter people from reading the Quran. And if that happens, they might miss beautiful passages like this one:
    “And if all the trees on the earth were pens and the sea (were ink), with seven seas behind it to increase it, yet the Words of Allah would not be exhausted. Verily, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.) [31:27] ”
    Or this one:
    “O mankind! Lo! We have created you male and female, and have made you nations and tribes that ye may know one another. Lo! the noblest of you, in the sight of Allah, is the best in conduct. Lo! Allah is Knower, Aware. [49:13]“

    • Matthew Tweedell

      It is a book worth reading, but I confess that on the whole I haven’t been able to. But there are also even passages in the Bible that I’ve never really read, for some of the same reasons.

      For the Qur’an, part of the difficulty stems from the fact that we read it in English translations which often don’t seem very clear to us, using archaic language and unusaual or unnatural constructions to make more accessible in an unfamiliar and somewhat legalistic tone, text set in a culture ancient and foreign to mordern Westerners, and without so many very intriging narrative tales but with an inner meaning claimed to go seven layers deep!


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