everything has a positive spin

positive spin cartoon by nakedpastor david hayward

“Positive Spin” (by nakedpastor David Hayward)

You can give practically anything a positive spin.

I’ve used these spins. They’ve been used on me. This is why I am extra sensitive to abusive, manipulative and controlling behavior and speech. I’ve given it and received it. We have to be very, very aware at how pervasive the attitude of control and the language of power permeates our speech. Maybe not obviously, but if we read between the lines it can often be detected.

Did you know that there are speech analysts who comb political speeches, propaganda, advertisements, news articles… all that is done and said and written… to detect and expose the assumptions of power made by politicians, the media, leaders and other people in positions of influence, authority and power? I find their analyses fascinating.

Try it on yourself. Analyse the things you say… to your spouse, to your kids, to your employees, to other people. Can you detect a superior attitude in there somewhere? And if so, what positive spins have you given them to justify saying such things?

About David Hayward

David Hayward runs the blog nakedpastor as a graffiti artist on the walls of religion where he critiques religion… specifically Christianity and the church. He also runs the online community The Lasting Supper where people can help themselves discover, explore and live in spiritual freedom.

  • http://theoldadam.com/ theoldadam

    We have so many ways of getting around and obfuscating the truth…don’t we?

    Jesus had us figured out right from the start; “All men are liars.”

  • Pat Pope

    And to really back it up and make it sound authoritative, quote a scripture verse.

  • Gary

    Steve (theoldadam) this is the second time you have claimed that Jesus made such a statement. It is a false claim as there is no record of Him stating such. Please either provide a source for you misrepresentation of His words or stop using them.

  • http://welcometoleftfield.blogspotcom jonathan pelton

    “Try it on yourself. Analyse the things you say… to your spouse, to your kids, to your employees, to other people. Can you detect a superior attitude in there somewhere?”

    I really appreciate your call here David. I think its really easy for these types of manipulative rhetorical devices to creep into our thoughts and speech without us really realizing them.

  • http://www.prayerpunk.com Jareth Caelum

    I love the lingo many Christians use. After tearing me a new one they say they were just admonishing me. They think they can say anything they want if they just say they are admonishing you.

  • Gary

    This is the 2nd time I am going to set this record straight. (And likely the 2nd time it goes ignored by the perpetrator)

    There is no record of Jesus ever making the statement “All men are liars”.

  • Frank

    Isn’t this in itself a positive spin on criticism against biblical principles?

  • Kris

    The one thing that bothers me about Fundamental Christianity is when people believe to the core that “God is always on their side” in the sense that they can do whatever they want and as long as it is in the name of Christ, it’s perfectly fine. So if you steal, cheat, rape, torture and kill people, it’s ok as long as it is for Christ. It seems to explain a lot of the hostile behavior seen in politics by the Religious Right. Not that the other side can’t be mean, but when someone claims Jesus is their best bud (as I have seen on Facebook pages) and is very mean to those who don’t think like them it is really horrifying. And embarrassing for me as a Christian, I might add.

    I believe that God wants the best for us and He is there for us but that does not translate into being happy with everything I do…that is what sin is all about. We have the Ten Commandments because we mess up a lot. God loves me but if I rob a bank, I don’t think he is going to be going “That’s my girl!” LOL

  • LA

    Gary, Jesus didn’t say it, but the author of Romans did, depending on your translation, as well as being spoken in Ps. 116:11. I guess if God authored the Bible, He kind of did say it? :) Numbers 23:19 could also be thrown into the mix. I guess you could argue that Jesus is God, God authored the scriptures, the scriptures make out men as a class to be liars… :) But it’s not worth arguing because it’s not the point of the cartoon. And just for the record, I’m only responding because I’m not fond of your “tone” toward the “perpetrator.” :) Right there is a good example of what the cartoon is talking about. You’re using superior language to correct and accuse. :) But I’m sure you can put a positive spin on it. :D

  • Gary

    LA there is nothing wrong with making an argument that Jesus may have implied such a thing or even that Jesus agreed with everything stated in the OT. Personally I reject both arguments, but at least they would represent an honest opinion. However, when a person places quotation marks around a particular sentence it is stating stating that Jesus Himself made this exact statement. (Hence the quotes) Not only is such a declaration false…this poster has made the exact same claim in the past and been corrected, thus revealing an intent to deceive.

  • Gary

    And BTW LA – Psalms was a lament by David, not a statement of fact by God. And in Romans Paul was contrasting faith In God against belief in man when men disagree with God, even if it be all men. NEITHER of these incidents is in any way an indication that Jesus declares ALL MEN to be liars.

    And as for tone…yes you probably do pick up a bit of frustration in dealing with Steve. This poster continues to make these types of statements which are either false of simple declarative absolutes with no substantiation and then refuses to engage anyone when questioned. Therefor my tone is confrontational with him by choice. If he is going to continue to present false or empty statements he should be challenged.

  • http://welcometoleftfield.blogspotcom jonathan pelton

    @LA

    I think you do raise a good point LA, it reminds of things said in other comment threads about becoming like your enemy. Sometimes the reason why we have such strong feelings against a particular trait in someone else is because we exhibit that same trait ourselves. It’s also similar to an argument I made about trying not to put God in a box: pushing that sentiment to the extreme can be a form of putting God in a box labeled “not the box.”
    It’s especially easy in this exact discussion; you have to be very careful about advocating tolerance, or philosophical openness, because its all too easy for that argument to becomea self-defeating intolerance of intolerance. You paint yourself into a corner by disallowing yourself from saying “no” to ideas, opinions, beliefs, and behaviors.

  • LA

    Gary, no worries. :) I personally don’t believe that every word spoken in the Bible was “out of God’s mouth” or even what God intended us to think. It’s easy to fall into that frustration trap with people who do seem to interpret things that way, though. I didn’t know about the past history, but really, I wasn’t busting your chops… :D Just throwing out the only possible semi-logic that might account for it. :)

  • LA

    Thanks, Jonathan. :) I’m from a much-maligned place called “the Grace Camp” and we see this all the time… people who really get grace and love grace, but who end up responding to the haters or the purposefully obtuse with something very far removed from grace. I constantly have to watch out that I don’t shut down the dialogue by becoming the very thing I fled. (The controlling, abusive patriarchal hierarchy of my local church. :) )

  • Gary

    Johnathan and LA

    I agree with the sentiment both of you are sharing. But my comment was not challenging a view or attempting to correct someone’s thinking. This is about pure deception. The first time he made this claim I asked for a scripture reference since I did not believe Jesus had in fact made this statement. He was unable to provide one and I clarified that there is no such record of Jesus ever having made it. Now when he chooses to make this false claim for the 2nd time we are dealing with willful presentation of false information. Remember…Steve (theoldadam) placed the quotes around the supposed words of Jesus, just as he did the first time.

    Correcting a verifiably false statement is not abusing, manipulating, or controlling. We can discuss and even argue all day about whether Jesus believed such a thing and it would potentially be a healthy exchange. But there is no place for directly fabricating a false quote in order to make a point in honest dialogue.

  • http://welcometoleftfield.blogspotcom jonathan pelton

    @Gary

    Sorry, didn’t mean to offend; I wasn’t trying to address your conversation with Frank, I thought LA had brought up a good point and was commenting on that.

    As for your converstaion, I don’t have many Scriptures memorized (I’m a bit ashamed to admit) but I’m pretty familiar with the Bible and don’t off-hand recall any Scripture that says “all men are liars.” If it is there, then it would probably a hyperbolic claim about humanity as a class being prone to lying.

    Course OldAdam’s original post seems to be merely supporting David’s cartoon, pointing out how prone we all are to putting a spin on what we say; I know I can have that problem, have even told my wife to call me out if she hears me starting to put a spin on something. Sometimes I do it without even realizing and have to go back, apologize to her and divulge the simple truth; other times, I have to say something and can’t bring myself to say the actual words because I’m too embarassed; I end up beating around the bush, attempting and rejecting spin after spin before I can finally bring myself to admit something I’ve done or say something that I know will be difficult for others to hear.

    The Bible might not say that “all men are liars” but as a hyperbolic definition of humanity as a class, I would say that my experience bears the point to be true.

  • Frank

    Jonathan how did I get involved?

  • Gary

    @Johnathan

    No worries I was not offended at all. And my challenge of the false statement had nothing to do with Frank. This poster above (theoldadam, AKA Steve) is specifically who I was addressing. This was not about anything hypothetical or opinion, rather very specifically about whether or not Jesus is ever recorded to have said “All men are liars”. This really has nothing to do with opinion or intent. Either it is recorded that Jesus said it or it is not. It is a simple matter of provable fact. The fact is Jesus never directly stated such as recorded in the bible. I have told this to Steve before and yet he still claims it is a quote of Jesus. The last time he specifically stated that “Jesus said” prior to this quote. As his sentence is a bit more abbreviated this time perhaps you did not realize his intent was to quote Jesus. Simply put, I don’t believe deception is ever appropriate and that is what I am challenging here.

  • Carol

    Scripture does state that Satan is the “father of lies”.

    I think that someone posted to the effect that when we sin we are people who have sinned, not sinners. I think that is a great insight. Scripture tells us that we are image-bearers of God, with the potential if we accept God’s Guiding Presence [Grace] of becoming godlike. That is our Original Blessing.

    Most Western Christians, especially fundamentalists, define what it means to be human by the Original Sin, not the Original Blessing–which is not only unbiblical, but puts the emphasis on the human rather than Divine action.

    Christian Tradition teaches that Jesus is both true/fully God and true/fully (hu)man. It also teaches that Jesus was without sin. Therefore, sin cannot be intrinsic to our humanity, but must be an aberration.

    Christians whose anthropology is defined by Original Sin rather than Original Blessing will always have a pessimistic view of people and life in general. How could it be otherwise. What we believe follows logically from our learned presuppositions which most people never bother to examine. If the presuppositions are wrong the conclusions will be wrong, even if the logic is flawless.

    “In religion and politics people’s beliefs and convictions are in almost every case gotten at second-hand, and without examination, from authorities who have not themselves examined the questions at issue but have taken them at second-hand from other non-examiners, whose opinions about them were not worth a brass farthing.” – Mark Twain

    The way you see people is the way you treat them. And the way you treat them is what they become. –Johann Von Goethe

    The Christian resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad. –Friedrich Nietzsche

    What if the question is not why am I so infrequently the person I really want to be, but why do I so infrequently want to be the person I really am? –Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Prelude

  • Carol

    The Original Blessing vs Original Sin presupposition is only one of many reasons why equally sincere Christians and other people of good will cannot find common theological/political ground.

    Sabio and I have already encountered the individualism vs. communitarianism conflict. This blog post examines it in detail:

    http://theupsidedownworld.com/2013/03/13/moving-fom-me-to-we/

    Then there is the dynamic vs static world view. Most of our historic creeds are expressed in the philosophical categories of Greek essentialism, which are static. The majority of contemporary people have a dynamic or evolutionary world view that makes the creeds that once served the Church well irrelevant or even an impediment rather than an inducement to faith.

    “You cannot claim absolute finality for a dogma without claiming a commensurate finality for the sphere of thought within which it arose. If the dogmas of the Christian Church from the second to the sixth century centuries express finally and sufficiently the truths concerning the topics about which they deal, then the Greek philosophy of that period had developed a system of ideas of equal finality. You cannot limit the inspiration to a narrow circle of creeds. A dogma – in the sense of a precise statement – can never be final; it can only be adequate in its adjustment of certain abstract concepts…. Progress in truth – truth of science and truth of religion – is mainly a progress in the framing of concepts, in discarding artificial abstractions or partial metaphors, and in evolving notions which strike more deeply into the root of reality.” –Alfred North Whitehead

    This is a transitional time in human history. For people who need a lot of structure to remain stable, it will be an intensely frightening and painful time. For those of us who live life more as an art than as an empirical science and maintain our stability by striving for a dynamic balance, it is a challenging, but also an exciting and joyful time.

    It is interesting that Brigitte’s post of Chesterton’s criticism of Nietzche, while acknowledging his poetic genius, faulted him for lacking a sound logical basis for his beliefs. Yep, another impediment to mutual understanding is left-brain (logical) dominance vs right brain (intuition, passion, imagination) dominance.

    While we will probably never achieve total theological/political common ground, we can, by listening with respect and an open mind to others with whom we initially completely disagree, gain insights that broaden and deepen our appreciation for the complexity and nuances of life’s mysteries and lose the dogmatic certainties that make us arrogant and abusive and keep us locked in a cycle of pain and cruelty rather than being able to move on to a transformational life of healing and repair.

  • http://welcometoleftfield.blogspotcom jonathan pelton

    @ Frank

    woops; meant OldAdam

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