A dose of reality
June 13 2003 by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor

A dose of reality | Friday, June 13, 2003

Friday, June 13, 2003

A dose of reality

By Tony W. Cartledge BR Editor

It was a near-perfect afternoon.

While visiting Williamsburg, Va., to teach a Bible study, I had two hours free before dinner on a lovely day. Savoring the time, I strolled down to the historic area and settled onto a nice bench in the shade of an aging tree. With a cold soft drink at my side and a good book in my hands, I was somewhere close to heaven.

The weather was ideal: clear skies, low 70's, a gentle breeze occasionally stirring the air made fragrant by a nearby restaurant.

An assortment of finches and sparrows hopped about my feet, feasting on the abundant crumbs left by previous benchwarmers. The birds' more melodious cousins sang cheerful courtship songs from the trees.

Who could ask for more?

I was re-reading Walter Truett Anderson's classic introduction to postmodernism, Reality Isn't What It Used To Be. Anderson holds that what we perceive as reality can be understood as a social construct that differs from one person to another, depending on our background, our upbringing, our education, our experiences in life.

Differing perceptions of reality lead to widely divergent worldviews that are fairly obvious. A person raised as a fundamentalist Muslim in a Palestinian refugee camp is bound to have a different sense of reality than someone raised as a Catholic in a wealthy New England home, as a Baptist in a N.C. mill village, as a Buddhist in a crowded Chinese city, or as an agnostic in a tiny Moscow apartment. A person who grows up with an abusive parent will experience a different reality than one raised in a loving, well-adjusted family. And so forth.

It is tempting to think that our personal sense of reality is necessarily correct, and that all others should adopt our preferred worldview. It is also na�ve and misguided. All attempts at trying to coerce or convince others that there is only one acceptable way to perceive reality are bound to be frustrated, because none of us experience the world in precisely the same way.

As I sat on my idyllic bench, all that heavy thinking was interrupted by two gentle plops as a bird in the branches above me expressed its own sense of reality.

Eat, flit, sing, poop. Eat, flit, sing, poop.

One glob splattered off my right arm, while the other highlighted the margin of my book.

Suddenly, my reality wasn't what it used to be.

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6/13/2003 12:00:00 AM by Tony W. Cartledge , BR Editor | with 0 comments
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