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UPC

It may have been a couple of years ago now. I remember asking someone about UPCs and if it was a language or a representation. For instance, is there a part of the Universal Product Code that indicates “diet,” so that you could find it on both Diet Coke and Diet Pepsi. Turns out there isn’t a language in the UPC, though there are parts of it that help the bar-code reader. Nothing specific that actually means “diet,” though.

The English language is getting to the point where individual words are meaningless, too. Most people don’t use words for their meaning, but rather phrases for THEIR meaning. The very term “UPC code” is a perfect example. What I’ve put into the quotes above means “Universal Product Code code.” People use “PIN number” in the same way - Personal Identification Number number. Every car has a VIN number. QRC code. And if you want to stretch this a bit, “We just celebrated our three year anniversary.” The word “anniversary” includes the root of “year” in there, so it’s as redundant as PIN number.

But even phrases are getting this treatment. Ever hear someone say, “Nip it in the butt?” How about, “I could care less.” The actual words don’t matter to most people, just what the phrase means. If the phrase is misworded, people don’t notice, much less care.

Let’s bring this around to things that matter - namely, Christianity. People have a notion about what a Christian is like, so it doesn’t matter what the teachings of Christ really are. I mean, “Everyone knows Christians are bigoted, misogynistic homophobes.” Never mind that they’re not, people think they are so it doesn’t matter what a real Christian is.

Sure, there were Christians who were bigots, there were some that were misogynists, others that were homophobes. There are atheists who fit those same categories. There are people in every walk of life who fit those descriptions. But nowhere in the teachings of Christ were there words to treat people like garbage. Quite the contrary, to be honest.

The original writings of Paul, to put it in context, happened during a time when women were lesser people. So when Paul wrote that we are all “brothers in Christ,” it was elevating a downtrodden class of people to be on an equal footing with the favored class. He was not being misogynistic for skipping the politically correct “brothers and sisters.”

Words have meanings, and those meanings had a context for when they were written. The root of the abolition of slavery was in Paul’s letters. “Neither slave nor free” was the death knell of slavery. In Christ all people are equal, regardless of skin color, ethnicity, gender, or anything.

There’s another phrase that relates: “But such were you.” There’s a long list of what makes people a sinner before that phrase, so any time someone get’s too full of themselves they should read that section where Paul says, “You know what? You used to be just as bad as them.” The implication is that if Christ’s blood can wash you clean, it can wash them clean, too.

The words of scripture have meaning. It’s not a UPC code to identify someone as a bigot. We need to take that concept and nip it in the butt.

I mean, “bud.” Nip it in the bud.

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