A Note from Rev. Doug Meyer:
Over the past couple of weeks I have been doing
some serious soul searching of how I came to know and believe certain things.
The easy ones to identify were the things I learned from teachers,
from parents, from my siblings and, fortunately, some I learned by experience.
But what about the things I learned by osmosis, that I gradually, unconsciously
assimilated into my personal knowledge bank? There have been so many
contributors to this process…from my parents, to school teachers, to Sunday
school teachers, to youth directors and friends. All of whom, I believe, were
doing the best they could with the knowledge they had at that time.
It appears to me that this acquired knowledge is the birthplace of my defective thinking. It is here
that I stored away my beliefs, fears and assumptions that proved to be fertile
soil for my biases, stereotypes and prejudices.
How can this be? I am a forward-thinking, seminary-trained pastor. How can I have uninformed attitudes and beliefs about
others – aren’t I above that way of thinking and being?!
I wonder if my reality may be
like yours. My acquired knowledge happened before I even knew it. I never
opened a text book or attended a seminar or class, yet there it was – a
whole stack of fears, assumptions and stereotypes deeply held which
inform my beliefs about people of color, people of differing sexual
orientations, people of different languages and ages and educations. These opinions
bubble up instantly when I face an encounter with someone different from me – I
ascertain in mere nano seconds if you are friend or foe, worthy of my time and
So now that I have had these awakening experiences, what do I do about it? How do I identify and correct
these unfounded stereotypes and biases?
Now that I know better my goal is to do better, starting with naming
my prejudices and seeking to grow relationships that will aid in opening my
eyes and mind.
I would welcome your input on ways you have "unlearned” long held beliefs about those different from you.
Watch Doug's Sermon