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Pastor Note: Soul Searching & What I Found

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 attention.

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