Dignity

I was pondering about the “beat” of this blog, that is, what subject material is part of the domain of this blog’s discussion, and it struck me that the related subjects of dignity, honor, and respect (or their opposites of dishonor and disrespect) were common subjects of this blog. Since it greatly surprised me that the subject of honor and respect and dignity appears so often (especially in its related guises of social justice), I thought it worthwhile to examine how the issue of dignity and respect has found itself to be a frequent concern of my blog, which I did not think would be the case when I initially began this blog.

First, let us examine how the subject of honor and dignity has appeared as part of my historical and political analysis. One of my earlier posts, which has not attracted a great deal of reading so far, dealt with the decline of deference in the late 1700’s, as ordinary people began to feel disrespected by the claims made by anyone else to deserving undue deference. Egalitarian language was thus a consequence of the American Revolution, even if this did not (and has not) led to a genuinely egalitarian society [1]. We are still attempting, however incompletely, to put into reality the radically egalitarian language of our Declaration of Independence. Are all men (and women) created equal? That is what we said—is that what we still mean?

The fact that this blog is deeply concerned, perhaps even a bit compulsively so, with the legitimacy of government, and the respect due to ordinary people, perhaps influences respect and honor (in unusual ways) as a subject of contention. It is striking how often the problems of “crucial conversations” [2] relate to questions of respect. People who do not feel respected by others are unable to engage in meaningful conversations with others, and this blog is especially interested in conflict resolution and meaningful conversation about a whole host of problems. Additionally, some people who are particularly sensitive about being respected and honored by others (this happens a lot in the Church of God, but not only there) are themselves not very good at honoring others. We ought to treat others as we want to be treated. If we want to be respected, we ought to be respectful. This is vastly easier said than done, I understand.

It is especially striking just how often in my studies of biblical law that the question of honor and respect has come up. This has not exactly been intentional. It is not the result of a word study—it has rather come up little by little as a result of examining the contemporary relevance of biblical law [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]. The fact that the honor of young women, the equality that results from paying the census tax, the respect due to authorities, and the problem of contempt all deal with the question of respect and honor means that not only is respect and honor a frequent concern of this blog, but also (in somewhat different language) in the Bible as a whole.

The reason the whole subject came to mind to me today was that this afternoon I spent my free time (in between my teaching load) writing the split-sermon length message for this coming Sabbath. The subject that came to mind was the civility of political discourse, though to be more exact would be to give it away. I encourage the readers of this blog to wait until Sabbath, when I will post the message itself, and then you all may comment on it however you feel free. Suffice it to say that respect and honor look to be a subject of this blog for as long as the blog lasts, even though I did not originally consider the subject to be part of the “beat” for the blog when I began Edge Induced Cohesion last November.

[1] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/11/30/elite-competition-and-the-decline-of-deference-in-late-18th-century-america/

[2] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/07/11/book-review-crucial-conversations/

[3] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/06/25/the-price-of-equality-and-honor/

[4] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/the-price-of-honor-an-application-of-exodus-2216-17/

[5] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/27/exodus-30-11-16-the-census-tax/

[6] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/02/23/you-shall-not-revile-god-nor-curse-a-ruler-of-your-people-the-continuing-relevance-of-exodus-22-28/

[7] https://edgeinducedcohesion.wordpress.com/2011/03/20/matthew-5-21-22-the-problem-of-contempt-2/

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in American History, Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Dignity

  1. Pingback: Yacht Rock, Or, The Incestuousness Of Cultural Elites | Edge Induced Cohesion

  2. Pingback: Book Review: The Abolition Of Man | Edge Induced Cohesion

  3. Pingback: Who Tampered With My Report? | Edge Induced Cohesion

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