Doing the School Kid Shuffle

I hated it back in school when a teacher or coach would lecture our whole class about something that had been done by only a few people. Everybody sits there shuffling feet, papers, or whatever, feeling indifferent because what’s being said is irrelevant and ridiculous.

Such bully pulpit tactics are punishment of the many for the sins of the few. I hated it because we were being patronized. We were talked to like small children when we were beyond that stage.

Recently I went through a similar dressing down in an unexpected way and place. Let me set up the background.

I belong to a ham radio club, comprised mostly of middle age and older men. This year a woman became part of the board of officers. It’s often customary that we have a program at the end of the club meeting, presented by one of our members or a special guest.

Last month the program was given at the beginning of our meeting by a young woman who is a weathercaster at one of the local TV stations. She was pleasant with a surprisingly infectious laugh. But I don’t think she was fully prepared for our group, many of whom have had weather spotting training. I think she was used to giving talks to school kids or scouting groups and didn’t expect the level of knowledge among our members. Also, she didn’t have equipment to project her charts and pictures.

Having said that, it wasn’t a bad presentation. She fielded several questions and seemed interested in hearing the experiences told by some in our group. A couple of guys were rather vocal and made teasing remarks to her. One old guy is notorious for flirting with waitresses at his favorite restaurant, and I doubt if anybody takes him seriously. I certainly didn’t hear anything said that sounded off color or would be construed as grounds for a sexual harassment lawsuit.

Imagine my surprise when at this month’s meeting the club president somberly started out by saying something like, “I never thought I’d have to address something like this with this group, but…” And he proceeded to give us a thorough dressing down about proper conduct in public, behavior in the community, etc. This was followed by brief remarks from a couple of the other board members. The woman board member let us have it, showing her true feminist colors.

Apparently some unknown person had complained about the behavior of some from last month’s meeting, but there was no indication our guest herself was offended. Ironically, one of the chief offenders wasn’t there to hear the lecture. But I heard he had been e-mailed—not called or talked to face to face– by one of the more irate club members.

Most of us sat there wondering what the heck they were talking about. I had that loathsome scolded school kid feeling again.

There was plenty of discussion among several of us after the meeting. The consensus  was the whole thing was blown way out of proportion and should have been dealt with on an individual basis with the alleged offenders.

As for Believers, we have an exhortation from Jesus Himself in Matthew 18:15-17 as to how to properly handle offenses.

“Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.”

Since men of the world in a secular ham radio club felt as they did about handling things on an individual level, why shouldn’t Believers in Christ be at least as wise? The bad examples of the world itself show us a better way. Let’s not punish the many for the sins of the few and make everyone do the school kid shuffle.

Explore posts in the same categories: Christian Life, Thoughts from John

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