Byer's Basic Blog

just call us the Tunkhannock Times

Great thoughts by Mark Beeson…

Posted by joelbyer on April 8, 2009

“It’s personal,” she said. She assumed the STOP sign she erected with her “It’s personal” comment would back me down.  She was wrong.

Some things are personal. Some things are private. Some things are very personal but not at all private.  It’s good to know the difference.

Want help with that? Consider these examples:

A man asked me to baptize him, “in private, because it’s so personal.” I refused. Baptism is very personal but it is anything but private. 

A couple asked me to marry them in, “a secret ceremony because we want it to be intimate and personal.” I refused. I suggested they go on a date, tell each other they love each other on a moonlit walk and get their clandestine conversations out of the way so they can go public with their marriage commitment in the presence of witnesses. “Marriage is not a private matter,” I told them.  “Weddings are public statements of deeply personal commitments.”

One woman told me she wanted to keep her faith “to herself.” She said she didn’t want to tell her children she was a Christian. She said her faith was “too personal.”  I told her she was a selfish woman. I told her, “If everyone who deeply loves Jesus kept their faith to themselves, the church would be extinct in just one generation.”

Everything “personal” isn’t confidential, but some “personal” matters should be kept private.
Of course, reasonable people should assume a modicum of respect and civil decorum will militate against impropriety. In polite society, dignity and honor govern privacy issues. Confidentiality is the result of love as much as a corollary of decency. 

I’m concerned that we may be losing both: civility and decency.  Love seems to be missing. Our confusion about public and private matters, coinciding with voyeuristic tendencies riding the internet’s rails of information saturation, exacerbates the issue.

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