The spiritual value of being rude

No, I'm not suggesting that rudeness become anyone's intentional spiritual practice. But it happens sometimes. It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when.

In some cases, rudeness is in the eye of the beholder. Definitions of rudeness can vary by culture, class, gender, and context. In my case, it's often a case of excessively abrupt honesty. And a certain unfortunate tendency towards being flippant when I'm nervous. I still think it's better than hiding our experience of truth.

Rudeness can lead to opportunities for repentance, confession, apologies, and forgiveness, which ARE good spiritual practices.
Dear God, please help me to become aware when someone perceives that I have been rude. Help me to know how to respond in love and without fear.


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friend Robin,

Thank you for this, especially for: "In some cases, rudeness is in the eye of the beholder. Definitions of rudeness can vary by culture, class, gender, and context."

I've had to learn to turn around my "grumpy old man" complaints about the "chronic rudeness" of younger folks.

BTW, to me, "younger" can mean "in-your-forties." :-)

One day I was feeling put off by the fact that everyone I passed on the street was "rudely" failing to acknowledge my nod and smile.

Then, I realized: "They aren't being rude. They just weren't brought up that way."

I'm trying to remember that "they just weren't brought up that way" is not a judgment against anyone...just an observation.

Making that observation sometimes helps me to hear the person without resentment.

Blessed Be,

11/19/2007 5:05 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Well, I'm just under forty, and I was "brought up that way." I'm still adjusting my small town ways to big city anonymity, even after 20 years in a series of big cities.

Thanks for your comment, Michael. Learning the difference between observation and judgement is always a work in progress.

11/19/2007 7:16 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

When I saw this post I egocentrically immediately assumed, oh no, my pain-in-the-ass ways are finally pushing someone over the edge!

I hope that I haven't been rude...

11/20/2007 12:22 PM  
Blogger Allison said...

PS - When I was living in Armenia, a frequent comment was, "You're getting fat!" You can imagine how this made the American women feel, especially since it was often true because we had to eat an Armenian diet that largely consisted of carbs. No matter how many times you tell yourself "it's a culture thing" it always hurts your feelings!

11/20/2007 12:25 PM  
Blogger Robin M. said...

Allison, I really didn't mean this to be about you. I was more inspired by a conversation I had with Jeanne at Social Class & Quakers about how the concept of tact is also class-dependent.

So keep asking your questions. It's good for me. :-)

11/22/2007 12:45 AM  

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