For better or worse, in one way or another, we all think in stereotypes and are stereotyped by others. Often the subjective words or images associated with stereotypes are far from positive.
As Christians we are called to be disciples, to try to live as Jesus lived. The Bible is filled with vivid stories demonstrating that Jesus was probably the best stereotype-breaker in human history.
Consider this statement: She’s a feminist but she’s open-minded. (Fill in any word: farmer, fundamentalist, etc.)
A couple of important things start to happen when we change the word “but” to “and”: She’s a feminist and she’s open-minded.
1. Break a stereotype wide open. Challenge its narrowness and assign it a new, richer meaning.
2. Ensure you are describing the reality instead of the perception.
This message was adapted from “Letting Out the Seams” by Mary Lynn Hendrickson that appeared in the May 1999 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.