Over the last week or two on campus, there have been some preachers handing out books and talking to people just outside my building. I ride my bike past them and pay little attention to who they are talking to or what they are saying, but I occasionally hear little pieces of their conversations. A couple of things during the past couple of days have bothered me a little, and it comes down to a lack of respect for others.
I overheard one of the preachers explaining that the person he was talking to doesn't believe in Jesus. He said there are a lot of people who think they believe in Jesus, but they don't really. Really? Every religion is going to have some disagreements, but it doesn't even make sense that one person can tell another that the latter only believes that he believes in God or that he believes in a different Jesus. Whatever. It's just semantics. To me it's just a disagreement as to the nature of God, not that they believe in a different God. That difference in how it is presented is based on whether or not the presenter has respect for his or her audience. Specifically phrasing it that way tells me that the preacher has no respect for the person he or she is talking to.
What goes around comes around, however, as I witnessed an obviously fake preacher with a larger audience than is usually gathered listening to him pontificate about an important book in his life as the other preachers waited patiently for him to finish his sermon. It is a book that can tell the future. It is a book that is available to all, but that few of us take advantage of like we should. The book is the TV Guide. Huh? Leave them alone. Pass on by or go see if they have something worthwhile to say, but the open mocking is uncalled for. It's not like the preachers were taunting or desecrating sacred items or yelling outside weddings or funerals like some that I've seen that are just out to start arguments that accomplish nothing. Go talk to them - you might learn something - or they might.
On a non-religious note, I was having a conversation with someone whose class I was visiting. She mentioned something about how students often don't show professors respect in their emails. Her observation was that students treat professors like their buddy or type in all lower case or have unrealistic expectations about how quickly they should get an email back. I proceeded to mention how it bothers me when some people type in all caps or put that they need a response ASAP. Then I realized when I got back to my office later that she had sent me an email that morning with the subject line in all caps, including ASAP. Oops. I felt bad that I had totally called her out on her lack of email etiquette, even though I didn't mean to. I considered apologizing, but then as I thought about it, she's the one that sent me a message in all caps and ASAP, and it almost kept me from reading the message. I choose to think that I simply did her a favor, like the person that lets you know there is something hanging from your nose or stuck in your teeth after who knows how many people saw it there but were too embarrassed to say anything.