Monday, June 4, 2012

Be Kato

Despite my misgivings vis-a-vis religion, at least one church teaching gives me an almost-daily benefit.  When I was going through my confirmation class, the OJ trial was at its peak.  As you might imagine, the trial came up when we were discussing the commandment to not bear false witness against one's neighbor.  In the explanation of this commandment in Luther's Small Catechism, it says to explain one's neighbor's actions in the kindest way.  This essentially means to give others the benefit of the doubt.

The model for this approach was Kato Kaelin, OJ's house-guest.  Compelled to testify in the case, Kato clearly sought to give the least-incriminating version of events he could without getting himself thrown in jail for perjury.

I use this just about every day with minor stressful events, like when I'm stuck between some slow driver on Medina Line.  I try to come up with a reason for why they are driving so slowly, like they're old or they were just in an accident.  By the time I'm in a position to see if my theory might be true, I'm in the process of passing them anyway, so I can't really get ticked off even if I see they're on their phone.

In aggregate, there are many areas of Christian ethics which I think would result in a better world if they were more widely followed.  In the thrilling conclusion to the series, I'll propose that the church can improve itself and the world by focusing on building a strong core of true believers, rather than focusing on keeping butts in the seats.


Anonymous said...

Kato Kaelin was "best friends" with actor/comedian Norm Macdonald from mid 2000 to mid 2001 according to Macdonald's The Norm Show co-star Artie Lange. Kaelin was even given a guest role on the show. The two had a falling out which ended their friendship.....He was married to Cynthia Coulter from 1983 to 1989. They have one child.

NWest said...

"explain one's neighbor's actions in the kindest way." - This is very good advice.

I recently finished rereading Epictetus - "The Art of Living" (Sharon Lebell's new translation). This reminds me of one of the lessons in the manual - Events Don't Hurt Us, but our views of them can.