Linda Downing

Failure to look past the surface

We leap to conclusions founded on physical senses rather than spiritual insight or even determined study. The big "I," basis for surface assumptions, is the universe of the majority. The Oxford English Dictionary's 2013 Word of the Year - "selfie" - makes that plain.

At least, they didn't pick "twerk," which would have fed the Miley Cyrus' ego until she exploded on stage like Humpty Dumpty who fell off the wall.

No matter, both words will have to be force-fed to our computer dictionaries. Even then, they may attempt to regurgitate. According to The Oxford, the meanings are: "selfie," a self-portrait snapped by a smartphone and shared over social networks; "twerk," sexually provocative dancing to popular music using pelvic thrusts and low, squatting stance.

Such undue focus on faces and butts threatens to negate what may or may not be in heads - or mouths. Consider how much money is made by those producing baby pacifiers, a sum mothers believe well worth it. But, we grow up; or, do we? Just when we thought it prudent to blast tobacco use for the filthy, dangerous thing that it is, the entrepreneurs started hawking adult binkies: e-cigarettes.

Here are some of Wall Street Journal's recent points about those. They are: Big Tobacco in disguise; can't promise not to kill you; not helpful in quitting smoking; alluring to kids; may be used to vaporize illegal drugs. If we must have something in our mouths, perhaps we should go back to thumbs.

Individuals who seek only veneer don't want to consider the risks of sending out those

selfies - the letting go of privacy, the voyeurism of a potentially perverted audience. Twerkers are seduced by the world's constant fašade of sexuality, rarely aware of how easy it is to sink to the bottom of dignity until we find ourselves analyzing whether Miley Cyrus simulating fellatio and masturbation on stage should be censured. The physical, spiritual, and intellectual senses of a reality-show-mentality-populace are deadened almost to extinction.

Failure to look past the surface could be our undoing. The world is full of a lot of questions and a dearth of answers that make sense. Should all Americans have access to health care? Yes - if we want it. Should that health care dictate tests we must have, penalties for disobedience? No - if we want to remain a free people. Should churches and other institutions be forced to provide health care mandates that are the antithesis of long-held biblical beliefs? No - if we still support freedom of religion.

Should we trust Russian President Vladimir Putin because his picture was snapped kissing a Madonna icon? Should we accept the apology of a "Christian" journal published by Harvard University students, an apology for "republishing" an anonymous writer's ignorant, medieval, unscholarly opinions that "Jews deserve to be punished by God for killing Jesus"?

Psalm 8:5 reminds us that God made man "a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor." We must scratch below the exterior to discover that truth.

Finding truth requires the right starting point. That is the quest of this column. If we seek simple truth, we can find it together - side-by-side.

Linda M. Downing is a freelance writer. Contact her at