152 Opinions Are Like...

An old acquaintance of mine was once quoted as saying, "Opinions are like assh*les: everybody's got one."
That was at a time when he was just beginning to ascend the ladder of leadership in our relatively small but notorious faith community.

While my friend probably never would have imagined that his humorous comment might yet haunt him a quarter of a a century later, it goes to show just how far reaching our words can be.

- Providing you're one of those climbing the ladder of authority and position in this world, yes, even if you're part of a group that's totally out of this world...

What he was indicating back then was that opinions - especially those of every little Tom, Dick and Harry - make life harder on those trying to keep their grip firmly on the rail of the ladder.
It's hard having to listen to all that the folks at grassroot level have to say while you're struggling to ascend.

The problem about that attitude, though, is that every now and then some nincompoop comes along whose opinion is actually more than your average Joe's comment on whatever occurence life may offer you an opportunity to add your personal rap about.

Certainly the leaders of the Roman Catholic church weren't thrilled about the opinions of some Italian wise guy named Galileo Galilei in February 1610, and accordingly denounced him - only to graciously pardon him nearly 5 centuries later, since it had long been proven by then that he had been right all along.

Nor were they tickled pink about the notions of those like Luther who thought it was the right of every believer to be able to enjoy hearing or reading the Word of God in their own language, and not just Latin, which most of them didn't understand...
Most of us would certainly agree with Martin nowadays, and dare to differ with the "Latin only" crowd...

Lord only knows how many "heretics" were burned at the stake for voicing uncomfortable opinions which today might be considered tried and proven truths.

So, if I were ever to set out on some venturous ascent of some shaky, lofty ladder, I would bear that lesson from history in mind.

Opinions may be like those most uncomely parts of our bodies which everyone possesses, but those parts are still quite necessary, even if a lot of waste gets flushed out in the process.

Probably my friend has discovered by now that things aren't all that easy anymore nowadays, and opinions not all that easily dismissed.
The world has become a lot more demanding on leadership during the past two decades, and people who know how to use their ears are treasured and wanted (- although they still may be somewhat rare up on the ladder).
Even your average teenager will get offended if you won't spend at least an hour daily listening to their tales of how Jimmy in school said the most uncool thing to Jill "...and it like so totally sucked..." etc., etc., etc.

Of course, the most notorious opinion-bearer of all times didn't exactly thrill the authorities of His day with His stuff about the Kingdom of Heaven belonging to children, and the greatest among us having to become servant of all, according to His rulebook.
That's probably why most of His supposed followers (especially those in higher ranking positions) still don't give a lot of marbles to His opinions, but rather stick to their own.

The truth is, though, that in the end, those sitting at the top of the ladder in His joint (although it's probably going to be anything but a ladder) will be those who will have treated even the least among our brethren the way they would have treated Him; and perhaps the act of lending a listening ear - instead of prematurely dismissing their opinions - may have just been what will have helped you score the necessary points to get there.

But alas, this is but another humble opinion from just another nobody and least of all brethren...

But I guess it's folks like us that blogs are for...

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