Everywhere I go these days – church, school, chorus, the family room, the internet (the internet!), my own head – I hear two explanations for why “they” (whoever “they” are) disagree with “us” (whoever “we” are).

“Crazy.”

“Stupid.”

Or both at once: “Crazy and stupid.”

On the rare occasions when I have wandered off into another neighborhood, I have even heard myself explained away that way. Not myself personally, just myself as a member of the group of Crazy, Stupid People who Disagree with Sanity and Intelligence.

When one or two variables explain Everything, including mutually exclusive things, something is probably wrong with the model.

So recently, I decided to quit using this language. It hasn’t been harder than quitting smoking, but it’s been a challenge. It turns out, not using that language immediately results in disrupting the thinking it enables.

[Language. Concepts. Thinking. As in, what we use to think with has something to do with what we can think. How often do I need to learn that lesson?]

It feels almost as if, in this present world, not using the language “crazy” and “stupid” might almost be a spiritual practice. Like fasting. Like instead of saying “I decided” I ought to say “I vowed …”


Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds, so that you may discern what is the will of God – what is good and acceptable and perfect.
Romans 12:2


A sign in a red British telephone kiosk being used as a book exchange that reads "The Reading Room: Paperback Book and Magazine exchange, Bring something in and take something away"