Have you ever thought about going to a vineyard? Walking the path between the grape vines. Smelling the scents of the wine as it’s prepared to ship out.
People that eat fruit as part of their diet see a decrease in the risk of some chronic diseases. Potassium, dietary fiber, vitamin C, and folate (folic acid) are just a few of the added nutritional benefits of eating fruit. Low blood pressure and cholesterol as well as forming red blood cells are many of the health benefits of eating fruits with these properties. This is all according to choosemyhealth.gov
Just as important as eating healthy fruits is knowing how to avoid poisonous fruit and their affects. Cherries for instance can be deadly if you eat the pit or keep it in your mouth for too long. If the pit is somehow damaged then it produces hydrogen cyanide which in mild doses can cause headache, dizziness, confusion, anxiety, and vomiting. Larger amounts can cause difficulty breathing, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and kidney failure. Reactions can consist of a coma, convulsions, and death from respiratory arrest. I know crazy right?
Cashews if eaten raw can cause reactions similar to poison ivy and oak because it contains urushiol. The raw cashews sold in stores has been destemmed, but the handlers may feel the side effects.
Why am I talking about fruit? Well fruit can be beneficial and healthy or it can be poisonous and deadly. However, I’m not talking about fruit here. I’m talking about the words and actions of people.
There are so many people claiming to follow Christ while at the same time supporting the gradual genocide of Palestinians, Police brutality against POC, Anti-LGBT legislation and policies, misogony and sexism in the church and society, and all the characteristics and attributes that are the exact opposite of love, life, and peace. What these people don’t understand is that their actions and beliefs have real life consequences in the lives of real life people. Your worldview affects how you treat your fellow man and this worldview bears no good fruit.
Think about your theology. Theology can uplift or tear down. Leaving the faith or the church results in ridicule, rejection, and threat of eternal torment, so stay in line and within their guided doctrines.
The belief that we are a Christian nation and have God’s guidance in everything that we do leads to the gradual genocide of Palestinians and other war crimes.
According to Mark Finney from the University of Sheffield in Australia, in 2002 President Bush was asked by the international community to stop Israeli Prime Minister Sharon from continuing the offensive against the Palestinians. The Christian Zionist’s urged their members to call, email, send letters and postcards and do everything to get Bush to let Sharon continue. Bush stopped asking for a reprieve and the Zionists won.
It also calls and advocates for the increasing in Jewish settlement construction in the West Bank. Their advocacy allows Israel to continue their actions without threat of punishment from the international community.
82% white evangelicals think God gave Israel to the Jews, according to the Pew Research Forum. Less than half of Jews think the same. 80% of white evangelicals feel more empathy for Israelis than for Palestinians, according to a Pew Research poll.
The belief that minorities, namely African Americans, were inferior and therefore deserved to be slaves and all manner of evils done to them because God had ordained it still ripples down to the injustices that they face today.
According to the Public Religion Research Institute, 66 percent of white evangelicals believe that African-American’s as well as other minorities receive the equal amount of treatment that whites do when it comes to the criminal justice system. More than 82 percent of African-American Protestants disagree with this statement.
63% of white evangelicals believe in the statement, “Today, discrimination against whites has become as big a problem as discrimination against blacks and other minorities.”
There are dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences to media bias. When the media reports on crime it more often than not reinforces white people’s antagonism primarily towards African-Americans. In these instances the media will often portray African-Americans as dangerous and prone to criminal activity. It also shows in regular news and entertainment that there is a white privilege that is maintained in these broadcasts while African Americans are relegated to the bottom of the social class.
It is not solely African Americans that suffer these labels but Latino Americans as well. As the media presents these images and promotes these types of unconscious messages on a daily basis the average viewer will inevitably create in their minds a racial and ethnic misunderstanding and antagonism toward these two groups. It also reinforces these negative stereotypes in the minds of these viewers.
Both Latinos and African Americans are more likely to be portrayed as lawbreakers in the news media. African Americans are seen as more violent than their white or Latino counterparts. White people are overrepresented as victims of crime and violence as well as law enforcement. In contrast African Americans are less likely to be depicted in these roles. They were rarely seen in positive positions outside of criminal news reporting.
For Latinos it was found to be worse in some instances such as in Orlando where it was found that one in twenty white people who appeared on local news was a suspect of criminal activity. This is compared with one in eight blacks and one in four Latinos who were portrayed in the same light.
African Americans and Latinos are more likely to be given negative labels relating to criminal activity than white people. African Americans appear more often in handcuffs and in mugshot photos in the media. They along with Latinos are twice more likely to be given negative pretrial coverage than defendants who victimized nonwhites. When these stories are covered it is more likely than not that there is older white narrator covering the story.
It is because of this kind of media bias that fear and animosity is able to grow in the minds of white viewers. It also plays a major role in greatly influencing public policy which creates even more detrimental consequences and negative social outcomes for these groups and society as a whole. This can particularly be seen in white Americans support of the death penalty. If whites are within close proximity to a large population of African Americans they are more likely to support the policy of capital punishment. If it were not for these perceived correlations between race and violent crime, high rates of support for the death penalty would not exist. On the other hand Latinos and African Americans are more likely to advocate for police reform as they see more police misconduct within their communities.
In 1988 George H. W. Bush’s campaign advertisement survey used the term “inner city” when asking respondents whether or not to allow more prisons or support antipoverty programs. The term generated a strong reaction in the minds of conservatives so much so that they favored more prisons over spending money to create antipoverty programs. This showed that racially explicit terms were not even needed for a negative racial correlation to be made in the minds of white Americans.
This behavior can be traced back to Lee Atwater’s Southern Strategy where he explained in an interview how to relay racial messages to conservative audiences without explicitly using racially charged language. In this way anyone who wanted to accuse a candidate or newscaster of being racist by using these messages could not back up their accusations with proof because the meanings were vague enough as to mean anything the user wanted them to mean.
These messages came to be known as Dog Whistle politics where only certain people would understand what the messages were truly conveying while the rest of the population remained oblivious to its intent.
The belief that LGBT people are degenerates, deserved Aids and are unnatural leads to rejection, homelessness, narcotic use, depression, alcoholism, suicide, and other deadly results.
The CDC reports that around 40% of homeless youth are LGBT as a result of being rejected by their families. Researchers found that LGBT people are,
8 times more likely to have tried to commit suicide
6 times more likely to report high levels of depression
3 times more likely to use illegal drugs
3 times more likely to have risky sex
The belief that women shouldn’t teach or be ordained to the priesthood deprives millions of women of their God given potential and purpose. Women have to work twice as hard to get the job they want and be seen as efficient and effective leaders. The layers of sexism and misogyny are constant obstacles that they have to manuever as well as the expectations of men and women. They have to be perfect at every thing they do and meet impossible expectations.
Jesus said that Love was the greatest commandment. There is a list in 1st Corinthians 14:4-7 which says, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”
If words and actions are rooted in love they would reflect these definitions. They would bear good fruit.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.
When I speak or act I try to do so in such a way that gives life. When our actions or words become poisonous and dangerous it not only hurts ourselves, but others are harmed as a consequence.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
M. Entman, R., & A. Gross, K. (2008). Race to judgement: stereotyping media and criminal defendants. LAW AND CONTEMPORARY PROBLEMS, 71(93), 105-106.
Rapoza, K. (2011, November 21). Fox News Viewers Uninformed, NPR Listeners Not, Poll Suggests.
TerBeek, C. (2015). Dog whistling, the color-blind jurisprudential regime, and the constitutional politics of race. Constitutional Commentary,