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I really love that Aretha Franklin song, “Respect,” originally from Otis Redding, but made popular by her.

I really have been pondering the nature of “respect” on account of the fact that there has been so much cultural bullying going on lately. That’s one problem with “respect,” the definitions can be varied and diverse. There is the abusive, domineering, arrogant kind, where you feel entitled to demand respect from everyone around you.

Blech.

Then there is the kind where we try to honor human dignity and respect the individual, as a reflection of how Christ sees them. Needless to say, that’s the good kind of respect. It’s rooted in love, Christ’s love.

I’ve toyed with the idea that respect is earned, but that’s never really sat with me right. It is earned, the point being I think it was already earned, bought and paid for on the cross. Because it was already earned, we don’t have to earn it ourselves, but that also means, we also don’t owe it to anyone else. It’s a free gift. No one can or should be forced to give you a gift.

So respecting other people is a free gift we can offer……or not.

This is why things like, “respect the science” are manipulative and controlling. Science is an inanimate object, a thing. It doesn’t even require respect in that manner. Control freaks, authoritarians, and bullies demand respect. Gravity could care less how you relate to it. You might suffer, but it has no feelings to hurt, no ego to offend.

I really appreciate how the Bible says honor your mother and father, rather than respect them. It may seem a bit fussy, but the difference is huge. Honor is a reflection within us, so you honor your parents by thriving, by doing good, by healing, by being successful. Respect is much smaller, it doesn’t go out into the world as far and it doesn’t live within you.

Now have a laugh with me, I’ve been thoroughly challenged on this issue and doing my darndest, but sheesh, people need to cooperate just a wee bit. Not long ago a gal saluted me with one finger and exposed her rear end, and I’m like, we have not evolved at all because not even monkeys are this stoopid. Sadly, a big part of this bizarre, anti social behavior is drug related.

Later this transadvocate or something, this very aggressive, cartoonish man, was trying to force people at the bus stop to touch his breasts and acknowledge that they where real. I live in this somewhat organized world, at least in my own head, so my first thought was sheesh, toxic masculinity strikes again. It struck me as a bit funny, because this was so not female behavior. You can kick and scream about it, but the more sexualized and domineering you act, the more male you appear. Transadvocates never seem to wear three coats and sit in the back of the bus with their nose quietly buried in a book. Also amusing, nobody even cares. I live in the 9th circuit of hell, in clown world, for goodness sakes. We are not shocked, offended, or even interested.

Just the same, I did not have that one on my futurama bingo card. 2022, the year some man tries to sexually harass women with his own breasts.

Nobody cares. That’s a harsh truth, but seriously, rebellion is so normal and ordinary these days, it’s downright boring. If you really want to get my attention, act “normal.” I don’t even know what “normal” is, but when you aren’t just exceedingly weird and blatantly hostile, it actually catches my attention these days.

Both of these people were demanding attention, validation, respect, connection, relationship, control. It’s kind of sad if you think about it. Just how separated, disconnected, and broken do you have to be to seek out random strangers for attention? The wrong kind of attention.

To make matters worse, Speaker Pelosi went and hijacked my term “Divine spark,” and now I feel as if it has been tainted, made dirty. Also, she perverted it out of context. Just the same, it’s a good concept. People are made in the image of God and somewhere within all our yuck there is a Divine spark. At least in Him we have our breath and being, if nothing else, so where there is life, there is His breath.

It’s challenging some days, I’m telling you.