Obliviousity (n) the state of being oblivious, as in being focussed on one's self, and unaware of others around (The obliviousity of the Christian church is disconcerting). Obliviousity ranges from the person who in the checkout line with 37 items while the person behind him has 1 item and doesn't offer to allow the 1 item person to move ahead in line, to the person who blocks you from the right hand turn lane because he has positioned his car in the middle of the lane, to the person who reads his book in the only bathroom while others are waiting, to the person who is totally unaware of the challenges of those around him, be they challenges of disability, or any other challenge of life. Obliviousity may be deliberate "Those people are not a priority," to being characterized by the statement, "I just didn't know" when any human concern is raised having to do with anyone besides the person who is oblivious.
In an attempt to address the problem of obliviousity in this country, people have begun wearing ribbons, or placing facsimilies of ribbons on their cars. So we see breast cancer awareness, or aids awareness, or most recently autism awareness or down syndrome awareness. These banners may have the effect of raising the awareness of those who display them, but they only make those who see them wonder what the new color ribbon is about. The displaying of the ribbon, also may make those who display it feel they are actually doing something. However, there is a difference between "awareness," being aware of something and what may be called "doness" (pronounced do-ness) that is actually doing something. As the singer Bob Bennett says in one of his songs, we "mistake the sympathy we bring for the doing of the thing."
Somehow we must break through obliviousity and help move people to awareness but then also move them to doness.
Obliviousity is quickly cured when someone has something happen to himself. So suddenly I have an interest in persons with disabilities when a person with disability is born into my family. I then quickly see how oblivous others are to the needs of persons with disabilities. But even if disability visits my family, I may remain oblivious to the needs of other families facing similar issues.
Somehow the church needs to break through this barrier. Churches are beginning to reach the awareness phase. I pray the doness phase will come soon.
Thursday, December 07, 2006
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another great idea you have given us
I think an awareness campaign is needed in my neck of the woods.
I am glad that your community is entering the pre-doness
May God Bless the doing
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