“Don’t let the world around you squeeze you into its own mould, but let God re-mould your minds from within...”
Romans 12:2

Lifestyle Labels.

The word “lifestyle” is frequently used these days – lifestyle choices, lifestyle blocks, lifestyle issues, lifestyle this and lifestyle that.  Maybe it means different things to different people.  So I checked in a dictionary and found this definition:

“A set of attitudes, habits and possessions regarded as typical of a particular group or an individual.

“That’s interesting,” I thought.  “Not exactly how I would have defined it!”  Which then required me to nut out how I would have put it into words!  Finally I decided that any words or wisdom from myself could probably be accommodated by the ”set of attitudes, habits, and possessions” used by the Collins Bank of English! You will have to be the judge.

If a person’s lifestyle is to be meaningful, enjoyable and satisfying, choice has to be exercised after carefully considering a whole range of factors.  High on the list will be principles; philosophical convictions; circumstances and situations affecting other people; finances; responsibilities and commitments.  To achieve the desired lifestyle, two rather sticky questions have to be answered:

How willingly will sacrifices be made if required?  And will the lifestyle be lived “in the mould”, or out of it?

The outcomes of this process will either be a fairly respectable and conformed lifestyle, or a radically different lifestyle or, of course, somewhere in between.

As many people soon find out, most lifestyles will attract “labels”.  It is handy to be able to put people into an appropriate compartment or category, and probably we’re all guilty of doing it!  The range of labels that can be pinned on people is always being extended as new words are invented to meet all sorts of societal changes.  Just think about this random selection:

Old fogey, health freak, fundamentalist, spoil-sport, do-gooder, vegetarian, junk food addict, Bible-basher, agnostic, bright spark, new ager, conservative, commo, liberal Christian, gay, scrooge, money bags, radical, dyed-in-the-wool, recluse … and so on, etc, etc!  Every one of those “labels” will be reflected in a lifestyle of some sort.  

My comments in FOPTA, Chapter 1, seek to emphasise that we are all unique human beings.  We are all different and those differences ensure that The Great Divide will always exist.  We all have the right to our own beliefs, and the choosing of our own lifestyles.  We will not agree on all things, but can we be gracious enough to respect other people’s views, just as we would want to be respected by those with opposing opinions to our own?  We may feel very strongly that we are right and the other position being taken is wrong, but acceptance and respect will do far more to “change” others than an aggressive, accusatory, “cloning-type” attitude.  Chapters 20 and 27 in JALP touch on this.

Many years ago, when I was doing my compulsory military training, it was clearly spelt out that if you wanted to stay away from trouble, religion and party politics were off limits!  A soldier’s religion was known, respected and catered for.  You were there because laws passed by the government decreed it and you were there to serve your country.  Changes would come from outside the environs of the armed services training establishments using legitimate ways via the ballot box.

In operating this Website we want to make it a place where we can offer opportunities for people to read, contribute and exercise choice, in confidence and respect.  Each person should be able to bring their own uniqueness and lifestyle without feeling threatened. Out of the Mould may not be everyone’s cup of tea.  You will soon be aware of where I’m coming from and get a pretty good idea of my convictions.  You many not agree with me, and I’m not asking you to.  I shall not be trying to “convert” anyone, and I will be extremely upset if anyone is offended by imagining an approach which says, “I’m right and you’re wrong.”  Let’s always be looking for the common ground where we can use our energies, resources and time for those causes in which we need to be united.  The old army days advice is a good starting place don’t you think?