So, have you been cancelled yet? Maybe not you personally, but has someone changed the name of a local school or sports team? Have they removed a statue? Are you offended?
It happened to me. When I was a boy, I went to a school named after a famous man; Frank Oliver. This was an inner city school, and we had our share of big kids who liked to fight.
It didn’t help that a large psychiatric hospital was named after the same man. You can imagine how we were teased, by kids from other schools; and I remember how we defended ourselves. They accused us of being from the other “Oliver.”
There are parts of my childhood that I would like to forget.
The name problem went away a few months ago, when the name “Oliver” was cancelled. Apparently the man “did great harm” and his name could not be used on a public facility. As a government leader, he was involved in decisions to put native people on reserves.
I can’t speak for the right or wrong in the history books, and almost no-one can. Information is hard to find. I know that the man’s real name was Francis Bowsfield, and the other name was made up, for business purposes. In the recent vote, there was no public discussion. A few people on a school board voted and moved on to other business.
So, I am now a graduate of No-Name Academy, until they invent a new “correct” name.
Also, our local football team was known as the “Eskimos” until that name was cancelled. The proper name for those northern people is Inuit, and the old name was cancelled, with no public discussion. So, the Eskies are now the No-Names, until a new and correct name can be invented for us. That “No-Name” thing is a local joke. We don’t expect public consultation in the search for a more correct name. I was working in a small town recently and I passed a house with a flag pole. Someone had the flag of the football team on the pole, at half-mast. I guess they were mourning and protesting the name cancellation.
There are many other examples of cancel culture, and you are probably aware of some near you.
I hope everyone understands, I am not writing this to cancel the cancellations. That would make me part of the problem. Possibly every name change can be justified, and maybe it was time to change the name of my school. The problem is, that we do not make a better world by erasing small things from the history books. And rushing these decisions through small committees does not change the world. The people who were not consulted have not changed, if change is needed.
In my life, I came to the realization that I needed to be cancelled. I needed a new life, with a new direction. My decision to follow Jesus was not a quick vote by a committee, it was my sincere conviction that I needed to be a different person. That boy from Oliver school was growing into a man, and I did not want to be that man. It was easy to look at my school mates and to judge them, but change came into my life when I judged myself. I believe the finger of God was pointed at me, not at the sign in front of my school.
“Cancel” decisions give a sense of change and improvement, but I believe that the real change needs to be inside each person. Cancel Culture is popular culture, and it will happen. We can fly a flag at half-mast in the back yard, but a new generation will make name changes and remove statues.
“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven” (Ecclesiastes 3:1) and we are in a phase of history. I hope the new generation will look deeper, and see the personal need to find our creator, and to be made into someone new.
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” (Psalm 139: 23 and 24)
I voted for that cancellation, in me, and I recommend that decision for everyone.
So, have you been cancelled yet?