A Word to the Wise: Read the labels before you read this

By: Tom Rupp
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So our fearless editor recently became the recipient of some criticism, and yours truly was inadvertently dragged into the fray. Someone accused him of barring other religions from expressing their views because my column is in the paper. The editor wrote about this in his column last week (which you can read online). These things happen from time to time and merit a response. In the unforgettable words of James Stockdale during the 1992 vice-presidential debate, “Who am I? Why am I here?” Perhaps it would be beneficial for those of you who read this to know who I am and why I am here. I am a human being, a member of the race of homosapiens who inhabit this large planet. I’ve been here for 51 years and hope to be here for many more. We all have that in common. I am a male, always been one and intend to always remain one. I share many of the characteristic traits of our species but have been known to exude an inordinate amount of estrogen from time to time. Make no mistake about it, though — a full-blooded male writes these words. A lot of us have that in common. I am a Christian who believes in God and lives for Jesus. I believe the Bible is God’s book, recording the experiences of many people over many centuries and that, through that book, God speaks to me concerning how to live today. Some of us have that in common. I am an American and proud of it. Our country is a great place to live and our freedoms are not taken for granted. No great power lasts forever on the world’s stage but America has so far enjoyed an unprecedented run. I am a Republican. Perhaps I am a liberal Republican, if such a bird is possible. I believe in equality of opportunity but not equality of outcome. Isn’t it funny how we rely on labels to identify ourselves and others? It often saves us the hard work of thinking and getting to know people. You may not like or agree with some of the labels used in this column, but there they are. To some small degree, they define who I am and I am not ashamed of who I am. But it takes more than labels to really get to know a person. It has been over seven years now since I began writing these weekly meanderings. Hopefully those of you who have read them have enjoyed the thoughts so far. Here’s another label — I am a Baltimore Orioles fan, but don’t hold that one against me. Tom Rupp is a Bible teacher at Capital Bible College. He can be reached at or through his blog at