“Is Pluto a Planet? The Blessings and Perils of Labeling”

We generally feel that labeling and categorization of people is bad, but I have learned that sometimes it is valuable. In a recent sermon joshua schwartz explained that the autism label helped in self understanding, and after that service, in break-out room discussion, participants noted how accepting and receiving labels of lesbian and of dyslexic had relieved perplexity and stress. Nevertheless, labeling can also be very damaging, with racial labeling coming immediately to mind.
In this message I will take the question of whether the astronomical object Pluto should be labelled a planet or a dwarf planet, and explore both the blessings and the perils of labeling, and develop some tentative criteria for useful versus damaging labeling. I will apply some of these criteria to labeling of people, and will include some of my own pet peeves of misleading terminology.
In widening the circle of knowledge of how to use labeling as a blessing, we can widen the circle of our understanding of others, and widen the circle of loving community.

The Zoom link and Order of Service will be provided at mpuuc.org/zoom.