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Friday, July 5, 2013

An Inconvenient Truth

Many, many years ago, I became a Christian.  Not too long after that an old friend and I were reunited after a falling out and while we were apart, she also started living her life for God.  When she walked into my home, it was like nothing had happened.  We were tight again and all had been forgiven.  And I gave God the credit for that because my personality isn't one that backs down from (my version) of righteousness.  This reunion with a person closer to me than a sister compelled me to seek out other Christians, absolutely sure I would find the same selfless love and acceptance.  So we decided to attend church.

It didn't go like that.  Church was the environment in which I quickly (very quickly) became disillusioned with Christianity.  As Jamie and I grew in faith and knowledge, we dubbed what we were seeing and experiencing Churchianity.  So much of what was taught was absolute bullcrap, not found anywhere in Scripture.  This bothered us greatly and we moved away from this sort of social group.  It seemed every time we attended church it was more a briefing on who we should hate and why they were responsible for the moral demise of our country, rather than a gathering of the saints to worship our Lord together.

No thanks, dudes.

As I grew in my own faith, it nagged me and grated me and left me deflated that as a requirement of my faith, I had to hate ANYONE.  I just couldn't do it.  I couldn't be a part of it.

So while I kept my beliefs and my love for God, I've got to be honest.  I started avoiding other Christians that regularly attended a church building.  Every one of them was full of themselves, not the spirit.  Hateful, mean, oh so quick to judge and yet not allowing anyone close enough to see their own flaws.  I started feeling like my social circle would never include other Christians because they were in name only.  They really didn't live it, just preached it and if you've known me any time at all, you know I can't be around dishonesty like that.  I just can't.

So for awhile, I made my circle with non-believers because it appeared that they were more suited to what I believed, odd as that sounds.  They were open, loving, striving to be better people and make the world a better place.  My circle of these individuals was small, but excellent.  They didn't question my faith at all.  As a matter of fact, I was told on more than one occasion that if more Christians were like me, than the person wouldn't mind hanging around a few.  Sadly, their experiences were more like mine.

And I have to admit, I sort of put these people up on a pedestal.  Not just the PERSON, but the whole group of loving, accepting, caring individuals.  I felt like they had it right and even though we didn't share the same faith, we shared a mission: Love. Love Everyone. No matter what.

But things have changed for me.  I have seen, as I've grown up a little more, that every single group has its own rules and hatefulness.  They believe that what THEY think is right trumps what anyone else believes and everything they dislike about the Christians, they feel is totally okay if THEY do it.

Want an example?  Good, I have one.


Let's examine this shall we?  Two straight guys vandalizing a property where a message they don't believe in is being preached.  Funny right?

Or not.

You see, the biggest problem people have with Christians is that we "force our beliefs down other people's throats."  I concur.  I've seen it in action.  Not going to deny that one bit.  And it's not right because as Christians we believe that any change that we experience comes from the saving grace of God.  We can't take credit it for it, so the whole idea to 'get your crap together if you believe in God...and make laws so that everyone  has to do what God says.." is really counter-Christian.  It just is.

But, and the big but...is that everything the nay-sayers believe we do is being played out right before your very eyes.  "We believe that what you believe in is wrong and because we feel it serves the greater good, this act of vandalism is accepted and necessary."

You following me here?  The Christian camp believes they need to preach this message.  Like it or not, the Bible says what it says (And I can tell in five seconds flat if someone has read it or has just read ABOUT it or has gathered third, fourth or more hand information about it.  Try me.  I will call you out right then, right there and it won't be pretty.  If you haven't read it, shut it. Thank you.)  I digress.  Christians believe that for the greater good, they must speak out.  And we are HATED for it.  Hated.  

And yet, this action above was applauded as righteous.  

Because there's nothing more noble than defacing the property of your "enemies" and mocking their deeply held beliefs.   This is funny, adorable, RIGHT ON MAN!!

Really?

All this love and acceptance we're vying for...means hating and showing non-acceptance?  How does that even equate?  

Just going by logic, what is this saying?  It's saying that any person who believes that their actions will cause blessing to another person can act in the manner they feel best suits that (or those) individual(s).  Believe it or not, those people who put up the original billboard felt that were doing just that.  But it's more accepted and oh so funny when someone who does NOT believe in that defaces personal property to send a message.

Because we should fight intolerance....with more intolerance (and illegal intolerance at that.)

What am I saying here?  Was it funny?  A little bit.  I get it.  Ha ha.  Cute word play, but bottom line for me is...there really is no love and tolerance in any circle.  It's not a thing until you believe, for yourself, that you will love without qualification and treat EVERYONE...

EVERYONE...

With love, respect and decency.  The action illustration does none of this.  And so we're left with the reality that one does not practice what they preach.  And that's truly sad.

So for all those Jesus lovers who love him, but nothing about his message (those who paint Jesus as a left leaning Woodstock attendee)...what about turning the other cheek did you NOT understand?

It's easy people.  If you don't like gay marriage or gay anything don't be gay, but here's the thing...

If you don't like Christians or Christian anything, don't be one.

Let's leave the rest lie.

Otherwise, where are we?  A part of the problem, not the solution.  

Two wrongs have never once equaled a right. And repaying a message you don't agree with with an act of degradation...well...good luck with that.

Cause I certainly feel all warm and fuzzy now.

Not. 

5 comments:

  1. I appreciate your post and feel a sense of familiarity in your story here. My path was a little different, but I have left the christian church as well and now attend a Unitarian church for the very reason you stated you socialize with non-believers.

    I currently study all religions, philosophies, etc, and you are right... all groups have their issues and we can only gain ground by taking the higher ground. Violence incites violence, intolerance incites intolerance. I don't think we should ignore the issues and be afraid to discuss them openly.

    Having said this, I try to focus on the positive aspects and do the best I can to be honest. Fundamentalism is the issue I see causing the most problems, not individual religions or even individual people... fundamentalism poisons even the best of them.

    Keep up the good work. We need more people to realize what you have so clearly presented here. Thank you for writing it!

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  2. I'm usually the bright side girl and I would ordinarily just chuckle about something like this and move on, but it hurt my heart to see people I know and love on Facebook, who practically beg for love and tolerance to applaud this. I just didn't get it.

    I have a lovely friend who was at one UU church (I used to tease her all the time that being a UU was thrifty because they recommended a "tithe" of 5% rather than 10%-it was a running joke with us) This church best fit her beliefs but we had an interesting discussion one day about how out of place she felt. She said that she really believed this group would be one of the most accepting and yet her status as a stay at home mom put her in the "outs" with the more feminist leaning members of the congregation. She was looked down on for being "too traditional."

    Recently, my very best friend has formed a friendship with a really crazy (in a good way) chick. Pink haired rock and roller type girl. They get along fabulously even though my friend is way more conservative in her looks and likes to dress nicely, for herself. When they met up with a group of this new friends "people..." these hippie, go with the flow, "love everyone" type people, my best friend was hurt that they completely excluded her from the conversation without even knowing anything about her. She tried to speak to them and they completely and totally pretended she wasn't there.

    The older I get the more I'm finding that "love and acceptance" really only encompasses a person's preset beliefs and ideas. I just hate that. There is much to learn about people and when we cut out that possibility, what a sad world we live in.

    In one of my yarn swap groups, there's a phrase that goes around often..."Be excellent to each other." Not agree with each other, join each other's church or non-church, be this or do that...just BE EXCELLENT. It's not hard. At least not for me....I wish more people would jump on THAT bandwagon because there's really nothing to lose.

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    1. We all have these types of experiences, and I'm sorry to hear of these examples. I agree with your disappointment...I find those that demand tolerance the most cannot give it and fail to realize what they do. Quite unfortunate.

      I would have to agree that the UUs don't lack their own issues, absolutely... they can sometimes get polarized on issues and completely lose site of their intended mission. I guess that's why I'm not a UU, I just go there on occasions. My family has only had a few real meaningful contacts at the UU church as well because, as is the case with many religious communities, there is a large age gap. We go mostly for the positive atmosphere overall, being part of a group that is active in the community (which gives us the opportunity to do things we normally wouldn't be able to do), and to hear things that challenge our way of thinking so we don't become stagnate.

      Be excellent. I like that. I try to do that as well and agree, it isn't hard. I find that people really respond to being just a plain person. Living in the present, being observant and responsive to those around you, making connections where you can. I wish we had more lasting connections, but sometimes it just doesn't work. All the technology now, ways to communicate and connect with people has instead created more disconnected people! Sitting at dinner in a restaurant with a friend and they are busy texting! Be excellent to each other to me also means being present for each other. An awesome concept. I'm on that bandwagon.

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    2. I am so curious as to how you found my blog!

      Community is so important. I am so thankful for mine. I have a little village now full of excellent people from all walks of life. My friend who reads this blog sometimes (Hi Kelli!) admitted that when she first heard about me, she didn't really want to meet me. Now I consider her one of my best friends and I think the feeling is mutual. I'm pretty easy going. I told her one time "I operate on the assumption that everything I truly believe could end up being false, so how can I push it on anyone?? I'm not in their shoes, nor are they in mine."

      One day when I have more time and mind space, I'd like to research and explore how social media has shifted the landscape of relationships as a whole. On one hand, we can connect with people that were formerly out of our reach, on the other...just like you said, when we have face time with someone important to us, we're already onto the next thing, the next person, the next "connection.." We rarely savor what's right in front of us...

      Be present. I cannot tell you how many times I write that note to myself on my daily to-do list. BE PRESENT. With my husband, my children, my friends, my interests. I catch myself jumping ahead ALL THE TIME. If I'm knitting one thing, I'm already planning the next. When I'm doing school work with one child, I'm sort of planning what happens next either with that child or another. For what? If I'm not going to be in the moment then, I'm constantly living on fast forward mode. Why watch the movie if you're going to do that?? You know what I mean?

      My closest friend said I read too much into the image below. It was a "joke" she said..haha, funny and I said "Dude, I have a great sense of humor. I get WHY it's humorous but it makes me sad that instead of living among people and loving them, people on either side of an issue are forcing themselves and what they believe on the other person." I thought today, what would MLK have said about this? Would he have thought this an act of righteous civil disobedience? I just can't see that he would. So, I'm torn a bit about it. I guess I do read too deep into things, but I don't really see that as a negative...

      And I'm totally rambling...;)

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    3. A friend of mine linked to this post on his Facebook status due to his familiarity with this feeling as well. I'm a blogger as well (caffeine4masses.blogspot.com), so I like checking out what other bloggers do...I hope I gave you some extra traffic today since I linked your post on my status as well :)

      I dislike forceful proselytizing as well... too many groups do it too, from christians to atheists... just let people live! Gandhi, who influenced MLK, said god has no religion. If this is true, then who cares what someone believes. Just let people be and love them. One reason I refuse to label myself with any religion is the baggage it carries and the false dichotomy it places on people, creating an 'us' and 'them'.

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