Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Blogger, Thy Name is Bigot

The other night when I was talking to Husband about my decision to volunteer, he expressed some concern about the location of the shelter I had chosen.

"Baby, that's way down on Peachtree, are you sure you want to drive all that way? There's got to be someplace closer."

"Well, there's Elizabeth House in Marietta, but it's run by Must Ministries."

"So?"

"Ministries. Meaning...Christians."

"Why do you always say it like that?"

"Like what??"

"Christians." he mimicked.

"I don't always say it like that."

"Yes you do. You know....most Christians are very nice people."

I know that. I do. I also know that it's unfair to categorize them all as zealots and bible thumpers, hypocrites and finger pointers. But I can't help it.

It's true that I have been privileged to meet some wonderful Christian people. People who live as they believe, who do not judge, who subscribe whole heartedly to the gospel of live and let live. They are people who do not let religious doctrine eclipse their humanity.

But the bad Christians that have crossed my life path have been SO spectacularly bad, that they have bred an inherent dread and distrust in me.

Most of this happened during my formative years, but I continue to encounter people that underscore those feelings and feed my aversion, even as I gain a growing awareness that the lack of a spiritual belief system is having an impact on my life.

So I struggle.

Is this fair of me? No. It isn't. It's no better than discriminating against someone because of the color of their skin, or the size of their body, or the language they speak.

I consider myself a very forward thinking and accepting person. I am a proponent of Gay Marriage and Civil Rights. I am vehemently Pro-Choice and I support seperation of church and state. I don't know if I'm a true liberal, only because I eschew politics and decline to ally myself to any one political party, but I do think I am more openminded than the average Southerner.

So it's with no small sense of shame that I admit to myself, that I am a bigot.

And I don't know what to do about it.

Pray?

I hear it works for some people.

23 Comments:

  • At 1:22 PM, Blogger Avalon said…

    See, this is where I have some trouble. if a person forms an opinion based on multiple experiences with something or someone, why does that make them bigoted? If every time I ran into a Doberman Pinscher, it bit me, would I be considered bigoted if I tried to avoid Dobermans?

    I guess i wonder when it crosses over from being a perfectly naturally desire to avoid a perceived negative into bigotry?

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    I think you read my recent post, The God Factor, so you understand how I feel about this topic.

    Yep, I'm one of those "C" words.

    And it's hard for me to talk about it because of the immediate image that jumps into people's heads when you say it.

    It's the image that even jumps into mine, so I cannot judge you at all.
    Some of us "C" people are like that....about the love and the forgiveness and the do unto others.

    And the rest of them, well, it's them that I'm praying for, not necessarily someone like you.

     
  • At 2:02 PM, Blogger WI Mommy said…

    I have struggled with this too - especially since I have been bitten by a large percentage of the Dobermans, I mean Christians, that I have come into contact with.

    My favorite part is when they say that they should not be held to a higher standard (they are forgiven, not perfect is the tag line)but then they procede to dictate who is going to Heaven and who isn't. If you are all that "knowledgable" about who the chosen are (and you consider yourself one of them), shouldn't you be held to a higher standard? Sorry - don't mean to rant on your comments.

     
  • At 2:08 PM, Blogger painted maypole said…

    that closer shelter may be just the place for you to meet and interact with some different kinds of Christians. Wouldn't they be the ones working in a shelter? It might be worth a try. Save some gas money and expand your experience, all at once.

     
  • At 3:16 PM, Blogger Lara said…

    i think it's great that you're willing to admit that your way of thinking may not be entirely fair. it's also easy to understand how you came to that way of thinking. but as a catholic who also considers herself to be open-minded and free-thinking, who is also for gay marriage and civil rights, who is also pro-choice and pro- the separation of church and state, i admit that i get tired of being lumped in with judgmental zealots. i get especially tired when that generalization comes from someone close to me: my fiance used to say things about "you people" to me, when referring to fundamentalist christians. "have i ever done anything to deserve being categorized with those types of christians?" i would ask. he would admit that no, i hadn't, and i would remind him that if that was true, then he was being unfair to me.

    i guess it's okay to be wary and skeptical - hell, i consider myself to be skeptical, too - but outright judgments about people we don't know should probably be avoided.

    i hope that makes sense and i didn't come across as judging - i'll invite you over some afternoon for tea in my glass house, and i'll show you the bucket of stones that i make sure never to throw. :-P

     
  • At 5:30 PM, Blogger Rock the Cradle said…

    Oh, I hear you. Agnostic gal here.

    But you are not a bigot. A bigot is someone who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief or opinion. You just are not that kind of gal.

    What you are is wary and judgmental. Like the rest of the human race.
    One thing that has helped me be less judgmental is to remember to give everyone the benefit of the doubt.

    Any person, regardless of what they believe, can be wonderful person, an asshole, or more often than not, a heady mix of the two. We can say very easily so and so is intolerant because he is a Christian, or a Muslim or what have you. But we could just as well say that regardless of his religion, he would be an intolerant person, and the congregation and creed he follows only reflects that personality trait.

    You'll know right away whether the people at the shelter will be people you can work with. Just follow your instincts. And do a little homework on Must Ministries.

    One thing we can do one on one is to be gracious in the face of intolerance, if only to show people that grace comes from within us, not from without. Graciousness does not require a belief in a god to work.

     
  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger Simon said…

    Blogger, they name is Wise Woman.

    The things people do "in god's name" beggar belief at times. It's the main reason I don't believe that there is a god. If there was one then I'm damn sure there would have been some serious smiting going on over the years. The crusades, the holocaust, the inquisition, the terror emanating from the middle east - all of those (and many more)seem, to me, to be about as un-believing as you can get.

    Like you, I believe in live-and-let-live which to my mind says we aren't bigots in the least!

     
  • At 7:09 PM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    We are all bigots in one way or another, either because of past experience or lack of information and because we tend to universalize our experience.

    Just for the record, I am stridently for the separation of church and state and just as stridently opposed to school prayer.

     
  • At 7:48 PM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    I came across a website awhile ago with a series of tests you could take to assess your level of prejudice. I chose to do one on associating gender with home/workplace. It was a word-sorting task where the words "male" and "female" appeared above the categories of Home and Workplace.

    It was fascinating to see how hard it was to sort the words when "male" appeared above "home" - if "employer" came up, I'd start steering towards the male column, check myself, and put the word in the right place. By contrast, the second round, where "female" appeared above "home," I could do with lightning speed.

    In the end, though, I felt as if the kind of "prejudice" this test was measuring was not especially revealing. Of course I associated women with home and men with the workplace: I was raised by a stay-at-home mom and I live in this culture. What matters is what I DO with that association. If I recognize and correct for it (as I do, constantly), then it's not a meaningful prejudice.

    This comment is really long already, so I won't explain the application - you know what I'm saying.

     
  • At 8:20 PM, Blogger mcewen said…

    I am a little fearful of the 'god squad' too, but I think it's just a big culture shock for us.
    Cheers

     
  • At 8:47 PM, Blogger Mad Hatter said…

    Actually, so many of the wonderful blogging mom Christians (how's that for identity politics) have broadened my mind and heart when it comes to a lot of the knee-jerking I've been prone to doing.

     
  • At 9:15 PM, Blogger slouching mom said…

    I agree with Mad. It's here in the blogosphere that I've met some Christians whose ways of being and doing have relaxed my fairly rigid notions of what it means to be Christian.

    That said, I've no intention of ever being anything other than agnostic.

     
  • At 10:14 PM, Blogger jen said…

    honestly - if any group makes religion part of providing services, ie, you must pray or read the bible to stay with us - then i'd not be into it. if it's a church group helping without requiring religion, i am fine w/ it. i just don't think one needs to be required in order to get the other.

     
  • At 1:05 AM, Anonymous Smiling Mom said…

    It's crazy how one can be so open-minded about so many subjects, yet closed minded to others. I found this out about myself too in college.

    And again as a teacher. I had three bad experiences with parents from a certain geographical/cultural background that negatively shaped my view of culture.

    A year later I moved schools and routinely each year 1/2 my class is filled with students from that specific geographical/cultural background.

    You know what? My views have changed 100%! It took exposing myself to a wider variety of people to realize the errors of my judgments.

    W

     
  • At 8:45 AM, Anonymous Andrea said…

    I don't think that's bigotry. You've had experiences with judgmental people with one common denominator which they have weilded as the reason behind their behavior. If you were to downright refuse any affiliation with Christians without ever having had any contact with a Christian, that would be bigotry.

    So you're leary. Sometimes, given the zealotry that abounds, it's hard not to be a little put off when someone outright admits their Christianity. I believe in God but have in recent years become a sporadic attender of church at best. Some would say that's heathen, while others would say that I should take the time to find a place to attend church where I feel comfortable and at home. I would totally shy away from someone calling me a heathen. That kind of judgment doesn't feel real nice.

    However, I do think Painted Maypole has a point. Maybe the ministry volunteer group would be just the thing for you to expand your experience. Intellectually you know that not all Christians tout the fire and brimstone. Believing it and feeling it is another thing entirely.

    No matter what you decide, volunteering is an awesome thing and I hope the experience leaves you fulfilled.

     
  • At 9:37 AM, Blogger Natalie said…

    I have experienced a fair share of Christians on both sides of the fence; perfectly normal and absolutely insane. That being said, I don't think I would be comfortable volunteering in an environment where most people were inspired to volunteer because of their faith. I wouldn't have the same underlying motivation and would find that uncomfortable. That's just me though.

     
  • At 1:45 PM, Blogger Random Thinker said…

    Gandhi, once when he was complimented acting like a Christian, said that he would take it as a great insult to be called a Christian and a great compliment to be called Christ like.

    Christianity is much greater than the Christians who profess it. It is a pity that people are shunted away from its basic kernel of Love by the boorish behavior of some of its loud mouth practitioners.

     
  • At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Catherine, the redhead said…

    Being Irish, a redhead and Catholic I pretty much appear drunk, wild and guilt ridden to the world.
    ...now where did I put that mug of wine...

    Catherine, the redhead

     
  • At 3:33 PM, Blogger Oh, The Joys said…

    Little Monkies has an interesting post up about the middle ground... it's worth a checky see.

     
  • At 8:15 PM, Blogger shauna said…

    What an honest post. And I would agree with Antique Mommy, we're all bigoted in some way. It's the truly self-reflective person who can recognize it and move forward with an open and generous spirit. Good for you!

     
  • At 9:11 PM, Blogger Student of Life said…

    To further expedite my fast-track to hell, I'll say I've not only had bad experiences with some not-so-Christian Christians in my area (think Bob Jones University), but I've also been burned by some not-so-Christian Christian volunteers. One of my friends dubbed it the Volunteer Vortex. It's amazing how low-down some people can get all in the name of god and charity. Good luck to you. Follow your heart. It will lead you to the right thing for you.

     
  • At 9:53 PM, Blogger Fairly Odd Mother said…

    Gosh, you are so brave: I've wanted to write something like this for so long but am always afraid I'll get attacked. Somehow the word "Christian" has become a scary word to me and I'm not really sure why. Maybe it is because I feel judged? I'm not sure. But, I think there is no better way to get past an intolerance than to jump right in get to know those who you think you are most unlike. I think you should go to the closer shelter and maybe you will be pleasantly surprised.

     
  • At 2:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I blame it on the fanatics. Fanatics give any religion a bad name. Islam is a beautiful religion and has been hi-jacked by lunatics. And for many years, even before 9/11, conservative Christians have been blaspheming my Lord. The people who are at every Gay Pride event declaring that anyone whose genes are telling them they are not attracted to the opposite sex is told they will ‘burn in hell.’ This is not the way of the loving Lord, whom I have come to know personally. And, how about those wackos who bombed Planned Parenthood? Or the Christian fanatics who shot at doctors who may have carried out abortions? When I hear about these people I pray for them—that their hearts can be changed and they can know the Lord of love, not the Lord of hate and vengeance. I have friends and family who left the Christian faith as result of the Christian Coalition, Operation Rescue and the likes of Pat Robertson. We all have to remember that those who espouse hate and acts of violence are no more Christian than those who kill and claim to be Muslim.

    Blog Antagonist, I see your point. But I think you need to get into Must Ministries and minister to the poor who your heart is leading you to. But you can also minister to the Christians who need to have a change of heart, and know the loving Lord who said, “The greatest commandment I give you is this; that you love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 13:34).

     

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