Katie's Blog-ness

R-E-S-P-E-C-T August 3, 2012

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So, I love Google+ and if I blogged as often as I Google+, my blog would be much more active.  I like the interaction I experience on Google+ and have met some incredible people from lots of backgrounds.  Some of them hold very similar ideas as I do and many of them are very different from me.  I love that diversity and the broadening of my horizons that comes with it.  I recently had a dreadful-ish experience (I know I am not the only person this has happened to, it just makes it more personal).  I posted a fairly long winded comment on an article I read about the whole Chick Fil-A controversy junk that seems to be all over the place lately.  I am going to re-post that here in case anyone would like to comment, because I ended up disabling the comment section on my Google+ post.  I am also posting here because I wanted to share some observations without fear of lots of angry or contentious comments showing up (ah the power of approving who comments before they get posted).

The bad experience?  I was writing about my admiration of Chick Fil-A’s efforts to remain respectful and not sling mud in the midst of everything that has been said about them.  I was impressed enough to set out to publicly show my support for their “take the high road” kind of attitude about another variety of protest.  Unfortunately, when I posted my thoughts, the comment section on the post ended up filled by angry comments from someone that I have never met in person – or on line.  Perhaps he was not actually angry, but the comments were definitely lacking in the respect I was inspired by in what I read about the folks from Chic Fil-A.  It made me sad that the individual chose not only to twist my words to mean hateful things (not my intention at all) and other ugly-ness, but he chose to do it on MY post, where those that I respectfully communicate regularly were unfortunately exposed to it.  It left me feeling responsible for the hard and angry things being expressed.  I try so hard to avoid speaking harshly against anyone that it especially made me sad to have him talk about my thoughts as a hateful and disrespectful, while at the same time calling me a dolt and insinuating my kids are fat (guess he’s never seen THREE who has no extra fat anywhere on that small solid muscle body of his, unlike his mommy, but…we won’t go there – LOL).  I have generally been able to share my thoughts without too much trash talk from others or succumbing to it myself.  This honestly shocked me at how blatantly intentionally rude it all was and made me simply sad.  Thank you Chick Fil-A for maintaining a respectful tone, I will strive to do likewise, even though I am now also an unsuspecting recipient of hateful discussion.  I just wish that people could disagree (or agree for that matter) in a consistently respectful way.  Honestly, if there were more respect in our world, many of our problems could be solved.  Live true to who you are and genuinely respect others for living true to themselves and inner peace can be found – even amidst plentiful diversity.  That is my kind of world peace.

So on that, here is my post as it sits on Google+ (I may end up removing it as a means to be rid of the anger that was spread to my stream via the comments though – I have yet to decide)…  (Please be forgiving of any typos – I am a horrid speller and my Google spell check is busted somehow right now.)

“I honestly get sick of the way the media uses Chick Fil-A (which company I love and faithfully attend their Cow Appreciation Day in creative cow costuming with my entire family) as a banner to disparage those that support and those that oppose various things related to sexual orientation issues.  They support family values and I respect that they stand by their values.  I respect that, as a company, they also choose to put their money where their values are.

This article made me happy to see so many support the company – in spite of all the publicly tossed about criticism.  It did not make me thrilled to read “patrons waited upwards of two hours to snag their chicken sandwiches and show their support for Chick-fil-A CEO Dan Cathy’s comments supporting traditional marriage.”  I felt like that comment, though mostly innocent, put ‘words in the mouths’ of those who went to show their support.  I am sure that some people were there only to support those comments made by the CEO, but I think most supporters are simply supporting a company that supports family and has amazing service and a great corporate value system of giving back and helping make people happy (I don’t know what their ‘official’ values are, those are what I have seen them show).

It also frustrated me to read that people are organizing a protest at the resteraunts by having a protest called “National Same-Sex Kiss Day at Chick-fil-A.”  I shared the article in spite of those frustrations because I loved Chick Fil-A’s response to the protest and the whole issue.  I love and respect their philosopy.  The article ended with something from one of the chain’s executives.  I wish more people showed such respect for others.

“The Chick-fil-A culture and service tradition in our restaurants is to treat every person with honor, dignity and respect –regardless of their belief, race, creed, sexual orientation or gender,” Robinson said in a statement. “We understand from news reports that Friday may present yet another opportunity for us to serve with genuine hospitality, superior service and great food.”

Talk about turning the other proverbial cheek.  Chick Fil-A contributes money to try to foster family values (not just gender orientation values, but lots of values) and to do good in their community.  Then they get fully slammed for it and people start boycotting them.  Their supporters step in to offer a boost to encourage them.  Then as if to destroy that boost in moral, their opposition moves to open protest.  And how does Chick Fil-A respond?  Sling a little mud at those antagonists?  Throw an anti-gay rally?  Go boycot the local business run by one of those protesters?  No, they open their doors and move to offer the best service they can with respect.”

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13 Responses to “R-E-S-P-E-C-T”

  1. JL Says:

    I would have said something on G+ if I could have but you shut it down. And just as well because it was going nowhere in the comments, just two people who thought they could out-insult each other. Obviously, in a case like that, everyone’s shouting and no-one’s listening.

    Although they used a lot of words, it wasn’t about words, it was about mutual hate. They might just as well have beat on a pillow with a tennis racket because neither of them was getting any real satisfaction out of what they were saying.

    Of course, people are NOT going to take the high-road all the time, or even most of the time. And when you write/post something that hits people’s deepest convictions; political, religious and sexual, sorry, you’re just askin’ fer it. People have DIED over these issues and will continue to do so.

    I don’t think you meant to be controversial by the original post, just enjoying Chick Fil-A for whatever reason. First I ever heard of such a company and I guess I missed the point. I read it 3 times and still might have missed it. If the CEO of the company said something pro family and anti-gay by inference then yeah, I think they were askin’ fer it too. And to save the day/their business, they switched their attitude to tolerance and kindness to all. Or am I still missing it?

    If I understand you rightly, you would describe yourself as a proponent of ‘family values’ in a traditional sense which is maybe why you posted that article in the first place? That would put me on the opposite end of that spectrum. I am not in the least bit warm and fuzzy about ‘conventional’ family life. As long as people aren’t hurting each other I remain non-judgmental on sexual choices and the same on religious. Politicals – hmm, nothing going on in my head there at all except the word ‘corruption’.

    Would I enjoy having a conversation with you on these topics? Probably not. Because we would both come out of it still thinking what we think. And still thinking the other is wrong. But would I want to beat you up over our differences? No.

    • He, he, he! JL that is the best mental image! I can so see those two standing next to each other – with an invisible wall between them – each with a racket and a pillow. Ha! As far as what happened in this whole Chick Fil-A thing, their company has a great history of giving back. They do that by supporting local elementary schools, charity events in the towns where they operate, and a whole bunch of other things that would be a lovely, but boring, list. They also choose to contribute financially to a few various organizations. At least one that I know of has the purpose of helping people work to strengthen their marriages. I am so all for that. They are a very customer service centric company too, which I highly value. (AKA I’m not a huge fan of various other fast food joints, some stores, and plenty of other “service” providers that actually provide very limited service at all – that often determines what grocery store I frequent, the dentist I show my chompers to, and what cell phone company I select.) as far as my comments about dressing my kids up for Cow Appreciation Day, it honestly has more to do with family tradition and a silly, cheep lunch out with a goofy activity tacked on. I honestly have only been to a Chick Fil-A a few times in the last couple of years – we just don’t eat out. But, when we go out, I often lean their direction because the food will taste like food and I know we will be treated with respect (plus they have a play area for the kids – huge benefit for this lady!).

      None of that likely sounds controversial – at least not enough to get people’s angst up THAT much, but a while back someone in the media released the fact that one of the charities that Chick Fil-A has given money to has done some work in the political arena related to “traditional” marriage as the “norm.” Honestly, it has been a while since this all started and I looked into what Chick Fil-A had done that was so horrid that people were freaking out about it, so I am keeping specifics of the charity vague because I can’t remember the specifics. But, in a nut shell the charity Chick Fil-A had contributed money to is primarily focused on parents and kids and supporting them as they try to support each other. They are not primarily an anti-anything group. They support the traditional view of marriage, but are not (as far as I could find out) major anti-GLBT activists, but again – I may be off somewhat about how deep their involvement goes. What I saw was a company (Chick Fil-A) trying to promote happy families and donating money to a group that they believed also worked to support happy families. Then the media went crazy with the story. They spun it right into this HUGE anti-gay issue. They declared Chick Fil-A as hateful and nasty and all kinds of other things (which I don’t want to list what else). The CEO simply expressed that Chick Fil-A does support the family and had indeed given money to that organization. He also admitted that he and others at Chick Fil-A were married to their wives (not sure why that would be termed controversial). Basically that is what Chick Fil-A has done, but the media has gone wild and there have been calls for on-line and in person boycotts and lots of very angry and hateful rhetoric thrown around about them. They have been declared as ANTI-whatever that people can call them. As far as everything I have been able to find out, they are many PRO- things, but not ANTI- anything.

      That was what has bugged me about this entire thing. It bugs me about a lot of things – like what happened on my Google+ today. I dislike when someone lets someone know that they are PRO-something and someone that disagrees with them flips that to claim that the person is really ANTI-something-else. I have some amazing friends and family that live totally different lifestyles as I do, but I am very PRO-my-life. Does that make me ANTI-everyone-else’s-lives? Uh – no. I am pro-family, pro-God, pro-life, pro-friends, pro-positive-ness, and a whole lot of things. Another friend of mine from Google+ has said it so well many times, but I couldn’t find it as I looked to quote exactly, but in a nut shell, sh (and I) are anti-hate, anti-bullying, and I am simply anti-ANTI. I do believe that heterosexual marriage is ordained by God. I also recognize that some people have a different orientation that is simply part of who they are, and I am grateful that is not part of my lot in life (I really love being attracted to my husband!). But I fully realize that those are MY views and have NO problem with anyone who views things differently from me. What does bug me, and I am anti-about, is that because I openly share my sexual orientation, some people call me anti-GLBT. That is like me telling one of my favorite people from high school that he is anti-heterosexual because he celebrated his marriage to his husband last year. I would never say that about him because I know he is my friend because of who I am and the things we have in common, not because I am or am not of the same gender orientation he is. That is simply ridiculous. I know that ever touching on subjects can be asking for people to have beef with me, but I honestly only went there to applaud Chick Fil-A for trying to continue to show respect even though so many have been so….(trying to think of a good word for it)….bratty. I love to see someone manage to show respect while working through differences.

      JL – I am sure you are right, we could talk about some of those subjects that we are on opposite sides of the fence on and we would both walk away without a change in our views, but from what I have known of you, I think we could do it without getting bratty. I love that and appreciate the view from your side of the fence that I get by knowing you on Google+. Thank you for taking the time to drop over to my blog and share your thoughts. Plus I appreciate the laugh I got with your great mental image and when I read your thoughts on politics (by the way, we are on the same side of that fence at the moment apparently). Thanks JL!

  2. JL Says:

    You’re welcome and thanks for clarifying this for me, since I just read the one most recent article.

    I’ve got to tell you, even as someone not interested in throwing Molotov cocktails at every possible issue, that was pretty incendiary stuff the CEO was quoted as saying.

    1. [We support] “the biblical definition of the family unit”.
    2. “We are married to our first wives.”

    When you throw down the gauntlet people ARE going to react. And they have.

    It’s a fast-food chicken drive-through for god’s sake. And the fundamentalist church aspect has come into public view.

    And then quickly turning it around by claiming tolerance for all comes across as a quickly considered best marketing move. It’s simply an attempt to avert a disaster in their business.

    Their stance is clear. They’re pro traditional-family-units. Does that mean they’re intolerant of non-traditional families? Uh, I dunno. I would guess Yes as everyone I’ve ever met who states pro-traditional family views and quotes the Christian bible in the same sentence is clearly and vocally anti-gay and anti-anything else that doesn’t fit their view of the ‘norm’. This can run the gamut from people who would kill you on the spot to people who claim to be somewhat ‘tolerant’.

    ‘Tolerant’, although it’s supposed to be seen as a ‘good’ thing nowadays, to me infers a gritting of the teeth, “You’re a sinner, we both know it, but my Church tells me to be tolerant so I’ll tolerate your sin(s). See what a good Christian I’m being.”

    In saying, “I do believe that heterosexual marriage is ordained by God,” you’re putting yourself in a superior position by claiming to be on the right side of God. That puts anyone else on the wrong side automatically. You say you’re on both sides of this equally but I don’t see how. I don’t believe you are anyway as you followed by saying, “I am grateful that is not part of my lot in life”. I’m challenging you to REALLY look at the judgments you’re making because your thinking on this is not consistent.

    I think where we need to get to is a humility sincere enough to simply say in regards to other people’s lives, “I don’t know what’s right for them. Let it be.” And really mean it. But until we give up our treasured minds and their constant nattering, that ain’t gonna happen.

    • JL – sorry to be slow in responding. Somehow I missed your comment. I don’t check my blog often for comments as it’s supposed to notify me. Ah, but if only it worked how I thought it would. Now I’ve left you hanging there, with no response at all. Sorry ’bout that.

      I can totally see what you are saying about the idea of putting myself as superior because of my belief about God’s view of marriage between a husband and wife being ordained by him. But I would like to explain my thoughts a bit more for you, because I truly don’t see myself as a better person because I am in a heterosexual marriage than whoever-my-meighbor-is-that-has-any-other-lifestyle-than-me (no – I don’t have any specific neighbor in mind, it was just the most generic, random, unnamed, unknown, person idea I could come up with this late at night). I do feel like in some ways my life might be better (for me) than someone else’s life would be. There are hard things that are part of my life – my “lot in life” – or whatever anyone would call it. Everyone has their own bag of hard stuff to deal with. Would I choose to have homosexual feelings? No. Not that it is generally a “choice” to have them or not – that is not what I am suggesting. I just wouldn’t choose to trade one of my issues for that issue. This whole Chick Fil-A junk is just another reminder as to why. It’s a pain. There are lots of people out there that are totally homophobic or just plain ridiculous with negativity and rudeness towards people who carry that burden in their bag. For some, that issue is not a heavy one to bear, but for others it can be downright weighty on their lives. So, no, I wouldn’t trade to get that as part of my lot to carry.

      Plus, because I do believe that God has ordained marriage between man and woman, I don’t know how I would deal with that conviction if I had a different sexual orientation than I do. I have thought about it and wondered what I would do if those tables were turned in my life. Honestly, since they are not turned, I don’t know what I would do. I have no doubt that finding the balance between my convictions and those strong feelings and desires would be monumentally hard. I read an article by a man that I have never met, but have come to respect very much, that shared how he dealt with that very situation. He has found his balance and he is happy and fulfilled in his life. (I wish I could remember the website and I would post it – he expressed everything so beautifully.) I doubt he would want to trade me for my bag of issues any more than I would want to trade for his. (I have found that to be true about anyone else’s burdens – they may look easier to bear that my own. That is, until I get to know the person better and find out all the baggage that comes with each of their burdens. Then I am happy to just keep carrying my own.)

      I know that there are people who do not believe what I do about God’s view of marriage, and I am OK with that. I can’t really place myself in those shoes, because that belief is tied to so many other convictions that are so central to my core. I won’t get into all of that here – talk about too much to write, when I am already being long winded late at night! I think if I could fully adjust my brain in a way to remove all of those convictions, I would have no issue with whatever sexual relationship people decided to get involved with. But, for me, sex outside of marriage is a “no-no” and that goes for both the heterosexual and homosexual versions of it. Again, that belief is directly tied to my personal and religious convictions and that is something which is un-likely to make a difference in changing someone else’s view on it. Not any more than someone else is likely to change my views on it.

      The catch with this issue, and perhaps it is all part of the same thing in some ways, is that I am a super over-the-top exception thinker about a lot of things. Honestly I drive many people right out of their gourds (particular college professors come to mind right now and I sit with a grin on my face for the pain-in-the-neck I could be sometimes when I saw and exception they would rather ignore). I have thought about all the “what if” exceptions that I can conceive that might somehow help flip my thoughts on this matter. But, every time I do, I am left face-to-face with another one of my beliefs about sex. One of the main purposes for sexuality is procreation. Simply put, without human intervention – in very direct ways – that cannot happen outside of heterosexual relationships. I recognize that having children does not always happen (with or without human intervention) in every heterosexual relationship. However, in heterosexual relationships it is generally because the people choose to intervene to stop it or because one or the other partner (or sometimes both) have something that does not work right with their bodies. Another exception. But no matter how you slice it, dice it, or lay it out for understanding, homosexual intimacy does not, naturally, on its own produce offspring. For some people that may be a perk – like the heterosexual couples that choose to keep kids from coming. I think it comes down to this, I believe that God is a God of order. I believe he created the plants in a way that they could continue to replenish themselves, animals as well. I see amazing examples of powerful organization in all of His creations – of all kinds (some I am not such a fan of, like mosquitoes and whatever that pesky weed is that is trying to overtake my entire garden). I just can’t manage to convince my brain that he created our bodies in the way that He did and meant for us to switch things up in that way. Again, I fully admit that this is simply something that I don’t understand, but not something that I can’t imagine someone else understanding with a completely different perspective than me.

      If there is a homosexual out there that is at peace (and I mean genuine personal peace – the fake stuff leaves a bitter taste) in the life they are living, then I can be happy for them in the peaceful life that they are living. If there is a homosexual out there that shares a similar view as I do, then I truly feel bad for them. Not because they have those feelings, but because inner-conflicts-of-interest are brutal. I would not wish that kind of inner-conflict on anyone. Not on this issue or any other issue either. I have met and know people that fit both of those categories – or at least in my close interactions with them I would guess which of those groups they fall in. (Yeah, I know that kind of assumptions can be super dangerous, but this is simply said for example’s sake here.) Can I love them both? Yes. Honestly? Yes. But, is it easier to watch one live their life than the other? Yes. It is always hard to watch someone living a life that they are not happy in, especially if you care about them. I have had to watch that with many friends and family, with many different causes for their lack of peaceful hearts. My heart aches for those that have fractious parts of their soul carrying on a war sounding something like, “I know X is what I want or know is right, but Y is what I have, and I may or may not have any choice in the matter at all.” There are things like that in my own life from time to time. I want to be a better mom. I know I should be a better mom. My kids deserve a better mom more often than I like. But somehow I still get more frustrated than I wish and sometimes even anger creeps in. Today was actually one of those days for me (which is why the example came to mind). A day where I realized that I was living a hypocritical life in that area. I know what my heart tells me is right, but it is not what I was living this morning when I let little things fully get under my skin. It was a painful experience and I only feel true peace when I reach a point of harmony between my actions and what I believe is right. I am working on getting there, but do not delude myself into thinking there are magic fixes for that – or most challenges in life.

      So I guess that what I am saying is, I agree with you. I don’t know everyone’s situation. I don’t know where someone’s heart is. I want for people to be genuinely happy. I only shared my religious belief and mental work through of this issue to say, in essence, “I can’t imagine ever living homosexually because it goes against who I am inside.” I honestly want to be able to say I love everyone, but I am not sure I am there yet, though I am trying to get there someday. Right now, what I can say is that I hold no angst towards anyone based on their sexual orientation, but would hope that people of a different mindset can honestly try (as much as they are able, which is never a complete thing – like I mentioned before) to respect my perspective as coming from where I am coming from. I am not anti-gay – except for in my life (because it is not who I am, so it would be a hypocritical lie for me). I guess you could say I am just somewhat anti-hypocrisy. Now, being an admitted hypocrite from time to time, and on various matters, being anti-hypocrisy does not mean that those who are hypocrites are any less deserving of my love. (Although that may be somewhat hypocritical in itself to say, because I have a harder time loving myself when I am being hypocritical about something in my own life. Fortunately it does not work that way in my thoughts towards others, just towards myself.) I really only have a problem when someone is living a hypocritical life in some way and then gets mad at others for either living the way they think they should or living the way they are. But, really that bugs me even if the person getting grouchy about how someone else is living their life is hypocritical in that area or not. I just like for people to play nice and be respectful. Doesn’t matter who started it, doesn’t matter who’s right or wrong, just matters who’s doing the right thing by being respectful to the other person right now. And I know that who started it and who is right or not does matter in some ways, but not nearly as much as how someone reacts to it. Mud gets thrown, it’s how you deal with it that matters the most in the long run.

      By the way, thank you so much for your thoughts and comments. I am glad you pointed out the problems in the way I talked about some things and hope that in responding, I have helped create better understanding. I guess that is why I sort of feel more sympathy for the dumb things the guy from Chick Fil-A said (which I have no real way to determine what he truly, personally, internally meant by them). I often stick my foot so deep in my mouth that I wonder if they will have to have the fire department bring the jaws of life out to try to extract it. I often mean something to come out like….. but end up sounding more like.>/:.,< or so. OK – I realized as I read that last sentence that I am way to tired to be making any sense anymore, but I hope some of what I wrote will make at least marginal sense. Good night. 🙂

      • JL Says:

        Wow, that was quite an answer. I hear that your heart is in the ‘right’ place.

        The ‘problem’ as I see it is simply this: People who think their heterosexual marriages give them a special place in the eyes of God is the sacred cow that drives non-heterosexual people craaaaazy. Some can laugh and roll their eyes at it. For others, it can be downright dangerous with the mentality that abounds. Just sayin’. I don’t expect y’all to give it up any time soon, but as a person who would prefer to live in a world where respect and absolute equality prevail I can hope, can’t I?

        Who’s got dibs on God has perpetrated all the wars on Earth since practically the beginning of time. Can we wake up?

        The God/He thing presupposes that God is a man that sits up above and ordains things. It’s a little (well, a lot) bizarre in my view. What a lot of people call ‘God’ came through a group of priests who decided the best way to terrorize the general population into being controlled by their choice of ‘beliefs’ and boy, has it ever worked. People are mesmerized up the yin-yang.

        You’re right. There are gay people who struggle with their religious training, because that’s what it is. Not ‘truth’, just training. And it’s rude that people have to struggle so hard, but such is life. We’ve all got a version of struggling, as you say.

  3. JL – I couldn’t make this thing reply directly to you. One of these days I’m gonna take the time to figure out how to work my own blog! Anyway… Yeah – sorry about how long that response ended up. The more tired I get, the more I ramble. I think it’s some kind of disease (or at least I claim it is, to ease my recognition of my denial – LOL).

    Your response was interesting to me. It was SO interesting to catch the view of such a completely foreign place from me. I can’t imagine (way more than I can’t imagine having homosexual desires) seeing God in that light. But, like so many things in life, I have no way to “prove” my beliefs are “truth” any more than anyone (though many have tried) can “prove” that they are mere “training.”

    You know that phrase, “One man’s junk is another man’s treasure?” This feels similar to me somehow. There is no doubt in my mind, heart, or soul that what I believe is true. Yet, just as surely as I know it, I know that I cannot (and would never want to try to) force someone else to believe as I do. I did try that once, when I was MUCH younger, and a good bit more stupid. I wanted so badly for another girl to change her opinions of my religion that I did a good bit of “Bible bashing” or attempting to “prove” things by throwing scriptures around like a lawyer in court throws around laws and statutes. All it did was leave a bitter taste in both of our mouths. It was then that I realized how much my faith had to be developed over time, through much study, with exercising that faith, and based on lots of prayer. That is not something that just happens because I point out a scripture or two that would lend itself to interpretation that supports my beliefs.

    You say that my thoughts about God’s view of marriage are not a truth, I say it is a truth that I can’t prove to you or anyone else. However, I don’t see that giving me any kind of special treatment in God’s eyes. I know that my faith is a blessing that sustains me when the challenges of life become more than my feeble knees can bear on my own, but it does not make me any more important to a loving God than any of His other children. In that sense, we do have true equality.

    As far as absolute respect. I hope for that too. I am not there absolutely yet, but hope that I am getting closer day-by-day. However, absolute respect does not equate with absolute acceptance of every belief of everyone else on the planet. Other than in our status as children of God, there is no such thing as true equality. There never can be. That is because we are all different. Some are amazing swimmers (thinking Olympics at the moment), some are incredible business leaders, some have astoundingly massive abilities to love, and some are far more gentle than I will likely ever be. We are not equal, but we can all strive to be our best, to be true to who we are, and to love each other because of our similarities and because of our differences. I can open my heart to someone that is different than me, respect them, and apply the golden rule in my actions toward them, without adopting their same world views – even if they are in conflict with my own. If we all treated each other like that – not with some sense of equality that cannot exist unless we were to all become exactly the same somehow – then I think those wars you spoke of would have never been fought. The catch comes when people try to force their own views on those who see things differently. Then sometimes it leads to two girls in the school hallway with a bitter taste in their mouths or vicious bloodshed via a religious genocide. I’d rather stick with doing the best we can to treat others with respect. I hope for and even expect the same from others. That will not always happen, which just gives an opportunity to continue to show respect in spite of it.

    • JL Says:

      What I meant by ‘equality’ is equally viewed as spiritual beings in the eyes of God, which is the same as what you’re saying, I think. I did not mean equal in abilities, which will never happen.

      The sticking point remains the same and I’ve heard it a million times. There are people who believe what they hear at the pulpit every Sunday and every day in between. And there are people who see what you call ‘truth’ as an obscene twist on history.

      As you probably know, there was a time when women were sold like cattle. (I think still are in some countries.) And it made a pretty good economic arrangement for the boys, so the boys got together and compiled a book called The Bible leaving out a whole bunch of other stuff that didn’t fit their view, and threw in a few complementary beliefs like gay people are evil, (because they couldn’t be controlled to fit the society they decided is the good one) and they terrorized those people by setting up the ‘good’ guys against them. And they did this by setting the priests up in the middle as a go-between so people couldn’t get to God by themselves. They had to ask the priests what ‘truth’ is. Ya-da, ya-da. The short version thrown together late at night.

      So here we are a few thousand years later walking around in a fog, with the ‘true believers’ beating up on the ones who apparently just can’t follow the leader for some reason. Well, maybe because they can actually see the Light.

      Your viewpoint works for you and that’s what makes it work. If there was any slight thing that came into your side mirror to confuse it, you’d be in trouble because you’ve got it down pat. And I’m good with that if you are, but there’s a whole bunch of people walking around for whom it ain’t so simple and a little education could give them some relief. I don’t think education is something you’re looking for because you think you’ve already got it.

      • That was a great “sum up” and the “ya-da, ya-da” just made me giggle. I can readily agree with your sum up. However, my faith is not based exclusively on that. I believe that many of those things that were set up in ‘them thar days’ are twists on what is truth. I believe in personal revelation between God and man – in this day and age, not just in the days of ancient prophets. It is not because of some group of men that I believe as I do, but because I have received a witness to my faith many times in direct and personal ways. (And no, I am not claiming to have seen God in person myself, but the power of the Holy Spirit is incredibly real and something I have experienced for myself.) By saying what I just did, I know that will likely alienate some of my other Christian friends, whose views of Christianity are divergent from mine, but that is OK. I still think they are great people even though they believe differently than me and may even be offended or scandalized by my beliefs.

        I know that my saying anything will not likely change your opinion, but you make religion sound like something that we can only believe because we were taught it by some church-ly big-wigs. It goes far beyond that for me, as well as for many other Christians from many other religions. It is not simply something we were taught to trust, but we have felt the power of the Holy Spirit in our own lives, at the very depths of our souls. Not every religious person (of any creed) has had that experience, but I happen to be one who has. And no amount of “education” (which I have had a good dose of – philosophy being a favorite subject, which this discussion has reminded me of) will ever displace that faith. If anything, the more I learn about essentially every subject I have studied, the more I see re-confirmations of what I already know to be true. What you say about those “for whom it ain’t so simple” is likely true. However, sometimes that “education” comes from a professor in a classroom, from a stranger on a social media site, or sometimes from a different Source on their knees.

        I love God and want to do my best to be like him and to follow the example of Jesus as I try to love everyone. I have no doubt that Jesus would love – with a fully open heart – anyone with same gender attractions or whatever else anyone has in their lives that makes them different from anyone else. I just read the story of the sinner woman that washed Jesus’ feet and a man got upset with him for letting a sinner touch him. All He did was point out the kindness she had shown to him and openly and fully forgive whatever sins she was guilty of. (We all have our own share of sins, so this felt very poignant to me – I can only imagine how amazing and freeing that experience was for her!) I can’t even remotely imagine Jesus involved in any form of hate speech. He threw the money changers out of the temple and rebuked them for the wrong things they were doing, but I have no doubt that if any of them used that experience as a learning opportunity and made changes in their lives and hearts, that He would have welcomed them with outstretched arms. I am not always as good at loving and opening my heart as He was, but it truly is my goal. I may get frustrated with things that I feel are wrong, but I pray that I can always remember to genuinely separate the wrong choice from the individual and always keep respect and love at the center when thinking of the person. Sometimes it is hard to make that separation when the actions of a person all seem filled with evil intent (sorry, a disturbing news article from earlier today offered one of those moments for me today), but I just try to remember that it is not my place to judge. I am so grateful to not have to be the one to judge and I have complete trust in the Judge. He has perfect justice and perfect mercy and eternal understanding.

        OK – just realized I fully turned on my serious switch there, but this is what makes me who I am. I am sure you were not asking for that response, but it is was important for me to share, even if it is not important for you to read. I have so enjoyed our discussion, by the way. Your thoughtfully constructed comments were delightfully well articulated and as respectful as I could ever ask for – especially when we are coming from such different places! This is why I love to read what you share on Google+, even though we are so different from each other. I love it!

      • JL Says:

        I’m glad you finally got to mentioning the essence, the Holy Spirit as you call it.

        As you have experienced, sounds like, beliefs and direct knowing are not the same thing.

        Although I suspect I’m still beating a drum you can’t hear yet, beliefs aren’t worth even a dime a dozen. Everyone’s got ’em by the truckload. They’re just a lot of noise that go around and around in our minds, oftentimes attached to our emotions. None of them are any more ‘true’ than any other. Except in a general sense I would describe as ‘if you open a closet door the light will fill the darkness, but it doesn’t work the other way around.’

        Minds are machines and they will, at any provocation, and without regard for anything worthwhile, go to war with other minds. Or agree happily with other minds or whatever.

        Your beliefs, to which you appear extremely involved and attached, are in a self-perpetuating loop that works for you. As a happily married heterosexual woman this is re-enforced to you as the ‘godly’ thing to be by your choice of church and by your choice of the books you read. You may stay in that comfortable cul-de-sac for your entire life. Or, you might not.

        Jesus has had quite a bad rap in my opinion. It seems to me he was interested more in the direct experience of the Holy Spirit than ‘beliefs’. And people have him all tied up with other meanings which is a whole other chapter to this. If I was him, I’d be glad I was dead and gone onto other places.

  4. JL Sorry it has taken me so long to get back to my blog to respond. A girls retreat is a wonderful thing, but playing catch-up after is not super speedy all the time. (Also, please pardon my use of capitals tonight. I can’t underline, italicize, or bold in the comment field, so I used what I could figure out – no hollering intended, LOL.)

    I think you are right about Jesus being more interested in a direct experience. He seemed to always be reaching to individuals, not to the whole – as a whole. I am sorry, it seems that I was using the word beliefs in a confusing way (another issue with only blogging in the wee hours of the night). When I was using that word, I meant it as a bundling word. A word that could hold all the personal and sacred experiences in my life – that have formulated what I have burning in my soul. What is true. It is not a blind belief or lemming-style following of a particular cannon of “beliefs.” It is a tried and tested understanding of truths that I have received personal witnesses of.

    I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (a Mormon). As such, I am familiar with the Book of Mormon (it is one thing that I have had a personal and direct experience with its truthfulness for myself). I want to share one of the last verses in that text with you. It comes in the section (or book) called Moroni, chapter 10, verse 5. It reads, “And by the power of the Holy Ghost ye may know the truth of all things.” I know that to be true, because I have gone to God in prayer many times and received a very personal answer from Him, through the Holy Ghost (or as you call it, “the essence”), about the things I have gone to Him to understand. Sometimes those experiences are more direct than at other times. Sometimes they are immediate and sometimes only come after much study followed by prayer. In all reality, it is how I live my entire life – by seeking His direct guidance for me.

    If you see me in a self-perpetuating cul-de-sac, that is OK with me. I look outside of my comfort zone and seek for truth wherever I can find it. I do believe in truth though, there are some things that are and some things that are not true. And while the stereotypical scientific test does not always garner accurate results for every type of question, the method described in the scriptures surrounding the one I quoted have solid results that I will trust every time. (That method is a process which includes study, faith in Christ, a sincere heart, real intent, and prayer.)

    I am sure that to many, my trust, faith, testimony, or whatever else you want to call it, may seem childish, uneducated, or wishful thinking. But I know that because of my personal and direct experiences with God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, I cannot discount what I KNOW to be mere BELIEF or UPBRINGING . It is so much more. It is who I am, it is the very core and essence of me.

    • JL Says:

      Well, hi, Katie. I thought we’d run the course here. But carrying on …

      Ok, what can I say? The ‘essence’ was my attempt to generalize a word that one might understand without it being church-specific. Because church-specific seems to be where the problems lie.

      What I meant by Jesus being more interested in direct experience was that he was more interested in his personal connection to Divine Spirit rather than carting around a list of beliefs.

      I don’t personally “do” ‘God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost’. It’s not my understanding at all. I do understand it’s church-specific, and Christian-specific, but it’s not my life.

      I was raised in it a very long time ago so it’s still somewhat familiar to me. By the time I was twelve I had questions that couldn’t be answered by my church and personal experiences that my church would not have understood had I talked about them.

      I’m not particularly interested in the wheels of our minds except as an observer of ideas that get passed down generation after generation, and only in order to have some understanding of the society in which I live. Which basically means being able to circumvent useless arguments.

      • JL, I just realized that I never thanked you for your discussion with me here on my blog. Let’s keep it simple and say that life gets insane sometimes! But I do so appreciate how courteous a conversation we were able to have about something that we are so dissimilar about in many ways. THAT is why I brought the conversation here to my blog. It is not my norm to enter into anything that is “if-y” on my blog, due to the particular audience of my blog, but this was so fun for me. Thanks for following me here from Google+, it really made me think as we discussed things back and forth. I love when things make me think!

      • JL Says:

        You’re welcome, Katie’s Blog-Ness.


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