This is quick, apologies for my haste - but much more so for causing the uproar. I have no idea when I'll get to the other thread. I am
glad I posted a response, though admittedly, the business about demonspawn might have been over the top. To have toned that part down, might have been helpful, but let me assure you, that was how I have felt on MANY occasions
- even here at CR, at times, yet you've never seen me say such things directly TO someone.
Still, to post that response, on whatever thread it was, certainly took things a bit far (I cringe at the prospect of what I must shortly read, but then, it's my doing, and I will face the music
). So again, please forgive a lack of good judgment, and know that what bothered me most was the prospect that I might be stalling that discussion. Did I feel somewhat put off by leastone's post? You're darn right I did. But there's no excusing that kind of response, and I've learned a great deal in the past couple of hours. Because this served to bring things to Light, in a positive way, I think my post managed to serve a useful purpose ... but that has everything to do with the character and the motive of the people posting on the Liberal Christianity forums. And it in no way justifies a bit of disprespect that I showed.
But I then realize that from his perspective he has every right to feel that way.
Maybe, but not to post as I did ...
But I do commend you, taij, for being civil about it your handling extreme fundys, though you definitely did not show it in your post.
I believe you experienced my true feelings for some
of the fundie types - and certainly not all, I will add - but thank you very much, Dondi, for pausing, reflecting, and cooling down before
you responded ... and thus for helping to move things forward, rather than detracting.
Ahhhh ... and you see, this
Instead, I hope to share some ideas about how fundamentalists view witnessing as a tool to reach the "lost"
is precisely the kind of thing I think we need to work through. Wil, I am with you, and everyone, in this - I hope. Yes, I understand that this can be a person's perception, and yes, I realize the proselytism is often done out of the best of intentions
(see my response to Ruby, below), but I'm sorry, this is patently offensive to me
. For the same reasons Ruby jumped on me in another thread - and rightly so - I must object.
YOU (not you, Dondi, I mean the fundie person who is missionizing to me
) are going out of your way to bring Christ to ME ... because you perceive me - for whatever reason - as being "without."
Oh, the word you used, Dondi, is "lost." You know what, in some cases (certainly these kids at the college), I think I know who was lost
and who wasn't, okay?
I mean, yes, I realize there is a great passion, a zeal, an enthusiasm, but what folks like this sometimes don't understand or simply refuse to acknowledge
... is that not everyone WANTS to come to their church, stand up and babble on in front of everybody things that frankly, I think
belong in private conversation with one's intimates, and scream on & on about getting washed in the blood of Jesus. You dig?
This comes down to best of intentions
, but let's live and let live - and YOU go to your church, I'LL go to mine (or into my "closet" to pray, meaning, of course, the hidden chamber of the heart
, the Sacred Space in every human being
where the Living, Loving G-d DWELLS
). Can you see how essentially opposite
these two forms of worship are? And so, again, meaning well
, you (you fundie, whoever, no one
specifically) would come WITNESS to me, but brother, let me tell you, I'm witnessing too
, and I don't like what I'm witnessing. Honestly, it makes me cringe, but in my better moments of composure, yes, I can even take on a whole crowd of such folks ... and I'll point out something:
Even in a great, writhing sea of emotion, where the people are undisciplined, and perhaps even where chaos reigns - as on a boat with a dozen men - it only takes one with a calm and a level head, to calm the rest. We have that expression, don't rock the boat. But again, it only takes one.
Interestingly, the reverse can be true. Where there is order, and balance, with harmony and reason prevailing ... it only takes one to make waves, to rock the boat, and more often than not, to capsize the damn thing and sink it.
Thank you, everyone
, for making sure that the latter did not happen. I might not have been the only one out of line, but I sure as hell wasn't the guy in the first example.
There has to be a degree of respect when sharing. Even in debate.
Anything less, doesn't belong at CR.
Is it so twisted to show people how much God loves them by sending His Son to save them from their sins?
Nope, but if you want to show me, show me, don't TELL me
And by the way, as a Liberal Christian, remember, my take on this "saving me from my sins" business, is a good bit different than what Luther said, or Calvin, or Hobbes, or ... wait, you know what I mean.
Bottom line, yes, I need to practice patience, and I need to learn to smile (see below) and nod, and just say, thank you kindly
. Perhaps both here, as in the physical world, I will do best - if pushed - to just get up and walk away. I have had to do that. And, done calmly, it is a powerful way of teaching ... (done, remember, because I get sick of hearing the stuff, over, and over, and over) ...
For the fundy not to proselytize it means loss of his salvation.
But for me not to get up and walk away, sometimes, can mean the loss of my cool
, or in the very least, the loss of a productive afternoon. I am always more than willing to pocket the little pamphlets, and I have a feeling that some here might be surprised if they could see
how friendly I usually am with anyone
who walks up and starts that kind of stuff. Why? Because I DO realize their motivation, and I do have some understanding of their beliefs. More so, I have experienced
probably a great deal of what most folks mean, when they talk about, "The love of God, the love of Christ, the love of Jesus, the feeling of being saved, the STATE of being saved, the Grace of God,"
and a dozen or more other such things - many having to do with the power of the Holy Spirit, and Pentecost, and all that jazz.
Now it's interesting, Ruby, because you were saying elsewhere, that I do not know you
, and that thus, there is only a certain degree
to which I can say a thing like, "We all lack a perfect relationship with God," or "We are all striving toward perfection." Let me not generalize, but let me at least suggest that the Love of God
which people discuss in about a thousand different ways (sic!
) ... is not really a thousand different things. It is One. And I like to believe that we have all
experienced it, and probably do, every so often, if not quite often
. There, I will acknowledge, yes - I don't know much about your own, personal relationship with God. But I don't need to, and frankly, unless you feel like sharing, I don't want to!
Maybe that last part's not quite true, in your case Ruby, and as it happens, I actually do
want to hear more, and know more, from most everyone here at CR - including, from time to time, someone who might have a new spin
on the fundamentalist stance and proselytism that I am otherwise
pretty darn well familiar with.
But from past experience, talking with folks ranging from the most fanatic of the fundies
, to the most level-headed and down-to-earth of the Mormons (I like them, I relate), to the very well-intentioned, if narrow-minded
Jehovah's Witnesses, I know enough ... to try to AVOID AT ALL COSTS letting them into my house, but folks, 99% of the time something else just manages to hold sway, and we end up chatting, and fruitless as I feel things have been ... I do at least know
, that I've done them
a service, because I've allowed them to share something with me. And that's not something I need. Companionship maybe? Hmmm, and how far is that
from the Love that God wishes to share with us. ahhhh - ha
Now I'm losing myself (good), but I'm getting confused. let's see ...
So how do we handle it? To me unconditional love, love thy neighbor, all implies I surely have no need to jump off the handle and down their throat...especially after all of us have been there...and some of us may be going back!
The question again is this thing exists....be it proseleltyzing or what we perceive as uncaring individuals or hate groups...how do we move forward without promoting negative behaviour or acting like the pharisees?
Here is how my close friend during college handled it. Steve was a devout and pious Catholic, and I always looked up to him, and felt that he embodied very much the Love of Christ
which we are all here to come to know and to share with others. Steve was quite open and friendly, when he was with people who can be likewise
. He could sometimes be slightly withdrawn, but only where he knew instinctively that it was better to let other people do the ego dance
. Steve had no interest in that.
And Steve and I had many an interesting conversation, as one, somewhat zealous esotericist to a rather more mature, well-balanced Catholic. So naturally, we sometimes disagreed, but seldom
with any hard feelings or air of self-righteousness and superiority. That was just dumb.
Let me tell you what Steve did, on such days as when the Fundies set up their tables and did their accosting. Steve, who was very
non-confrontational, and who really couldn't stand
what these folks were all about (since he felt it was quite out of line with what Christ intended) ... would simple put his head down, and being quite perceptive in those days, I could feel him essentially pull in, or tuck in (withdraw) his aura, and dodge them
. He was good at it, because I think his goal was to behave exactly as Christ would, and it almost reminds me of the scene before Pilate.
After all, what
were these folks doing, if not JUDGING? And however well intentioned, that kind of proselytism and active engagement of passersby is just RUDE. It is to make assumptions, and to manifest something most unhealthy
... both spiritually and religiously speaking. For, in Steve's case, they had LIFETIMES
of catching up to do, before they might hope to understand the "Christ in him." And as for myself, at that time
, I tended to think likewise!
But anyway, Steve was a role model to me, because if I happened to be walking with him, I could usually get past those folks without incident, but if I was alone, the wolves would descend ... and the chink in the armor was soon exploited
Okay, that's the extreme, but there's something I gathered from Steve besides just how to deal with extreme cases
. He was polite and respectful, he was never
presumptuous or self-righteous (certainly not often), and he always
tried to make bridges, and find the commonalities in what was being said. And this is a Catholic
, and one who was VERY much a conservative, though also a reasonable, reasoning, and level-headed one. I suppose only an esotericist will understand that he was a Baptized
Catholic (in the truest sense), but that had everything
to do with his approach.
There are folks here who often remind me of Steve, and others like him, for their openness, their tolerance, their inclusivity and inclusiveness of approach
, and also their strong reasoning powers and ability to discern truth, when it is present. Steve knew
what he believed, and his faith was strong, but he certainly
didn't go out of his way to knock others around with it. That just didn't occur to him. And so he was as gentle as St. Francis, if also as strong - both inwardly and outwardly - as a Titan. He remains, as a spiritual presence to me, as the ideal Christian
being a Catholic. lol
I couldn't resist this last part, but please understand I'm being entirely
tongue in cheek)
Does it make sense then, if I say, that if we could all just be more like Steve
... then things would be fine? And that's helpful not
just in dealing with over-zealousness, it helps when a post like mine, on that other thread, comes up.
After all, whom does my account of Steve here, best serve? But perhaps it will reach others, as well ...
Namaste, Namaskar ... In Love & Light,