It’s Word of Wisdom Sunday again and I’m sure this series is tickling my mother to no end. She’s laughing to herself and saying, “I bet she wishes she’d listened closer to me, now.” And she’d be right; I wish I had. Even as she was dying I wish I’d listened more.
So here’s today’s morsel of truth from my mom:
“You were not raised in a barn: act like a civilized human being.”
These were not gently uttered words like, “Don’t get a hickey, honey, it’ll give you a blood clot to the brain.” If you were being told to act like a civilized human being then you knew that you were about to die a horrible death, your body never to be found.
We have a dear pastor friend and his wonderful children visiting us for a few days from San Diego. We love this man and his family to pieces and we’re so glad they’ve come to see us. But there’s no doubt that I’ve changed a little bit since the last time we saw each other, which was back before the red bra. I do not think he completely approves of me right now, in fact, I know he doesn’t approve.
I get why he’s dismayed. He’s sort of like my pastor and I’m sure he’s concerned about me since, despite the fact that I’ve held onto my delicate and tender faith, I’m not going to Church right now and I have no intention of returning any time soon. I see no point. My particular spiritual gift of being able to discern shit from Shinola® has generally been underappreciated in church.
To be absolutely fair, this particular gift is not appreciated by anyone outside the church either. We all like to shine up our shit and try to pass it off as Shinola®, even me. No, make that, especially me. But, without knowing the whole story, those who would like for me to just be a good little girl and do what I’m told can’t possibly understand that my refusal to do what I’m told is what has saved my sanity.
It isn’t like my pastor friend isn’t sympathetic to my plight. He, knowing both my gifts and my gender pretty well, said it so succinctly the other night at our dinner table, “Your problem is that you have a vagina”.
I guess one interpretation of St. Paul’s teachings is that those of us with innies are supposed to shut the heck up and go along with any hare-brained, statistically-proven-to-fail-over-and-over-again, scheme that the owners of the outies come up with. And I’ve decided that this is a deal-breaker for me, and until those of us with vaginas start getting treated as worth more in God’s Kingdom than vassals and vessels, I’m not sure I’ll ever go back. There. I said it.
Because my friend loves me and is concerned for me, he kindly laid some Hebrews 10:25 on me and I graciously smiled at him, because that’s what civilized people do: they listen to one another, assume the best of each other, and know when to agree to disagree.
I love my friend. Like many Christians who see their own life’s call as the only call, he has a life goal to raise enough money and martyrs to see all the unreached people groups receive the gospel in our lifetime so that Jesus will come back. It is a lofty goal, but for him it isn’t some delirious pipe dream; he actually knows real people in high places and has a shot of making it happen (the raising of the money and missionaries part; I have no idea about the getting Jesus to come back part). I hope he lives long enough to see his dream come true, because that’s what friends do–they hope the best for their friends and they wish them success in life.
And while he’s been sharing with us his big plans to get Jesus to come back, I have been trying to explain my little blog project to him. I don’t think he quite understands its point, which isn’t his fault at all. I don’t understand its point. But he has tried to be supportive anyway. He’s even offered me some helpful ideas, although I told him that I didn’t think his concept for “Missionary Monday” was going to work very well on my blog because I already have a working theme for Mondays.
But he loves me anyway, and I’m sure he’ll be praying. And I do appreciate it. Women brazen enough to write about their vaginas and God’s Kingdom in the same sentence need all the prayers they can get.
One of our old friends has taken some public Facebook umbrage at how they perceive we are living these days. I’m sure they are really just concerned for our well-being, but the way they are showing it really doesn’t feel like love–it feels a lot more like public judgment and condemnation. It hurts. (For those who are worried, we would like to report that our San Diego guests have found us happy and healthy, gainfully employed, and not at all wallowing in a squalid doublewide, our heads lolling about in our own vomit. Feel free to ask them yourself when they return to San Diego.)
What does any of this have to do with my mom? It makes me want to say to people on Facebook, “Hey, you were not raised in a barn, start acting like civilized human beings over here.”
One thing I don’t ever do is go over to Facebook and spout off about my political beliefs as though they were God’s own, or say nasty things about people or their children. Do you know why? Because that wouldn’t be civilized and my mother considered good manners to be one of the most important things a civilized person could possess. I imagine she came to feel this way because good manners was the one thing a poor girl from the Projects thought was accessible to her.
And now that I’ve built up a good head of anti-Facebook rant, let me be very clear.
I don’t care if Obama is the anti-Christ. He either is or he isn’t and a bazillion dire warnings on my Facebook feed that I’m too stupid to recognize the anti-Christ when Fox News tells me to see one isn’t going to ward off the anti-Christ. And, btw, just a quick note. Obama, if you are the anti-Christ, you’d better get crackalakin. With Mitt Romney, the Mormon anti-Christ, coming after you, I just don’t know if the world can take Cage-Match: Anti-Christ vs Anti-Christ, US Election Edition. Either way, I’m pretty sure my Facebook feed can’t take dueling anti-Christs.
Personally, my dearest friends, I don’t really care if you love Fox News and worship at the altar of (that idiot) Glenn Beck. What I’d like my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to do is to start acting like civilized human beings on Facebook. Stop dragging my faith through your squalid political mud. Didn’t your mother ever tell you not to talk about politics and religion in polite company? Why isn’t Facebook considered “polite company”?
I don’t mind if you tell the entire world how much you love Jesus or that Glenn Beck is the best thing since the invention of public sewage, just please stop publicly calling me out as a tree-worshipping pagan if I like to decorate a Christmas tree. I also don’t want to hear about how Santa is just an anagram for Satan, or that Halloween is Satan’s birthday. And, since I have other Facebook friends who are not Christians, and I actually care about them too, and would like to be able to show them how we Christians love one another, I’d like to be able to politely disagree with you without you going all Jihad on me.
I’d also appreciate it if I could disagree with you and there wouldn’t be a pile-on by all my other brothers and sisters in Christ about how I’m not loving the “weaker brother”. If you are spouting off some political bullshit or saying stupid stuff on Facebook, then you are not my “weaker brother”. You have placed yourself in the position of “teacher” and you deserve to be disagreed with. Can you not see that this sort of extremism, coupled with the public shaming of dissidents for not being devout enough, is how Islam has been taken over by its radicals? Should I stand aside and let it happen to my own faith in the name of protecting the weaker brother?
I am also quite sick and tired of my Christian brothers and sisters making a witching rod out of Fox News and using it to publicly divine whether or not I’m a good Christian, (HINT: I am not), or whether I’m a even Christian at all. (FACT: I am).
I’d like all my Christian Facebook friends to stop and think about this. Do your political beliefs and your other little eccentricities truly further the message of the Cross or do they create a stumbling block for unbelievers and struggling believers like myself? Honestly, I really don’t care about any wacky political belief wagon you choose, but please stop harnessing my Lord and Savior up to it and then publicly calling down condemnation on my head because I refuse to hitch a ride.
Please. I beg of you. Start acting like civilized human beings. Even on Facebook.