I happened upon John Pavlovitz’s Article The Church’s Wasteful LGBTQ-Phobia this morning. In it, he talks about how people spend a lot of time & energy talking shit, being hateful, and holding onto miniature boxes of what they think is right. He ends the article with:
Every day I grieve the way Christianity is putting LGBTQ people through undue suffering, the callousness of the hearts of so many of those who claim Jesus, and the excuses we make for doing everything but what Jesus actually called us to do.
All that does seem like a waste. All that wasted energy. All that wasted time. All that negativity brought into existence under the cloak of piety and “goodness”.
How many gay guys have you seen go, “Oh, you’ve won me over, Westboro Baptist Person with your sign saying God hates me!” and just quit being who they are?? I’ll go ahead and guess…
I’ve been looking at how troublesome the whole “only this is right” kind of thinking has negatively impacted society. Supposed Christians with everyone from Muslims to gays to atheists to other types of Christians. White supremacists and everyone else. Misogynists and women. Idiots on Facebook who only think their view is right.
Life isn’t just ONE thing.
It seems like a huge waste of, like, 99.99999999999999% of the entire existence to ONLY think one thing is right.
Shutting off entire viewpoints, like when black folks get shut down when they say, “Hey, this thing feels wrong,” comes off as dismissive and stupid and ignorant and… then racist, because it’s associated with race & a historically-mistreated group… and then – voila – things are worse off than before.
We miss the bigger picture when we pull a Liz Lemon and SHUT IT DOWN, which would then address police brutality and murder itself, which would cover EVERYONE and set things on a more positive path for EVERYONE. But it gets bogged down in whose lives matter, who doesn’t like athletes kneeling… sides get drawn & things get worse.
And why? Because of the ONLY THIS mindset, aka: small-mindedness.
Last fall, I had the misfortune of crossing paths with a Jehovah’s Witness who made this idea incredibly clear to me. The conversation started off fine – she asked me what I was crocheting, we chatted about how I learned, I showed her a few YouTube videos to show how easy it is to learn if you don’t have a Mimi to teach you like I had… yadda yadda…
Then, she tried to pull the switch.
My heart actually sank when she tactlessly tried to steer the conversation to Dogma Town – it had been going so well until she asked what I thought about god. Then, it went from bad to worse when she launched into her spiel about how so many people have “gotten it wrong”…
I started to tune out.
Out of nowhere, a pamphlet came at me.
I dodged that bad-boy like Neo in ‘The Matrix’.
And then the conversation went something like this:
“I really don’t want to get into this. People usually don’t see god as big as I do,” I said, “which is kinda ironic, since they usually want to then tell me I’m wrong because I don’t use the same words or name as them.”
She was taken aback by that. I really tried to shut it down – at this point in my life, it is TRULY BORING to talk to people who only see one leaf when I see the tree.
“I see what you want to call god everywhere. I’ve felt it at church camp just as much as I’ve felt it at the top of a mountain after a long hike. I love the notion of us all belonging to and coming from and existing in this universe, and I love that oneness… I think it’s bigger than we can even comprehend…”
She interrupted. “Well, you say the ‘right name’… what’s your name? (Heather) Wasn’t that name chosen for you, and isn’t that your only name?”
“No, actually, it’s not my only name – I’ve got nicknames. And it has translations in other languages. And others have no translations, but they pronounce it differently. What’s your point?”
She tried to say that only God was God.
“I’m saying everything is god. I’ve had the birch experience with it. I’ve had some personal experiences with it…”
Those personal experiences are untouchable. They can’t really be defined. They’re great, like that time I felt at-peace and connected to the Great Spirit sitting on the bank of Quanah Parker Lake, and revelatory. I would have loved to talk to her about all that… I LOVE talking about that to anyone & everyone. It’s the basis of my greatest friendships. But I wasn’t thinking small enough for that lady.
I’ve lost a lot of respect for & faith in people because of experiences like that.
That tiny view of the world is boring. It’s damaging. It’s dismissive. And limiting, negative… and, like, Pavlovitz said, it’s a waste.
It’s a waste of intel. If you’re looking at something big, it helps to have a comprehensive view. We get satellite images of things. There are brain trusts and panels and boards set up to help organizations function.
It’s a waste of potential. You’ve heard the term allied to burn-outs, aka: people who aren’t using their full potential. Same goes for entertaining new opinions, information, etc.
It’s a waste of love. I saw a bumper sticker the other day that said HATE IS NOT A FAMILY VALUE. I’m of the opinion that we are meant to be love, that hate is adopted or learned or made up. Being that way shuts off people, avenues, Love… inbound AND outbound.
Life isn’t only one way.