Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Burning bridges

I probably shouldn't post today as I'm really angry but since this blog is a place for me to sort out spiritual issues, I will go ahead and blather away.  I will probably do a lot of editing though to keep the language civil.

I burned bridges last night on a group on Ravelry.  It's supposed to be a meeting place for all religions to discuss and critique religion, except you can't critique Christianity there because they are the dominant religion.  It's okay to call Pagans silly for their beliefs (which is against the rules but nevermind because the moderators don't seem to care as long as it isn't one of the Big Three Abrahamic religions) but you can't point out the harm that Christianity has done.  And only atheists who like to play Pollyanna with the Christians get to post there without having every word scrutinized, attacked and treated like the enemy.

I have enough problems with dominionists, fundies and the Tea Party but when the liberals start playing the Christian privilege game, I have to leave the stadium.  Any hint of criticism is met by the liberals with the mantra, "We're not like that," or "What about all the good that Christianity does."   Then they go on the attack telling the critic that they just hate religion and have an agenda to do away with it.  To be fair, one of the posters doesn't like any religion at all and thinks the world would be better off without it, but she's upfront about that and has stated many times that she knows that's not going to happen, but she just likes to see what makes religious people tick.  It's a case where people aren't reading her posts, they're reading into her posts.  She and a few others will point out that she didn't say what they said she did, but that's no substitute for their imaginations.  They ignore reason and stick to what they want to believe.

I personally don't agree with her most of the time, but I get tired of people making assumptions about other beliefs or lack of belief systems out there.  Like Paganism.  We had a thread there once where we discussed things and it was civil.  Any non-Pagans were respectful and had some good questions.  However, things discussed on there were mocked on another thread.  So much for tolerance.

Which brings me to burning bridges and leaving the group.  I got fed up with the privilege and called them on it, at which time another Pagan basically told me that no one had called Pagans silly even though one of the mods told her that yes, they had.  She chose to look at it as a tongue in cheek thing.  No, it wasn't.  But the point was she was sucking up to the Christian privilege on the board and wanted to be one of the group instead.  Thankfully another Pagan challenged one of the people on the thread who thought it was funny that people needed groups to talk about belief in fairies. 

And now the poster who started the thread is making fun of me.  That's allowed, I guess, but criticizing a religion that has caused harm to a multitude of people isn't.

I was just starting to soften toward Christianity.  Not with the intentions of going back but I was healing from the bitterness, thinking that maybe I could overlook the blatant my-way-or-the-highway types and focus on those who were more open, more tolerant.  Except they're not really.  They are just as territorial as the fundies.  These same people who are making fun of me are the ones who are claiming the No True Scotsman defense.  They are the real Christians.  They are the ones who are doing it right.  The dominionists, fundies and such have corrupted Christianity.  They, the liberals, the universalists, have it right so you'd better not criticize their religion because they're doing it right and there is no legitimate criticism toward real Christianity.

And yeah, I'm still cheesed at what the liberal priest did to Zach after we left.  We don't have any friends outside of the churches we were in.  Zach has had one job and the turnover there is high so the managers he worked under no longer work there and he doesn't have their home addresses.  So all his references were on the Vestry.  The priest lied about his resignation so they ended up "firing" him from the board.  Now he looks irresponsible and none of those references will be of any use.  So how is he supposed to get a job without any references?  We have tried to find community ever since we moved here but only in a church did we find any connections.  We tried civic organizations, support groups but we were treated like outsiders.  No one would talk to either of us.  Small towns.  Small cliques. And this wonderful liberal church trashed his reputation and left him in a difficult position.

Anyway, stuff like this keeps popping up, keeps the wound open and raw.  I didn't go off on Christianity on that group, except to mention my experiences, which were very often discounted because "they" never had anything like that happen to them, therefore it didn't happen in Christian churches.  I've been ridiculed, made fun of and at times, told I didn't have the right to participate in a thread on Christianity because I'm not a Christian.  This when I was still a Christian.

Why on earth have I stayed where I wasn't welcomed or wanted? 

I left the group and won't respond to the various attacks against me. I had thought I had friends there, but aside from Tana, I really don't.  Maybe this is the impetus I needed to get offline more.  At any rate, I'm through with any forum discussions that involve Christians. I'm sure not going to get over the bitterness and pain if I hang around where they keep opening up the wounds.

I can't get away from it totally as the world is full of Christian privilege and I'm faced with all kinds of Christianese everywhere I go, but at least I don't have to subject myself to the condescension of those who believe they are superior to the rest of us.

And yeah, I understand that there are jerks in Paganism, too. But Christianity claims to be a religion of love and incessant talk of being humbled and meek like their god.  I can take a jerk who doesn't pretend to be a saint.  It's the jerks who think they're so much better because of their humility and good works that I can't stomach.


  1. Zach can still list his employer on an application and the last supervisor he had, it doesn't matter if they still work there or not. But his time there can be verified. I wouldn't even bother listing the Vestry on an application. I don't see that as a job it was voluntary and if they are going to trash him, then it's not worth listing. He's young so while he's looking it should be understood that he may not have many references.

    I am sorry about all the nonsense and BS you had on those boards. It may not be so much as telling you to spend more time offline, but maybe more of trying to direct you to find like minded people. I don't know. But it's just a thought. Like perhaps finding some Druid boards out there?

  2. Yes, he can use his old job on his applications but all applications require personal or work references and he needs specific names. Not the Vestry as an employment but the people there had agreed to be business references for him. Employers are very choosy these days and pretty much vett the candidates thoroughly.

    I don't know of any Druid boards out there but I think I'm much happier in blogland these days. There is a board on OBOD but I'm not sure if you have to be a member to participate there.

  3. Hi Kathy, if I may suggest a shift in perspective? Disengage from these people that upset your ‘vibe’, you’re in different places on a continuum so can’t exist harmoniously in the same space. Instead of focussing on what is, place your attention on the wonderful people who have crossed your path and you will find more of them coming along, even the unpleasant ones – find just one thing about them that was positive and appreciate that. Also work on Zach manifesting a perfect job that suits all his needs and natural talents which he will indeed get so easily that you will be pleasantly surprised by the whole process. You can further support this with a spell if you wish*

  4. Thanks, Stella. You're right that so many wonderful people have crossed my path lately and I intend to focus on them and leave those who believe they are on the high road behind.

    I mentioned to Zach your suggestions and he's going to work on it. I haven't done much spell work yet because I don't want to rush into things. I want to be on solid ground before I try to reach for the stars. I'm getting there, though. I intend to look into Scott Cunningham's book this week (thanks, Tana!)

    Thanks so much for commenting. Your advice is always welcome here.

  5. Hmm... This is interesting. I had a very different experience with Christianity than you did. It was different enough that I'm still willing to engage in it. I was raised Catholic. With the exception of my grandmother and one aunt, my family was perfectly happy to talk about our religion... or not. Religion was something you did on Sunday, life was what happened the rest of the week and the two didn't intersect as often as the priest said it should. Oh well. I rather like my family's version of Christianity. They won't tell you they got it right, only that they are holding the faith they were taught. They will never say you are wrong, only that you are holding the faith you believe in. They are some of the most accepting and low-key Christians you'll ever meet. If more were like them I think it would be a different America. I can't speak for other nations, but it would certainly have made a difference here.

  6. Fundie-land is a very harmful neighborhood to live in, believe me. But my experiences with liberal Christians has been nearly as toxic. Case in point was a recent "friend" on facebook who went ape-shit when I posted a funny story a person had with a fundie. I was accused of being disrespectful (it was nothing I hadn't heard in choir practice) and then found a back door in after I unfriended her. And she was a liberal. Same with my older sister who is a liberal minister. I'm sure there are some Christians out there who don't hold to the Christian privilege but I've found that most do. I'm glad your experiences weren't as bad as mine though.