Saturday, August 11, 2012

Righteous Indignation on My Facebook Timeline

My Facebook timeline has become a Dantesque circle of hell.  Thanks for the vigorous discussion, friends.

Don't worry.  I’m not going to delete anyone’s comments.  You’re all welcome to say what you need to say on my wall.  Sticks and stones may break my bones but Facebook fights make me think.  And thinking is good.  Even though sometimes it hurts.  So thank you.

I can understand why Michael is so upset with Richard’s question equating pedophilia with homosexuality.  I can also understand why Richard might think Michael is behaving immaturely by not answering his question.  But then, I can also understand why Michael might be sick and tired of people equating pedophilia (someone in power, an adult, coercing someone not in power, a child, to have sex with them) with homosexuality (two consenting adults engaging in a mutually gratifying sexual experience).  Grownups who like to have sex with kids, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, are pedophiles.  Grownups who like to have sex with other grownups, whether they are heterosexual or homosexual, are um, what’s the opposite of a pedophile?  It’s Greek to me.  Perhaps enilikaphile? 

Also, swear words don’t bother me, so don’t sweat it.  I think it’s healthy to express emotions, even negative ones, and swearing is a really effective way to vent some steam when you’re really pissed off.  What are words anyway?  Abstract concepts with meanings we assign.  Definitions of words evolve over time and they mutate as they are used in different cultural settings.  So I don’t care if you swear on my Facebook page, as long as you really mean it.  I love words, all words.  They are one of the best ways humans have figured out to communicate with each other.  You can call each other all the names you want.  I don’t like to watch my friends sling insults at each other any more than I like to watch my friends throw punches at each other, but if that’s the way you want your voice to be heard, I can at least understand feeling fed up with silence. 

I don’t think insults are terribly effective, though.  I used to feel temporarily better when I’d call my dad an asshole during my teenage years when we were always fighting, but I think I’d feel better overall and for extended periods of time if I had figured out a way to calmly talk to him about how his calling me a stupid pinko commie made me feel unloved. 

But I never did figure out how to not fight back when someone is attacking me.  I wish I could follow Jesus’ advice to turn the other cheek since I’m a Christian and all, but I never said I was a very good Christian.  Maybe I’m just not good with rules. 

I know I’m not good with groups.  I’ve never been much of a joiner because when you join a club you’re stepping into a circle that excludes the non-members, and that just feels icky to me.  I really enjoyed the last twenty years of not calling myself a Christian even though when I’m feeling desperate I feel better when I talk to Jesus, pray, call it what you will.  And I dig His message of loving our enemies and His awesome audacity to call himself the Son of God in a time when most of his fellow humans didn’t see the divinity within them.  So, really, deep down, I feel like a Christian.  And now that I’m getting old and spunky, I feel like reclaiming the name.  I see other people who call themselves Christians not treating others in a loving way, and, I admit, it pisses me off.  And don’t preach to me about how anger is a sin.  Jesus himself seems pretty righteously indignant when he’s whipping the money lenders out of the temple. 

So because I want to spread the love as I feel Jesus instructed me to do, I’ve decided that even though to call myself a Christian lumps me into a group with lots of people I’d prefer not to associate with (Fred Phelps, other people who spew hate and love power more than people), it’s the right thing to do.  If for no other reason than to be an example to others that not all Christians are homophobic hatemongers.   

And that’s the problem with lumping people into groups.  I am a Christian, just as many of you who are reading this are.  But what does that mean?  It means as many things as there are people who claim the label.  I think the word Christian means someone who tries to follow Jesus’s teachings of love.  But, you know, that’s just me.  Someone else might think the word Christian means someone who focuses on avoiding abhorrent sin.  Others will hold both views, intertwined.

Another group of which I’m a bad member is the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bi, trans) group.  Again, another group of people who are as different as they are similar.  I happen to call myself a lesbian, since Sappho, the woman we get the term “lesbian” from, was most likely married to a man and had female lovers.  I am also married to a man, and although I am as equally attracted to many women as I am to many men, I have no other lovers, because, again, that just feels icky to me.  So technically I’m a monogamous bisexual lesbian.  See?  Groups are fun, but they make life confusing.  I don’t like how groups turn our neighbors who are not members of the group into “others”.

The one group I know we’re all members of is this one: humans.  If you can read this, you are a human.  And I love you.  Even when you piss me off.  Well, I try.  I commit lots of acts of asshattery on my quest for living a life full of love.