Christianity could use some Goo Gone

by Kristin on October 25, 2010

in Belief, doubt & hope

Photo by Steven Depolo

I’m pretty sure most readers of my blog scoff at the idea of “normal.” Of course, there’s no such thing. But I think people still subconsciously carry definitions and images of normal around in their heads (yes, even us “enlightened” types), so it’s worth examining those perceptions.

Take this topic, for instance: How would you describe a “normal” Christian? What about a “normal” church?

The paradigms have shifted

As children, life seems blissfully full of “normal,” because we don’t know anything else. My childhood experience with church completely shaped how I understood religion in general and my faith in particular: Churches involved stained glass windows, pipe organs, and hymnals; women could be pastors as well as Sunday School teachers; going to church meant going “all in,” serving on committees and boards and cleaning up after potlucks. Most importantly, being a Christian meant helping and loving the poor and needy.

In my family, being a Christian also meant being a Democrat. My parents never stated that overtly, but it seemed implicit: Jesus cared about and helped the poor and the outcast; so did Democrats.

Fast forward 20 or 30 years (along the way imagine my shock upon discovering that most Christians are, in fact, Republicans), and here’s where I find myself today: Many days it seems my first priority, as a Christian, is to communicate “not all Christians are like that.” My hope is to shake up those ideas of “normal,” mess with the stereotypes, and gain enough respect to be a part of a broader conversation, rather than immediately labeled and dismissed.

The sticky goo of politics

I was not at all surprised, then, to see last week’s Los Angeles Times article about why many young people are walking away from church. (According to the article, “Between 25% and 30% of twentysomethings today say they have no religious affiliation — roughly four times higher than in any previous generation.”) It’s not the idea of God or belief that is driving most of them away—it’s politics.

…why this sudden jump in youthful disaffection from organized religion? The surprising answer, according to a mounting body of evidence, is politics. Very few of these new “nones” actually call themselves atheists, and many have rather conventional beliefs about God and theology. But they have been alienated from organized religion by its increasingly conservative politics.

I don’t know about you, but there is nothing “surprising” about that answer to me, nor about this logic:

Just as this generation moved to the left on most social issues — above all, homosexuality — many prominent religious leaders moved to the right, using the issue of same-sex marriage to mobilize electoral support for conservative Republicans. …Increasingly, young people saw religion as intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental and homophobic. If being religious entailed political conservatism, they concluded, religion was not for them.

There’s that definition of “normal” I was fishing for: “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental and homophobic.” And unfortunately, there are plenty of those “normal Christians” out there, doing their best to cement the stereotype. It’s so prevalent that, at least in my community, it’s much easier (and definitely smarter and cooler) to say you’re an atheist than to claim the Christian label.

The hard work of restoration

Frankly, it’s a sticky mess—one I’d rather not touch. It’s more than annoying, though. Being in this position makes me angry. Having to point out to people that Jesus—you know, the guy the entire Christian faith is based on?—was the complete opposite of “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental and homophobic” makes me feel a little crazy. Really?!? Is this where we’ve landed? And how on earth did we get here?

Sometimes in my frustration I’m tempted to throw out the Christian label and traditional church model, as the fastest way to shed all of those unpleasant stereotypes. But I have hope, thanks to a great church community and a progressive group of Christian friends on Twitter, that restoration can occur. There are lots of people out there, working diligently, with heart, to gradually remove all that political goo from our spiritual foundation. I believe it can happen, even if we can’t find that magic Goo Gone formula and instead have to resort to lots of patience, elbow grease, and faith.

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  • http://www.rebeccasramsey.blogspot.com Becky Ramsey

    “Having to point out to people that Jesus—you know, the guy the entire Christian faith is based on?—was the complete opposite of “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental and homophobic” makes me feel a little crazy. Really?!? Is this where we’ve landed? And how on earth did we get here?”
    Amen, sister.
    My temptation is to rant and rave about the nutty ones–but then I think about how Jesus would probably respond and I try to get back to work. Thank goodness for a whole lot of others (like you) who keep at it, being his hands and feet and inspiring others to do the same.
    Great post!

  • http://themoderngal.com The Modern Gal

    Wonderful, wonderful post.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Becky, yes, the ranting is very tempting—there’s so much noise, and we want to be heard over it! But, as you point out, that wasn’t Jesus’ way. He was quiet and calm in the midst of the chaos, and he was *doing* even more than he was saying. I’m very gradually learning to embrace this other, counter-cultural way. It’s hard to do!

    The Modern Gal, thank you for reading and letting me know that you did!

  • http://www.coffeestainedclarity.com Bethany

    I don’t do well with goo, particularly not the political variety. Unlike you, I was raised in a militant Christian Republican mindset. From elementary school through college, I volunteered for Republican campaigns because it was our responsibility to reclaim America for God and the Founding Fathers. I cringe thinking about it now. I hate that I was taught to blindly support some men and to unquestioningly defame others based simply on the “R” or “D” next to their names. Based on my own relationship with God and understanding of the Bible since leaving home, I have leaned much more toward the Democrat side of the debate, but I’d honestly prefer not to get caught up in the debate at all. Jesus didn’t take over politics, though all of his disciples expected him to; he brought radical change to people’s lives by simply loving, teaching, and healing them. That’s what I aspire (however clumsily) to do… though I wish I could somehow ignore its application toward the intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental, and homophobic.

  • Craig

    Ok – politics – sticky wicket. I heart your words. I really do. And your spirit too. But have to respectfully take issue with the “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental, homophobic” thing. First full disclosure; I’m a card carrying member of the religious radical radical right (no card really – just sayin’). So here goes my ranty rant.

    Intolerant: I think it’s the left side of the arena who is intolerant and mean. Anyone straying from the party line gets tossed and besmirched – i.e. Juan Williams – a liberal – who was at NPR for more than a decade gets unceremoniously dumped for agreeing on occasion with the right. Not nice. Intolerant. If I wear a fur coat – splash – red paint. If I think as much attention and money should be paid to downs syndrome children as Aids – I might get splashed with blood.

    If I say the Bible calls homosexuality a sin – the Bible – not me – Bam – I’m homophobic. I love gay people just as much as straight people. Most people who I know that are gay are funny, nice, loving people. But if the Bible tells me stealing is wrong – I try not to steal. If Scripture tells me having sex with anyone outside of marriage is wrong (male or female) I try not to do that too. I’m not “scared” of people who are gay – I just try to follow my Scripture. Why is there so much intolerance for my religious belief?

    And judgmental – what is the first go-to attack on any political figure that dares to be a mean, starve the poor people to feed the rich, Republican. – it’s that they are stupid. George Bush was stupid (never mind his grades were higher than Al Gore and his University more prestigious) – and Sarah Palin – dumb as doorknob, and Christine O’Donell – stupid – and a witch to boot. And isn’t it really nasty to call Tea Party people – teabaggers – we know what teabagging is – that’s a truly nasty thing to call them. That’s hate. That’s judgmental, hypocritical, and straight phobic all rolled into one.

    I especially hate how people who are on the left side of the political spectrum attack the women. Now there’s a group that needs protecting – women have been dumped on for ages – and yet it’s the women of the right that get crucified – and no feminist group ever comes to their aid. And these are not regular people like you and me saying it (although it gets repeated in our circle) it’s leadership and news media – the people with the big megaphones.

    Now the folks on the right don’t like Nancy Pelosi much, but has anyone commented on her “not so smart” smartness – but they call Sarah Palin dumb because they make up lines she has said – set up straw men to knock them down – and call her hypocrite when she buys pretty clothes – without saying a word about Nancy Pelosi and her always present beautiful string of pearls and constant haute couture. Not fair – not nice – if we can’t have reasonable and fair discussion of political views without the nastiness – well like my mom said – if you can’t say something nice…

    And the attacks get worse on the left – has anyone on the right come out against Chelsae Clinton’s daughter for “shaking up” before marriage – not a one. But Bristol Palin gets a big “w” for whore on her chest because she dares to have given in and messed up – and then has the audacity to actually have the baby. Isn’t that a little mean and unfair?

    And why am I homophobic because I don’t think that gay people should be awarded protected status because of being gay? I have gotten ridiculed and besmirched and discriminated all of my life for being short – tall handsome people get the better jobs, easier opportunities – I don’t get special protection. I deal with it. There is no hate crime – there is just crime. I am to love my fellow human – not beat them , slander them, kill them – whether they are gay or straight. But because I don’t think “minority” status is something one can claim because of their sexual preference – or height (as opposed to race) people on the left call me homophobe and say really nasty things about me.

    And hypocritical? Of course we’re hypocritical – we all are – that’s the point. We are hypocrites, we pretend to be good when all of us have sin at the root of our nature. That’s what Grace is about. Ugh.

    Sorry for my ranty rant. But I think it’s unfair that that the “whacky right” gets the labels when the “looney left” gets none. They are never called stupid, or hypocritical, or judgmental or Christian-phobic (oooof and don’t even get me started on anti-Christianism).

    The left side is judgmental, intolerant, hypocrtical, and Christian phobic. There – I said it. Sorry. But I heart your blog and read it and keep coming back to it :)

    I’m exhausted.

    It’s just that both sides are guilty.

    Not fair. Not nice. Not Christian. On either side. Just sayin’

    Sorry.

  • Dan J

    Craig writes:

    Why is there so much intolerance for my religious belief?

    I love it when someone tries to turn the tables and claim that they’re being oppressed because we won’t allow them to be homophobic bigots. Nice try, Craig, but your tactics won’t work with intelligent, caring people. You’re trying to oppress a minority and you’re trying to use your scripture to do so. Fail.

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Bethany, amen to this: “Jesus didn’t take over politics, though all of his disciples expected him to; he brought radical change to people’s lives by simply loving, teaching, and healing them.” Perhaps I didn’t say it clearly enough in my post, so thanks for hitting the nail on the head for me. :) I do often feel like in the process of moving away from the political-religious affiliation problem I have to overcompensate in a liberal fashion, but if all Christians just met around Jesus, no compensation would be needed.

    Craig, I’m not surprised that you’re exhausted, because I think you’re fighting the wrong battle here! The Halfway to Normal audience encompasses a whole range of beliefs and positions, but I think it’s pretty safe to say that we all realize there are two sides to the political mess we’re in. I’ve written several times about how polarized politics has become, from both sides—to the point that political affiliation and debate seems almost meaningless. I can tell that you needed to get this off your chest, but my post wasn’t meant to point fingers. The “intolerant, hypocritical, judgmental, homophobic” comment came out of a newspaper article that was communicating the perceptions of young adults who claim no religious affiliation. It might not be a completely fair assessment, but it is apparently what they see and feel. You can’t argue with that. And my whole point here is that religious belief needs to extract itself from these close political ties, so that we can all better focus on what it is Jesus has called us to do. It’s true, that when I talk about “removing the political goo from our spiritual foundation” that I am mostly referring to conservative politics, but only because those are the politics that have attached themselves to the faith. I respectfully hope that others won’t get caught up in this debate with you here on my blog, because I believe it is a waste of our time and space.

  • SeanM

    >> Why is there so much intolerance for my religious belief?

    Because it’s stupid and ignorant. You don’t REALLY follow your Scriptures. Otherwise you’d follow all the other dumbass rules like not eating shellfish or rounding off your beards or not having long hair.

    >>If I say the Bible calls homosexuality a sin – the Bible – not me – Bam – I’m homophobic.

    Amazing how that works out that way.

    >> And isn’t it really nasty to call Tea Party people – teabaggers – we know what teabagging is – that’s a truly nasty thing to call them.
    T
    hey named themselves, dumbass.

    >>I especially hate how people who are on the left side of the political spectrum attack the women.

    How many women priests are there? Thanks for playing.

    >> But Bristol Palin gets a big “w” for whore on her chest because she dares to have given in and messed up – and then has the audacity to actually have the baby. Isn’t that a little mean and unfair?

    No. That’s poor parenting.

  • Debbe Perry

    As usual, your blog is thought-provoking and “right on.” And I appreciate the comments it elicits. I have been so disillusioned with the labels that are being thrown around on both sides. Communism? Get real. I grew up during the cold war. Socialism? Hardly. So I must guard with special care the words I throw around, too. Craig, I won’t call you a homophobic bigot, but do question your take of Jesus’ take on homosexuality.
    Thanks, Kristin, for keeping the spirit of fair discussion alive, and for reminding us that our background informs our decisions, but we can change our mind at any time. (Right,Bethany?) Ain’t spiritual growth grand? I personally think that’s what I’m here for… .

  • http://www.ordinarymer.com Meredith

    Sometimes in my frustration I’m tempted to throw out the Christian label and traditional church model, as the fastest way to shed all of those unpleasant stereotypes. But I have hope, thanks to a great church community and a progressive group of Christian friends on Twitter, that restoration can occur.

    That statement is exactly why I hope you continue to write posts like this and continue to try to counter the perception of the “ignorant, intolerant, homophobic” Christian. As a twenty-something who walked away from religion precisely because of people like that, I’m so glad there are people like you to help me see that there are progressive Christians and that those who yell the loudest almost never speak for the whole.

    Maybe I’ll find my way back to church someday in some form. And if I do, it’s going to be because of people like you and not people like the conservative religious right.

  • Craig

    Debbe – thank you, I appreciate your point too, questioning is good – I appreciate your disagreement. I somehow think we could sit down and talk about it. I heart that.

    Kristin – thank you – again I like your approach and we probably differ on lots of issues – we agree on Jesus – and I ranted and I’m done – that’s what ranting is for I guess – I think I’d be able to sit with you over coffee and talk, agree as people, agree as followers of Jesus, agree to disagree too.

    To Dan: Implying that I’m oppressive, uncaring, unintelligent, a bigot, a homophobe – kinda made my point – maybe better than I did

    And Sean, seriously, my beliefs are stupid and ignorant, my rules are dumbass?, I know my Bible, I thump it, but I know it, and the hair thing – a Nazorite priest vow – things specific for time, place, context, and I don’t eat shellfish cause I don’t like it – but again a “law” for specific time, place, context. I do see your point though, there are plenty of Christian hypocrites out there who pick and choose and create their own God. I know, I’ve done it, and it’s flat out wrong. I get it and apologize for wherever I fall short. If we follow the Bible we have to take, or have a darn good excuse for the difficult in it as well as the easy, the killing, the raping, the male dominated word. I’m not gonna throw rocks from inside my glass house. I’m single, don’t have sex outside marriage, I hate that rule, I love sex, lots – it’s amazing how that works out that way too. I apologize for the snark. I liked my old rule of “two consensual adults” better. But it’s not my rule I want to follow it’s the rules from whom I believe to be God. And calling me “dumbass” – well – there’s my point exactly. They called themselves Tea Partiers – after the ones who did the tea thing in the Boston harbor. Tea didn’t come in bags back them. Hey, anyone who wants to teabag – it’s fine, it’s America, I’m all about choice – but seriously it’s pretty mean thing to say about those people (and I have never attended a Tea Party Rally). And Jerry – I’m not Catholic – but if that’s the “rule” Catholics believe God came up with – that’s their prerogative isn’t it? Aren’t we supposed to be tolerant of the views of others? I don’t agree with it either – but it’s their thing, fine, it’s their thing – I respect that. And name me one teen that hasn’t rebelled against parents – I didn’t smoke BECAUSE my parents DID – I rebelled as a teen in a billion different ways – I was an idiot – but she’s a girl – who made a choice she wish she didn’t make, and took full responsibility for it – that’s hero – not whore. And I have learned as an adult that my choices were and are my choices – not my Parents.But seriously so much hate! It’s my point exactly.

    Kristin, I like reading you. I don’t want to mess up your community. I’ll just back out and go away if that’s what’s best. Should I stop visiting? Or stop commenting? It’s your blog, you should get to choose it’s direction. I respect that too. Just let me know. In this case – you are the boss of me.

  • Dan J

    Craig writes:

    Implying that I’m oppressive, uncaring, unintelligent, a bigot, a homophobe – kinda made my point – maybe better than I did

    I din’t imply it. I used it to describe your attitude:

    And why am I homophobic because I don’t think that gay people should be awarded protected status because of being gay?

    This is exactly the type of attitude that tells me someone is an uncaring homophobe. No one is asking for “special protection” for homosexuals. Equal protection under the law is not a liberal catchphrase for “special protection.”

    The same arguments you use were used during civil rights battles in the 50′s and 60′s. The same arguments were used when women were fighting for the right to vote. The same arguments were used when slavery was being fought as the heinous crime that it is.

    The Bible condones slavery (as long as the slave is beaten too hard). Does that mean it’s the right thing for you to do? Simply because your interpretation of your religious text says that homosexuality is a sin (or even an abomination!), that does not give you the right to deny homosexuals equal protection under the law.

    Do you honestly believe that Jesus Christ would applaud a group of Christians in the US society of today for berating and demonizing a group of people based on the fact that they happen to be homosexual? I’m not a Christian myself, but from what I’ve read of the guy, I don’t think he’d be much of a gay-basher.

    …but again a “law” for specific time, place, context.

    I find it interesting when someone uses this type of argument to support their own particular interpretation of the Bible, but cry “intolerance” when it’s used against a particular law that they want to keep.

    I, for one, do not want to see you (or anyone else) stop visiting this blog, or stop commenting on this blog. I would much rather see you open your eyes to the idea that all people are created equal, and as such they deserve equal treatment.

  • http://madwhitewomandiaries.blogspot.com/ madwhtwmndiary

    I am simply going to stick with one of my favorite book titles: “Normal is only a setting on the dryer.”

    Excellent post!

  • Craig

    Jerry. I’m sorry if I came across sounding like I thought someone who was homosexual does not deserve equal rights. I said “protected status” – meaning afforded rights above and beyond what anyone else gets. Equal rights is what this country is about. Homosexuals and Heterosexuals and any sexuals deserve equal rights – and when they don’t get them – a huge hammer needs to come down.

    A little truce here I hope – as I say this – you did more than just describe my attitude. You said in your comment that I was trying to turn the tables because I want you to allow me to be a homophobic bigot – strong words. And you told me I was trying to oppress a minority. That’s pretty much just flat out calling me a bigot and an oppressor. I’m just a person. No better than anyone. In many ways worse. No better than a homosexual and on most days no worse. I don’t oppress anybody.

    The Bible can always be twisted when verses are taken out of context, it has different kinds of literature written by gobs of different people over specific times places and historical context. It’s a complicated collection of writings. And I don’t want to bash anyone over the head with it. It’s a heavy book. But it is my belief. I’m sorry. I just ask someone who does not believe it, to be tolerant of my belief of it.

    I looked up “intolerance” to make sure I was using it right. It is “being unwilling to grant equal freedom of expression especially in religious matters.” I don’t think I’m doing that. But I do think it sometimes gets done to me. It’s not like anyone stops what I say, but the ton of bricks that can be dropped on me for saying it – they don’t seem very tolerant.

    Intolerant is also being “unwilling to grant or share social, political, or professional rights.” I don’t think I’ve done that. I don’t support that. I think everyone in America deserves equal rights.

    Intolerance also means “bigoted” – so I had to look that one up too. Just to make sure. It’s “a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance.” I don’t think I’ve done that have I? If I have today I’m sorry. Seriously – just nicely point it out and I will really, from the heart, humbly apologize.

    And I am a Christian and I totally agree with you that there is no way that Jesus would approve of berating and demonizing a group of people based on the fact that they happen to be homosexual. Totally agree.

    And does the Bible condone slavery? Or simply report it as fact. It was fact at the time and had pretty much always been. It wasn’t the “steal the best and brightest from a whole continent and bring them to America to die along the way or be abused when they got here” kind of slavery. That form wasn’t invented yet. Slavery, Roman slavery, is the context in which, at least the New Testament was written. If someone knows where the Bible could legitimately be used to condone slavery – that I need to know about so I’m not ignorant of it. I may be ignorant of it – and I would really, truly want to know about it. And again, I’d apologize if I am wrong.

    Whew. Really sorry if I offended anyone.

  • Craig

    And I just noticed I called Dan J – Jerry – totally not intentional – sorry Dan.

  • Dan J

    No offense taken, to be sure, and a truce is certainly a good thing. Discussion is what brings us together, not shouting matches. :)

    Your use of the term “protected status” is immediately what prompted me to think that you were in favor of homosexuals not having equal status and protection under the law. That phrase is often used by the extreme right when attempting to deny rights.

    Tolerance for your belief is something that I definitely posses. I do more than tolerate it, in fact. I would fight tooth and nail for your right to hold those religious beliefs (and for any other person to hold their religious beliefs). I’m an atheist, so I don’t actually have religious beliefs of my own.

    This is where we get to the hard part: Tolerance for beliefs does not imply agreement with or sanctioning of those beliefs.

    Certain Muslim groups condone the atrocious practice of honor killing. While I would not ever consider such an act legal or moral in any way, I will support the right of a person to believe that it is the right and proper way to behave (because of their cultural and religious beliefs). At the same time I would also be attempting to educate them about the reasons why I could never condone such activity.

    As to slavery in the Bible, this passage (Leviticus 25:44-46 NLT) doesn’t speak well of the foreign relations of the Israelites of the time:

    However, you may purchase male or female slaves from among the foreigners who live among you. You may also purchase the children of such resident foreigners, including those who have been born in your land. You may treat them as your property, passing them on to your children as a permanent inheritance. You may treat your slaves like this, but the people of Israel, your relatives, must never be treated this way.

    Once again; we are not living in the days in which the Bible was written. Social mores are quite different now. The more we learn about life and the people we share the planet with, the more we are forced to adjust our views of what is right and wrong.

    While conservative interpretation of the Bible leads people to the conclusion that homosexuality is a sin (or abomination) that offends God, scientific study tells us that homosexuality is entirely natural in a certain portion of the population and that it is not a choice.

    While not a part of any faith, I can certainly understand the reticence involved with admitting that any part of a document that you have always been told is the inerrant word of God might not be completely true or even moral.

    The earth revolves around the sun and is about 4.5 billion years old. Homosexuality is not evil and they will not try to convert your children. These are ideas that a large portion of the world simply will not admit are factual. There are still groups who tenaciously hold to the idea that the Earth is the physical center of the Universe, and everything revolves around it. (Honest! They have an upcoming event in South Bend, Indiana!)

    My goal is not to eradicate religion from the face of the planet (Okay.. maybe it is a little), but to show that in order for the people of the world to live in peace, we can’t use the strict religious interpretation of any particular group to be the stone tablet on which the rules are written.

    I hope I haven’t rambled too long, and I hope that even if we can’t see eye to eye, we can at least get along reasonably well.

  • Craig

    Whew – that was agonizing – but good – cleansing – good enough that I feel a truce is no longer needed – it was a war for a little bit there – but I think the war is over now – I think we both may have felt attacked – and I don’t feel that anymore – and I kind of think you don’t either – and Dan, I’m glad we got form “there” to “here”.

    Thank you Kristin for having a place this could happen.

    And as for you Dan?

    God bless you YOU HEATHEN

    JUST KIDDING :) :) :)

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    SeanM, my own line of thought works much like yours in some ways, so I get it. But I go to a lot of effort to step back, take a deep breath, and try not to directly slam other people here, or discount opinions that differ from mine. I really hope my readers try to do the same. It takes more work but we all benefit in the end.

    Debbe, this has been the hardest lesson for me to learn (and re-learn): “I have been so disillusioned with the labels that are being thrown around on both sides. …So I must guard with special care the words I throw around, too.” Yes, spiritual growth is indeed grand, even when so often it feels miniscule. :)

    Meredith, I have to admit, I thought about you (and some other friends) as I was reading the Los Angeles Times article. You are not statistics to me—you are people I care about, and whose perspectives I value immensely. As I try to summon up some hope and courage around next week’s election, this is a good thing for me to remember: “those who yell the loudest almost never speak for the whole.” Thanks for your words and encouragement.

    Craig, yes, I think this is true: “I think I’d be able to sit with you over coffee and talk, agree as people, agree as followers of Jesus, agree to disagree too.” You are definitely not “messing up my community”—you are making it more varied and thus more real, in the sort of way we don’t often get to experience community and conversation out in the world. I really don’t want this blog to be a place that only attracts a bunch of people who always agree. I do hope, however, that we can avoid some of the circular debates and traps that so many seem to be caught up in “out there.” Maybe this can be a place where we take the typical sticky issues but then turn them over and take them apart in a completely different way. I think that’s happened today, even if we took a somewhat circuitous route. :)

    madwhtwmndiary, I love that title, too, So true. Thanks for taking a moment to let me know that you *get it.*

    Dan J, although you and I come at this from different points of view, I think we see eye to eye on many issues. The fact that you take the time to read, think and be a part of this discussion means so much—I think it’s so important, for all of us. Thanks also for taking the time to so thoughtfully engage in this dialogue with Craig, and to carry it through to a point of understanding and respect. It’s because of people like you that this whole concept of online discussion and community works at all.

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  • SeanM

    I was being snarky. DanJ was more eloquent than I was, but essentially we think the same thing.

  • Tanya

    “Politics has really mucked up the faith; but it isn’t beyond restoration.”

    Your tag-line for this post—and especially for the embodiment of this truth that the comments play out—is perfect, brilliant! What an amazing, bewildering, wrenching, inspiring exchange of perspectives. As painful as some of it was to read, it nonetheless gave me hope, reminding me yet again that perseverance is essential for transformation.

  • Craig

    To tanya – MY GOODNESS was that poetic!

  • http://www.halfwaytonormal.com Kristin T.

    Tanya, I love this: “As painful as some of it was to read, it nonetheless gave me hope, reminding me yet again that perseverance is essential for transformation.” Yes. And I hate to think of all the times I’ve given up on people/conversations/situations too quickly because they presented too big a challenge.