Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Connecting with Christians II

Something happened this morning that totally changed my day. I sat down to write a letter to my sister, and checked my blog first. AJ left a comment, so I visited her blog, and then for some reason followed a link to a blog called "Stuff Christians Like." I was immediately interested by his posting on "Christian hate mail" – those of you who've read my blog for some time know about some of the issues I've had with christians. Link followed link, and, three hours later, I ended up adding three Christian links to my blogroll and posting this.

Interesting to note that two of the three used the same template for their blogs that I used for mine.

I don't know whether this is what I've been hoping for, or not. I've felt so helpless and frustrated about finding a way to connect with Christians in the past, and so hurt and threatened by their vitriol. These three give me hope.

Perhaps it is possible to connect with Christians. Perhaps it is possible to speak back and forth with them with respect and love, even find some common ground. Perhaps it's possible to disagree in peace and love and freedom, and not in fear, anger, oppression and persecution.

I hope so.

8 comments:

David Carrel said...

Seda, thanks for visiting the blog. I actually visited yours yesterday or the day before that. I like what you wrote about "maybe Christians are people that you can get along with." (or something like that). To tell you the truth, I did not know what to say. I do want to get along with people like you and gay people. We, as a Christian community, have treated you very wrong. I am sorry for that.
But at the same time as saying that we would like to get along, I do not want to say that I agree with your choices. Does that make sense? The same way I would not agree with a drunk driver's choice to be on the road. The same way as I do not agree with many of my own choices in not having the faith to follow God's Word.
I do, however, want to understand you more. I want to understand how you feel, what drives your choices, as well as care about you as a person. Now, I am not sure if you agree with me that I can care about you without agreeing with you on giving equal rights, etc... Let me know if that makes sense to you at all (or if I am a narrow-minded, idiotic conservative Christian, haha).
Thanks Seda.
Feel free to email me if you want:
carrelda@gmail.com

anne said...

Some things are volitional, like driving drunk on the road; and some are not, like being born in the wrong gender or being born liking the same gender. Every single person I have known who was gay or trans desperately wished that they had been born "normal."

So much of the Bible was written in context for a specific reason. Much of that was to separate out the Jews from those around them who were practicing differently or engaging in behavior that the Patriarchs found offensive. If you are a Christian, I think that you would rejoice in the words of Jesus. The problem is in those who might wish to interpret those words or add in their two cents.

Practicing love and compassion is the only way out for a Christian, and this means practicing it, every day, all the time until you can genuinely feel compassion for anyone. It's not a feeling for those who deserve it, but a state of mind, a state of grace, if you will. It is being so filled with the love of God that all of this world is sacred and a joy.

There is no room for judgment in the heart of Christ. To speak of it is to speak of the ethical dilemmas of the church, not of Christ. When you know that all people, no matter who they are and what they are were forgiven by that death on the cross, then you are filled with what Jesus did for us. Then you are filled with the grace of faith, the hope of faith and the love of faith.

Be there, go there, and practice. Let Seda be a practice, not a stumbling block to an ethical code not even put forth by Jesus.

love and be blessed.

Seda said...

David,
If you want to understand me, read my blog archives. That especially might help you understand my choices, whether you agree with them or not.

I've heard a lot of Christians apologizing for the way their community has treated mine lately, and I feel kind of annoyed by it. It doesn't really meet my needs for connection and understanding, or clarity. The other thing I hear is stuff like this: http://www.traditionalvalues.org/pdf_files/TVCSpecialRptTransgenders1234.PDF . So, on the one hand, individuals apologizing, and on the other, the institutions they presumably support saying things that are feel pretty scary and painful. So I'm confused.

I think what I'd really like is for some of you folks to start asking these groups to tone down the rhetoric. Heck, I'll come right out and ask it: Would you be willing to support my right to marry who I want to, even though you might think it's a deadly sin that will doom me to the hottest depths of hell for eternity? and how do you feel, when you see me ask that?

Anne,
Thanks, dear. Am I doing anything useful, here?

David Carrel said...

First of all, I feel sad that you feel I would think that you being married would send you to hell. One is condemned to hell because of their rejection of Jesus Christ. I actually hold an even stricter view of salvation than most people hold. I believe that we must accept Jesus Christ's sacrifice for sins and believe in what he did for us, but we must also have faith (believing God's Word to the point of a desired obedience). When we accept Christ, we actually accept His beliefs and sayings, which are really hard to accept.
So we are all equally guilty of sin and all deserve hell. I deserve it just as much as you or anyone else deserves it. So for me to criticize you for whatever sins you might have, would be wrong. I read your judge not post and you are right; we should not judge others.
I have never understood how anyone can be gay or trans or any of that because I have never experienced those feelings. They really are unfathomable to me. I have been reading through the archives of your blog and have been amazed to hear of your life. I know it is only bits and pieces, but it has been very interesting.
As far as your main question; no, I would not support the right to be married. I believe in one, man, one woman. I firmly believe that is taught in the Bible, which is my guidebook. My dad just wrote a book called "Is Biblical Morality Outdated" which talks about how the Bible has guidelines, rules if you will, for our good. He has laid out what is good for us and that is why they are in there. For our good.
As far as how I feel when you ask me that? I think that I have tried to connect with gays and now with you, in a way that is loving, yet when you ask for acceptance, you also ask for me to agree with your beliefs, which I cannot do. I feel that you don't have to agree to connect. But I feel as though your definition of connection is asking me to agree. I really hope that is not the case, but I understand your reasoning if it is.
As far as your comment to Anne about doing something useful, I would just like to say yes. It has been very helpful to me. I really appreciate you reaching out to connect and hope that you are mutual in the feeling. So thank you.

Seda said...

Hey, David,
I'm glad you clarified, because I see that you didn't understand my question or position. I do not ask you to agree with gay marriage, nor to compromise your faith in any way. I think it's fine that you oppose it, and I'll defend your right to do so, to preach against it, to refuse to officiate at gay weddings, and to write letters to the editor or organize rallys opposing it. I think you can do that and we can disagree on it and still be friends.

Where I depart with you, and object, is when you say, "My religious conviction is thus, therefore I'm going to pass laws that will affect you and change and challenge your life and your ability to navigate and survive in this society."

I don't know what your background as an American is, but I have at least one ancestor who came over on the Mayflower. He fled England to escape religious persecution. Though he helped start a new religious tyranny in Massachusetts Bay, I had other ancestors who fought in our Revolution to establish a secular government - one that states, in the First Amendment, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

You say, "I would not support the right to be married. I believe in one, man, one woman. I firmly believe that is taught in the Bible, which is my guidebook."

Sounds a lot like religious conviction to me. Fine. Exercise it. All I'm asking is that you "Render unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasar's, and unto God the things that are God's." That you withdraw your support of secular laws regarding the legal contract of marriage that prohibit me from enjoying the same contractual, legal rights that you enjoy. Nothing religious about it. Right now, you support the right of the secular state to decide who can marry and who cannot. What if your son decides he wants to marry a woman from Iran, and the state decides that it's dangerous for Americans to marry Iranians, and forbids it? If you want to make that argument on religious grounds, fine, but keep your laws off my body.

I hope I've made it clear that I don't ask nor expect you to agree with my beliefs. I do, however, ask that you respect my right to have my beliefs, and to act on them. There is a huge difference between a marriage contract written by the county clerk and sacred vows before the altar of God. All I ask is that you embrace the spirit of America, and help her to become even more the land of Freedom. 'Cause when you stand there with your hand on the Bible and tell me who I can or cannot marry based upon your personal religious convictions, it sure as hell feels like tyranny and oppression to me.

And you, David, have the power to turn to your church family and say, "Y'know, this is the land of freedom. We don't have to control LGBTQ people or judge them. We can let God do that. Let's let them live free. Let them get married at the county clerk, or in their own church. They sure as hell won't do it here! Let's all write letters to the editor and go out in the streets and tell them how they're doing terrible damage to themselves and the body of Christ or whatever, but let's also not be their judges and executioners. Let's let God do that."

That's all I ask.

Seda said...

One more thing:

You say, "So we are all equally guilty of sin and all deserve hell."

This is one more place where we can respectfully agree to disagree.

I believe that we are all equally endowed with love and light and beauty, and we all deserve autonomy and love.

Maybe it's just coming to the same place from different directions. I don't know. But I don't worry about your soul. I know it'll be blessed.

David Carrel said...

I am glad we can agree to disagree.
I just told my wife the other day that I am the worst debater in the world, so I am sure that I won't be able to convince you of anything.
It seems to be a religious conviction for me for Pro-life rights. Biblically, I believe that life begins at conception and to abort is to murder. For that reason, I am behind pro-life rights because of my religious belief in the sanctity of life. I believe that the Bible teaches that for our good as there are negative results to abortion. It is a religious belief that affects how I react to governmental laws.
I also believe that homosexuality has many repercussions as well. My dad wrote a book called "Is Biblical Morality Outdated?" www.drcarrel.com
in which he has a chapter devoted to the topic. He is a doctor and sees the results of what homosexuality does to a person disease wise, as well as mentally.
I combine abortion and gay rights to say that they are Biblical beliefs that drive our political agenda. Many people say that God should be our first priority in life, but I read recently that He should not be our first priority, but rather in the center of all of our priorities. He should influence everything that we do and that includes how we react politically.
The forefathers wanted to worship freely and so they came over and fought for it. They did not want the church as their government, like it was before they came over. They did, however, say that they needed Christians in government thereby affecting it. The whole separation of church and state comment is not in the constitution; it was in a letter from Thomas Jefferson to the Dansbury Baptist Association and is often taken out of context.
Well, that is all for now, I want to read your new post again and comment on that. Glad we can't discuss things.

Seda said...

David,
I'm not going to read your dad's book. I'm not interested in it.

Who are you protecting, when you outlaw marriage equality? How many homosexuals do you really suppose are going to stop having sex because they can't get a piece of paper that says they can file taxes jointly and make decisions for their spouse when he's incapacitated?

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz