And, the two years that I spent in El Paso County seemed to carry the most annoying attitudes/questions….for those that don’t know much about Colorado geography it won’t make sense….I’ll be happy to explain in the comments…
Well… It’s a Sunday morning in November 1997 or so, and I’m settling in to my first apartment out West, and I’m handling my laundry…filling the basket and dragging it down the hall to the laundry room….I had just finished my nightwear and undergarments, and folded them as best I could, with the screaming purple satin undergarment and the matching purple tunic right at the top of this stack…All built to suit Extremely Plus Sized Me.
I was relieved because the local GodSquad, gentlemen dressed in Church suits and Brylconcrete in their hair had walked straight past the laundry room earlier…..
But it wasn’t my day…They came back and tried to have a conversation with me with the basket of my none too conservative lingerie right between us.
“Do you know Jesus?” they asked. I was so tempted to say “Just saw him. Went Thataway.” because this was during the period of my life when I was Having None To Do With Organized Religion.
Instead I played the former preachers wife card, hoping they would leave. But they kept at it…Fundamental Spiritual Laws cards passed to me right atop the decadent clothing. And further…and further. So I had to finally forcefully march them out of the laundryroom backwards and *down the hall,* before they’d hush up.
Then, when I upgraded to a better apartment in a better part of town.. there’s the housemate and myself… both disabled, both heavyset, both practically short haired….Stare. Stare. Stare….and not just a neutral one…full of suspect anger/fear/condemnation… Stare. By everyone going out to the megachurch to raise their hands and wait for healing in their matching SUV’s…but they’d stop and shoot us a look because, well…we had to be *those* kind of women…
Never assume… Once we got an hour north to Denver….the stares dropped to about 30% of the El Paso County level, and they are usually less inimical.
For both this and the last post, although I recognize that the current administration believes that nosiness has somehow now become a national duty, post 9/11… When did Americans begin to stop *minding their own business?* It’s Gawdawfull annoying, really it is.
To a podcast by writer Ben Matlin.
Who says the afterlife won’t be the place where the disabled are “released” from life, from their physical limitations. He says it won’t be the place where he can walk.
It will be the place where it *doesn’t matter* if he cannot walk.
Tonight I was watching one of my birthday goodies a DVD set of a particular season of the show “The West Wing.”
In the piece I watched tonight, the character ‘President Bartlett’ grieved a co worker…He quoted Graham Greene regarding the “…appalling strangeness of the mercy of God.”
He went on to accuse the Creator of being a “feckless thug”, cursed Deity rather magnificently in Latin, and capped his displeasure at the workings of the universe by stomping out a burning cigarette on the floor of the National Cathedral.
When a belief system is shown to have those who *from within it* openly and fearlessly show their emotions, and allow questions to arise and work themselves out in the light of day…for me, I trust those believers more , and trust those who practice in such an open fashion…Admitting imperfection, as much as celebrating joy while staying within a faith community.
Conversely, when the difficult side of theological questioning is shut away and just isn’t discussed…I’m wary. Secrecy when dealing with the workings of Deity doesn’t make for a comfortable seat in the pew. Mystery, yes. Unanswered questions always. But Deity is not a covert agent. It doesn’t fear leaks or scandal. (*Churches* don’t like scandal…but they aren’t God.)
I really hate when someone puts it better than I can (did) but the above link to a washington post article makes it abundantly clear that “people of faith” means “only people of a certain faith”
I am that oddity…a liberal and a person of faith, a faith I consider private. I’ve been involved in several communites of faith, and was recently brought up short by a comment of fellow churchgoer. (For the record: I mean to offend no faiths, my own rather patchwork personal system, or anyone elses, or those who have none) I was told, rather gently, that it was obvious my faith lacked something, because if my faith were better I and my disability would be healed by now.
I’ve tried hard not to take the above comment personally. I believe it was well intentioned…there are things about that community that appeal to me, (I have friends there and the music is awesome, so I may remain)…It’s been suggested that I *should* stay there for that very reason, that by my presence perhaps I would “teach” different thoughts about disability.
Regarding faith, there is a new Pope, with the nifty sounding name of Benedict. I understand him to be conservative regarding doctrine. I appeal to any and all people of faith: If you want more persons to come to know what you consider to be God, at the least: infuse strict doctrine or dogma with a healthy dose of mercy and compassion. I don’t believe “compromising” a moral stance has to mean closed hearts and minds. Jim Wallis, the author of a new book called “God’s Politics” wouldn’t put it that way either. If someone is part of a community of faith whose doctrine differs from yours, *or who has gotten on without a belief system* for awhile, do not assume that words like grace, mercy, compassion cannot come from these places or these people…. Many books of faith caution that we don’t know everything yet, and should *act accordingly.*
But right now, it feels like a door closing.