Thursday, November 10, 2005

My kind of faith-based initiative

The writer of the distasteful yet funny "ungrateful dyke" comment on Butch Baby Makin' (look under the post on Disney) sent me on a fun goose-chase. I am usually amused by the sites behind such hateful comments, as they are often some combination of absurdity, logical missteps, and the inevitably annoying graphics. Unfortunately, it seems there has been a bit of URL fraud, and the lady whose website is indicated by the comment is apparently not the writer of the comment. Still, she and I differ greatly when it comes to faith and equality. I have decided to show some faith-based initiative and find as many things as possible that this conservative, born-again Christian and I have in common or that I can truly appreciate. Hold onto your seats, because this list is way longer than I thought it would be!
1) Though I do not share her beliefs, I think her "Statement of Faith" is written with confidence and her lifelong attempt to adhere to such a statement is admirable. Thus, I have decided to write one of my own.
2)She is "married to a man who understands [her] moods". I am engaged to a woman who understands my moods. I agree with her, this is "rare indeed".
3)I, too am "a dreamer in my spare time", though I do not have much of it!
4)She finds foul language disgusting and annoying in the extreme. Though I don't mind it for especial emphasis occasionally, I do think people use it in excess and find useless profanity annoying. For me, this led to the conclusion that "The Catcher in the Rye" is an awful book only famous for its swearing every other word.
5)After my last experience, I think I may also be "terrified of dentists".
6)"I was not popular in high school (at least by what the popular people would consider popular) and always took up for the underdog." I was constantly outcast as the class lesbian (though I was not out, even to myself), but eventually that inspired me and I started a Gay-Straight Alliance to make our school a safer place for the underdogs.
7)We share a deep appreciation for Lucille Ball.
8)"I am a conservative dresser who took heed of my mother's assertion that there's a big difference between being sexy and being cheap."
10)We love spinach.
11)I also think "Survivor is a dumb show", though I do not watch Eco-Challenge.
12)She wants to read ten literary classics. I have read 10 such classics. Now my goal is to read ten banned books.
13)Her husband is her best friend. My partner is my best friend.
14)"I believe that ADHD is a real illness, but is overly diagnosed by doctors and teachers" who have trouble dealing with "the individual spirits that make our kids who they are". She really put it well there, though I want to be clear that there are indeed kids and adults with ADHD, but I have a real problem with the frequency with which the diagnosis is used and with the harsh side-effects of the prescribed drugs while many Western medics won't consider other solutions.
15)"I believe Cosmopolitan and other such magazines are partly responsible for eating disorders."
16)"I have never seen the inside of a jail cell, nor has anyone in my family." I've been thinking about this lately, as I think it's high time for some civil disobediance. The Vermont Yankee Nuclear plant is probably going to get approval for it's dangerous hike in output and extension past its expiration date, putting 7,000 people at the risk of death should the plant have a melt-down. Those 7,000 include my parents. This is not ok.
17)She wrote a book as a kid and has never heard from the publisher she sent it to. When I was about 14, I sent a short story to a kid/teen literary magazine, and they rejected it, and I never tried again.
18)She is afraid of bumble bees. I have a major phobia of all bees.
19)Though I'd never thought about it before, I would have to say my favorite classic movie is also "The Sound of Music".
20)Her grandparents build a motel. Mine built a lakeside camp.
21)She hates flying over the ocean, but wants to go to Europe. I am absolutely terrified (won't go, won't go, won't go) of flying over the ocean! My partner wants to go there for our honeymoon, and I would too (including the Netherlands where my ancestors are from and where we could be legally married- again!)
22)"I hope my friends love me enough to tell me the truth when I'm wrong".
23)"I love to debate and do it as often as possible. It has gotten me into trouble a few times, but I just can't seem to help myself." One can't attend dinner in my family without a rousing political debate, and I love it. This scares some people until they get to know us better.
24)She believes that "sex offenders can never be rehabilitated or trusted again." I wonder about this, but I can't say I disagree. My life has been deeply affected by the experiences of my loved ones who are survivors of rape and other sexual assault. It is difficult for me to talk about and I have such feelings of helplessness and inadequacy when it comes to justice for this- though I want to be more magnanimous, my most angry and merciless feelings are reserved for the ones who attacked my loved ones.
25) In contrast, we believe in miracles.
26)"I'd like to know whose bright idea it was to name plumbing parts `male' and `female'."
27)She wants to "someday solve the mystery as to why people think Christians and doormats are synonymous". I would like to someday solve the mystery as to why some people think women, blacks, latinos, asians, gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transgender folk, single mothers, teen mothers, the disabled, the poor and working class, people of various faiths or philosophies, democrats, the Constitution, etc. are synonymous with doormats. My Women's Studies Department is helping me figure that one out right now.
28)"I simply cannot understand the multitudes of people who are now getting plastic surgery." I wholeheartedly agree. Though I think people should do what they want, I don't get it either.
29)"I firmly believe that no one can provoke you to anger unless you allow them to." I think there is a time and place and expression for anger, and that it can be sacred, but this is a good mantra that I try to keep when it comes to zealots.
30)She does not allow her kids to wear "pants large enough to house several people." I also find this trend ridiculous, and though I suppose I will allow my kids to wear what they want, if they do this I will have to point out the obvious.
31)"My dream house would be a small, cottage style house in the mountains, alive with meadows of wildflowers and clean country air." She already owns such a house. I wish!
32)She has taught her kids "to be kind to the less fortunate and to give from their need and not their surplus." I think this is a very noble value indeed.
33)She thinks it is important to be tolerant of other people and their religions or lack thereof. Though I don't think she exactly adheres to this principle in all she writes, I agree with it and try to live as respectfully as possible of others' faiths.
34)She quotes from Proverbs, Chapter 4: "An excellent wife, who can find? For her worth is far above jewels." I aspire to many of the qualities of the wife described in this book of the Bible. Who knew? I am so lucky that my partner will indeed be such "an excellent wife" to me.
35)We love Sundays, lit fireplaces, hot cocoa, good movies, family dinners, traveling, crafting, the outdoors, decorating, gardening, and probably lots of other things.
36)She courageously started her own business and is doing well with it. I aspire to start my own business.
37)"I truly believe that God commanded us to love, because love covers a multitude of things and can change the unchangeable and penetrate the impenetrable because God IS the essence of love. Love bridges the gap. To be loved is man's greatest desire. You will never bring someone to understanding without love." Though we really differ on our concept of divinity, and also seem to differ on what exactly constitutes love, we both believe that love is the true divine and the aspiration of human life.
I am glad to have done this exercise. It has been time-consuming and though I usually find it troubling to read the words of people who dislike me for who I am (often religious conservatives), I feel very different about this one. I think it truly helps everyone to do their absolute best to find their common ground and work toward understanding from there. Sometimes it's not possible, but this time, at least for me, it was possible, and I feel the better for it.

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