Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Sitting Out the Codependent Polka

I know that I've been somewhat scarce around here in past weeks. Part of that has been due to -- marvel of marvels -- actually gaining a personal life; but part of it has been about getting involved, again, in a pretty dysfunctional Internet forum that has been sapping not only my time and attention but, in a real way, my spirit. (Constant Readers will remember this same sad tale last year.)

This week, after grinding down my tooth enamel yet again over homophobic blather, theological ignorance and general silliness, I started a topic thread where I opined that Christians are really their own worst enemies -- that every time I've wanted to bail off the Jesus bus, it's been not because of him but because of his self-professed friends. In response I received enough negative comments to wake me up, again, and realize how much time I have wasted on this forum. I bid my adieus, citing Jesus' advice that there's a time to just hand the situation over to God and get out of Dodge, and was then treated to frowny-faced lecturement about how Real Christians[tm] stick with their communities no matter what. Which reminded me of a bumper sticker I once saw, "I Heart My Codependent Relationship."

Well, I guess I'm just not good enough to be in this august company (many members of which, I should note, remain silent on a serial basis while others vomit homophobia and other "I'm right -- you're going to hell" sentiments over that forum -- so much for holding hands with the Christian sisters and brothers and singing "Kumbaya"), so I'm happy to retreat back to my other home on the Internet, where the standards are much lower.

If I say anything here, ever again, about getting involved on an Internet discussion forum, please help me -- organize an intervention, or dope-slap me, or something.

21 comments:

Rachel's Big Dunk said...

LC,

I will personally get on a plane and come to your house and whack you upside the head. Because "Real Christians" don't hang out with pharisees.

Because having your soul sucked dry by something like that does nothing for bringing about the kingdom.

Because you are too wonderful to be made to feel small.

Because here, in cyberland, we love you.

Ladybug6472 said...

Don't forget - they crucified our Lord, and we are not any better than He. Take heart, Tawonda, and just be true to Him as He has revealed Himself to you and don't worry about other folks. Folks (I mean 'other folks' - not 'good, sensible folks' like me - ummmm....) will send you to the nut house real quick. Like my grandmother said: 'Wear this world like a loose garment'. God is in control and He is supreme and He is pure love and grace and mercy. I am so glad He is not like 'folks'!! He loves us anyhow! All the time!

P.S. (an after-thought) said...

Although I didn't get into it as thick as you did, I have gone to some of those hateful sites and didn't realize the venom until I said something. Doesn't need to be homophobia, just anti-woman, anti-not-my-breed-of-fundies, etc. There are the grace-ful christians who try to go with WWJD and the grace-less ones. Check out the link that LP posted a couple of days ago. Akkkk.

They say you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, so I don't understand the connection between so-called "evangelicals" (ie spreading the Word) and those that spew vinegar and manure.

But the main problem with people like you and me is that we expect rational discussion, ie using our God-given brain. You won't find that on the hateful sites. So don't even bother to argue; it doesn't make any difference.

I chose my blog's subtitle for a good reason. "God gave us minds: Let's use them!"

*Christopher said...

LC,

We stand by for an intervention if needed. These days I don't even press "click" to such sites. I'm saner for it.

Grace said...

LC, I'm sorry that you're having such a rough time. And, it does sound like you need to pull back. But, God bless you for caring. Those folks surely needed your witness, and sometimes even if it seems as if nothing is really making an impact, we can never realize the difference our words are making in people's lives over time. God is faithful!!

God bless you!

Rainbow Pastor said...

(Whack on LC's forehead)

Lawd JEE-zus, we just ask you to HEAL our sis-tah ELL-CEEE of her co-dePENdency on those who would HARM her inner PEACE and GRACE! Drive OUT those DEEE-MONS of compulsion that DRIVE her to those nefarious SITES of FRUStration! A-MEN!

There (dusting off my hands). All done.

Rev. Dona Quixote is a great teacher...

Questing Parson said...

This is my take on it:

If an idiot gives his life to Christ, what you have is a Christian who is an idiot.

net said...

I've arrived at some of the same conclusions as you, LC. I am so tired of "christians" who "promote" Jesus as a way of trying to manipulate others into believing the way they do. And when their message is rejected, they write the others off.

I'm so glad Jesus doesn't write us off. I just want people to meet Jesus and not get tangled up in the "stuff" people project onto Christianity.

"Not my day to judge."

I (heart) Questing Parson!

Mata H said...

This is such a tough one, as your efforts in those forums has been more heroic than anyone else that I know, and surely infinitely more heroic than my paltry contribution. I just keep feeling internally nagged by the sense that I am 'supposed' to engage them, supposed to love them....for now it will be love at a distance...

LutheranChik said...

Well, I have been told -- scolded, actually, in both a sneering way and in a Concerned Sibling in Christ way -- that "loving from a distance" is not an option. (Interesting, since Jesus and his friends "got out of Dodge" more than once.)

I know that my pastor once told me jokingly that he considered my online adventures missionary work amongst the Christians...but I think I need an extended furlough from that gig. And interestingly, the unholy riff-raff (from the Real Christians'[tm] point of view), once they get over the shock of hearing that I'm a Christian in training for the lay ministry and stop treating me as if I'm irradiated and glowing, LOL, take my beliefs a lot more seriously and respectfully than many Real Christians [tm]. (One of whom was kicking us in the teeth again in the regional daily paper last night. I am, as she put it, "detestable." I don't think that people who say, "Well, people are mean to me too" really understand the difference between, say, getting picked on for being chunky in first grade, or even being at the receiving end of a Jack Chick tract tirade, and having your person and character continually assaulted day after day after day by a broad assortment of Christians who really believe that the world would be a better place if you weren't in it.)

Tom in Ontario said...

I haven't visited Beliefnet in months. I don't remember the last time I was there, maybe it's been over a year. I just found it a waste of time.

There's another site I go to that has a general discussion section that I've given up on as well. I still go to the lectionary discussion though, it's actually helpful.

I'd say that if you're having a positive effect on a group or if they're having a positive effect on you then stick it out. If they're just bringing you down then you don't need them.

LutheranChik said...

I like the Learn About Christianity forum on Beliefnet because it actually does help people, and it's set up in a way so that all responses have to be to the initial question, and not directed toward other respondents...so no fighting. You get to be positive and proactive in providing information or even an opinion, if that's what's asked for, and not have to worry about what one online pal calls the Peanut Gallery.

Reverend Dona Quixote said...

LC,

I second RP's comment [whack! be HEEEEELUD in the NAAAAAME of JEEEEZZZZZUUUSSSSS] and I certainly think a departure from the discussion group in question is in order. There's at least one online pastor's discussion forum I no longer participate in because the tone of the discourse is often brutal and I've decided that I'd rather spend time elsewhere ... [I wonder if it's the same one Tom in Ontario has mentioned?]

Something I thought about as I read your post is that not even Jesus did his ministry alone --he sent out the 12 and then the 70-- nor did he expect his disciples to do it alone --he sent them out two by two when he sent them out.

Sounds to me like you were very much alone on the forum in question. Not at all a good place to be in.

And yes, a part of the difficulty in dealing with homophobic, heterosexist Christians is they fail to acknowledge that when they attack queers, they are attacking who we are, not what we do. It is exhausting to be in a place where one is consistently and constantly dehumanized. And then, they have the audacity to define their attack as "hating the sin, loving the sinner." Bullshit!

I know this --that Jesus' ministry was something of a dance. Sometimes, as when he retreated alone or with his disciples, he loved people from a distance! Sometimes, he was right there in the midst of the masses, pressing all manner of flesh, loving very intimately. He did neither one exclusively ...

And you know, the gospels never told us what Jesus was doing while the twelve and the seventy were out doing their thing. How do we know he wasn't hanging out in Bethany with Lazarus, Martha, Mary and the rest of the gang whom he appears to have considered his "family of choice ...?"

Grace said...

LC,

Your friend, Rev. Quixote, has a really good point. Maybe it would be wise to have a couple of Christian friends with you on these forums who might also see this as a ministry for mutual support and encouragement. Then you also would be able to pray together for the people you are trying to impact.

I think with attacks coming from every side for one person alone this might prove very overwhelming. But, it does at the sametime, seem to me to be a real area of need, and evangelical outreach if God is leading you in this direction.

Our Lord ate with publicans and sinners. No one is beyond His grace. Thank God that He doesn't give up on any of us.

LutheranChik said...

I have a few allies -- and good ones, I'd add -- on this particular forum; but there's also a lot of dead silence that provides lots of space for serial bullies and blowhards. And I think that the silence has to do with people's discomfort level with at least one issue at hand, which I have taken to interpret as discomfort with me. I feel silent disapproval and even disappointment. And -- you know what? -- I'm just tired of dealing with that. Tired. The way I'm tired of opening my newspaper when I get home and reading the latest installment of condemnation from the local vox populi.

I think at one point I had a very naive fantasy that if I just kept sharing my everyday life and my thoughts on faith with other Beliefnetters the "otherness" would go away, but it hasn't happened.

Katherine said...

As one whose had a bit of trouble in online forums myself, I agree that sometimes it's just best to walk away. The veil of anonymity inspires some participants to just be mean-spirited bullies who think they can get away with utter viciousness. No good.

Sarcastic Lutheran said...

Fuck 'em.
I simply can't handle the whole self-righteous Christian thing. If I COULD be something other than Christian I would, mostly due to Christians, not Christ, but alas, I simply can't. So, what do we fringe-dwellers of the church do? We make sure that the haters are not the only voices out there. We refuse to shut up and we refuse to go away and we refuse to stop proclaiming the Gospel, after all, that's our golden ticket. Thanks be to God for the Gospel. A light shines in the darkness sister, and the darkness can not, will not, shall not over come it.

Grace said...

Lutheranchik,

I can't even imagine what this must be like for you, and how much it must hurt to feel this kind of attack and core rejection. I can only share that I was reached by the witness of gay and lesbian Christians in the church, and I thank God for that.

I think that sometimes our timing is not God's timing, and we don't always realize the difference our influence and witness can make in people's lives over time.

Thank you so much for your committment, and ministry in the ELCA. Please take care of yourself, and be spiritually refreshed and renewed.

God bless you!!

toujoursdan said...

One of the sad/disturbing things, not just on C2C Debate, but in society in general is the breakdown of civility and the rising attitude that compromise is a sign of weakness. I enjoy much of the dialogue I see on these online forums but can't help but wonder where these attitudes will lead us.

LutheranChik said...

I'm not sure how you can achieve any sort of compromise with, say, someone who has publicly wished you dead, and who thinks that your presence upon the planet is an "abomination" because The Bible Sez [tm] -- but who, curiously, still holds you to the Jesusian standard of turning the other cheek. You know, "Stop whining and squirming so much while I kick out your teeth with my jackboot, because that's what Jesus would want you to do." (And you know what conversation that's all about, and with whom.) Yeah...lots of moral authority there.

I just can't be with these people anymore. I don't have the energy.

RuthRE said...

I'd concur with the lovely Sarcastic Lutheran....(and check out her new tatoo).