some lines are good

I think our culture needs a distinct line drawn between self and others, a line that blurs constantly due to our increased levels of communication. The blurred line means that anyone believes they have the right to comment on anyone else, whether we're in the car, chatting with friends, or on Twitter. Well, Americans do have that right, thank God. 

But it doesn't make exercising that right at all times, well, right.

I think our culture would benefit from people doing what I encourage my kids to do: Focus On Yourself First.  Everyone could take a good dose of that, figure out what works for Self and leave expectations for others outside the equation. I challenge myself with this pretty often. For instance, I find a great deal of peace in my faith. I could go on about it all day, trying to get people to come to my church and gain what I have there. And I would mean well. But I recognize it's not my place. I've found my peace, yeah, but I have to constantly remind myself: who is to say my peace is someone else's? I force myself to recognize the difference.

Not so, most people.

And trust me, it's something I've gone round and round with in SCAR. I finally decided Trinidad and Castile need to have a couple of heated, honest discussions about faith. Not very comfortable scenes for me to write. It's my dealbreaker with evangelist Christians and why I can't claim them as brethren. I honestly do not believe it is our place to "recruit" and I have a pretty strong reaction to people who do. I really do believe they have it wrong.

People might call me a "gay" proponent. And I'll claim that. Most of it dates to a personal decision to accept my fellow humans and wish the same for them as I have. I'm very blessed in many ways, and why shouldn't others have that too? Many of them are more deserving than me!

I was with my husband for 5 years before we married. We literally grew up together from the age of 19-24 (and since!) We had a ten minute ceremony in a church we haven't been to since. And yet, things changed between us. Because of my faith, I truly believe having an ordained person (someone who has committed himself to God on a deeper level than most of us, intellectually, emotionally, and spiritually) marry us sanctified our union in God's eyes.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know how that sounds. I've only come up with this way to explain: during communion at my church the priest calls the angels and the archangels to the table. Do they come? Do they exist? Can't prove it. I only know I'm a better person for believing that they do. So for whatever reason, my marriage made my husband and I better together.  The idea that laws keep certain people from achieving the same state with the person they love is just stupid.

HOWEVER, I don't expect every church and every person to accept that for all people. I do expect that right should be granted to all and tolerated by all. (If I forced people to accept such a thing, I'm no better than the evangelists.)

But the issues of gays has a personal slant to me. I think I picked a pretty volatile issue on purpose. 20 years ago, homosexuality wasn't on my radar. It wasn't that I was against it. I just didn't think about it all. But over the years, it came to the forefront for me. I can't date it to a person or an event. But yesterday I realized it started out as almost a tool for me.  I use how people judge gays and their rights as a measuring stick to integrity and worth. If someone hates gays, or even just tolerates them, but doesn't believe they deserve the same right to marriage that straights do, I'm probably going to put some serious distance between me and that person. ++++I've done it before with churches.++++ Because, to me, accepting only SOME of God's creatures is the ultimate hypocrisy. (Another post altogether.)

I'm probably going to talk more about DIFFERENCES in the coming week, dig into it deeper. I'd love to know your thoughts. And I realize my beliefs in marriage and my faith might put someone off. But these are issues that require my touching on my opinions, if I'm to be honest. I certainly don't mean to downgrade anyone's relationship; for all I know, other people can achieve the same joy I have without marriage. We might just be a bit neanderthal that way. :)


Erica Orloff said...

Well, I think you know how I feel on the topic. I believe marriage is a fundamental right for ALL citizens.

On the flip side, I don't feel quite the same way you do about a marriage in a church by an ordained person. It doesn't have meaning in that way for ME personally--but I recognize the beauty of that for others and feel if someone wants to make that commitment in that way, it should be available to them, gay or straight.

And I find it fascinating about your measuring stick--because it is the same one for me. I am not sure why other than I have deeply loved gay friends, and they constitute some of my deepest, most enduring, and most trusted friendships. I have one friend now transitioning from man to woman, and it is a new journey for me. I once loved him very deeply when I was 20.

I also think part of my activism or devotion to the issue is I was living in NYC at the height of the AIDS crisis, working in publishing (creative field . . . a lot of gay people) when in some circles there was a funeral a week . . . and saw friends with AIDS shunned by family. I have two friends now who are HIV positive. One has full-blown AIDS, and one is positive but healthy. The first time I had one of those men over for dinner, my mother freaked out that I let him kiss my kids and dangle them on his knee. But I . . . can't explain it, but living through the crisis as it was going on, I came out so much more aware of tolerance and inclusion than before. And I am pretty happy to state I have dragged my aging parents kicking and screaming over to the side of tolerance too. LOL!

Natasha Fondren said...

Well, I went to conservatory. Homophobia was not a huge issue in that community. We also came of age at the tail end of the AIDS scare, so we were very educated about it, and I don't think anyone I knew contracted HIV.

And after I started writing erotica, I just talked with so many women who were afraid to share their desires with their partners, even after twenty-some years of marriage. They ached to express their sexuality, and I can't tell you how many of them would have (and would) do anything to not have those unfulfilled desires. That core, central part of them is absolutely miserable, and it's heartbreaking.

I've dated two people who were, shall we say, conditioned by society into "not being gay." It's tragic for them, but it was also tragic for me. They tried long enough for us to fall in love, but then they could no longer hide that they felt the female body repulsive. And by the time I figured out what was going on, my confidence was shattered and it was a large emotional mess for everyone.

Our sexuality is not something we can just change, and it is a core, very deep need. When I write, I often imagine I'm holding that part of my readers in my hand, and just blowing as much love and understanding on it as I can.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

Ditto on the HIV. Won't say more than that.

Natasha, that's really beautiful. I had a couple of readers ask me how I was able to write competently about wanting women, not being gay. I'm not sure about it, but I tried really hard to be empathetic and understanding. Also, heck, women are hot.

My mom lives in Tope-ka, where the Phe-l-ps are very active. They even protested at her church last Sunday! Apparently there's an article in TIME that covers them. I'd like to read it.

(I messed up the names so they don't catch this on the googles.)

The first thing I thought of this morning were those poor families who lost their kids this week. Having spend a couple of days consoling and coaching my son on navigating hatred in Middle School, I can totally identify. Suicide is a real fear for those of us who don't have boring, normal kids. The more we openly recognize that, the more we can stop hatred.

Dominique said...

I know what you mean about using acceptance as a measuring stick. I have a lot of friends who are LGBTQ. I love them and the idea that someone would hate them or judge them without knowing them just makes me mad.

I don't ask others to live as I do, and I expect the same in return.

No tolerance for intolerance.

Great post.

sex scenes at starbucks, said...

For me it's spreading further than the LGBT gig, but it's about accepting differences in all people! (Or tolerating, whatever.)

I think that's why I liked the video so much. I want my 11 year old to watch it, not because he's gay but because he's in middle school where I'm sure it feels it often will never end.

Peter Dudley said...

Well said.

Tolerance and inclusion are causes worthy of 8 billion champions.

For me, one of the things that made me very conscious of my own prejudices and biases was my grandmother. She was racist, but I think she felt bad about it. Where I was growing up in the 1970s, white-black relations was a big topic.

Yet my grandmother would tell stories of when she was little, and the Polish hated the Germans who hated the Irish who hated the Swedes or whatever. I was always afraid to ask her why they hated each other. Weren't they all white? Why would white people hate each other?

I hope that some day our grandchildren will listen to us tell stories about today's prejudice and bigotry and ask something like, "But you're all Americans. Why could Americans hate each other?"

Then maybe their grandchildren will ask the next logical question...