Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Fundamental fear and freedom in love

Hannah, at Wine and Marble, posted an interesting assessment of "the ethics of leaving fundamentalism" ... taking the word out of my expected "churchy" definition to reveal how the overall attitude and social effects of a fundamentalist stance can simply transfer into a new ideology. I was going to respond in the comments, but my thoughts were expanding rapidly, so blog-post it is.

The ethics of unlearning fundamentalism must go much deeper than just jumping to the other side of your line in the sand. -- Hannah

I've been dealing with this a lot while wading through the detritus of my past. My instinctive response to people who believe like those who hurt me is fear/push-back. They have little chance to build relationship with me if they use too many code-words or sound the least bit judgmental, even though I know very well how it is to think that way because I used to be like them.

I watch my internal walls go up and realize I'm not being fair to the person in front of me. Usually, they are not trying to attack me, or even correct me. They think they are being helpful, encouraging,... flexible, even.

Yet as I recognize their labels and frames, I frame and label them as "other" and "dangerous" in response.

Trying to stand as close
as restrictions allow,
they strain to reach through
cracks and gaps and gates
of love in their beliefs
and cry, proclaim, or say,

"I can go no further.
If you stand right here,
draw near, come to
the wall between us,
I will reach through
and offer you these gifts."

They do not understand
this fear of their frameworks.
They do not see the poison
in their healing potions.
They simply want to nurture
and do not know how.

I know how conflicted I always am when I try to both love and keep inside a predefined framework of correct action and thought.  While feeling founded on correct fundamentals, whatever they may be, the dividing effects on relational processes do not always align with my intentions toward unity.

I don't always recognize the damage I cause when I respond through my view of the world, thinking I am seeing what others ought to know.

If I do not intentionally shake my foundations, both new and old, I will easily slip into the restrictions of fundamental beliefs. Yet there is no escaping living based  on what I know of the world, whether I am fearful or loving in my approach.

The difference is that fear makes walls, draws lines, separates ...

Love sees that even the greatest wrong, the most distinct separation, the most crucial error in perception ... can be shifted, altered, transformed, corrected, broken ... and that I am not immune to these effects myself. I, too, am being changed, even as I live within that process and attempt to share it with others.

Because we are all learning, I can react with hope for transformation.

Even when I point out the poison and highlight the failures in an ideology. Even when I unveil the secret, mass graves beneath the stately whitewashed walls of a fundamentalist construct. Even when I protect the wounded. Even when I am rightly angry at abuse, deceit, and corruption.

There is no victory in using the same weapons as "the enemy." Such attacks only anchor them deeper into their foundations. I see the effect of their methods on myself, as well. Is it useful to entrench them further?

I don't know how to love some people. Honestly, I'm figuring this out, as I stumble into life.

For now:

When I realize how incapable I am of seeing their value as unique individuals caught within a machine, I try to restrain my words about them and focus only on the thoughts, ideals, stories, and contrasts I gain from their challenges against my identity. I'm still learning to offer even those who hate and attack myself and others the same respect I hope will be given to my story. Recognition of process toward change. Realization that there is always more than can be seen.

It doesn't stop me from communicating disagreement, protecting others when I can, challenging their blindness,... or even fearing them (Sad to say, because I think that fear blocks my ability to see them for who they are.) ... but it does alter my response. I leave room for hope and transformation inside my perspective of them, even as I attempt to stand firm against the damage caused by their blindness. I'm not sure what else I can do ... but it is a start.

If I'm going to have a fundamental stance by my nature and training, then may it be founded on a love that sees through onion-layers of masks and searches out the mystery-path to mutual healing and growth wherever possible.