Friday, February 28, 2014

Your "faith" triggers my fear, so please don't attack me with it.

Doctrines and religious tradition are often proclaimed as sources of spiritual rest, like a pillow* for the soul.

I'd like to point out that these nice-looking coverings of faith quite easily conceal sharp knives, nails, trash, rocks, and glass mixed into the feathers-of-peace in various proportions. Some cases don't have many feathers; and I know for a fact that some people hide fully-developed weapons in there.

Remember this when you jump in for a pillow fight, especially with someone who has been hurt.

They know things can get ugly fast, so they might run away or pull out weapons of mass destruction in defense. And ... they have every reason to believe it is necessary.  You might not have been that severely damaged yet, but that doesn't mean others aren't deeply wounded ... and it may very well have been your pillow that damaged them.

For example:

  • If I see an identity marker on your car, your t-shirt is plastered with propaganda, or you toss faith references into conversation like a secret code ... I'll watch to see how you act before I trust you. 
  • If you blend proclamations of God-endorsement into your cultural opinion and expect me to accept it as truth "because God says" ... you might never figure out who I am because I'll be very tempted to wear a mask to keep you calm. 
  • If you attack people who believe or live differently just because you're afraid of their differences ... then I'm on the side of the helpless or wounded, because adding to oppression isn't loving, no matter what "holy" motives you claim. 

Ignoring the fact that millions of people are stumbling out of faith in a bloody pulp doesn't help verify the protest that ... faith and love are meant to comfort and protect.... So it's safe to hit anyone with something "wrapped" in those terms?

I grew up fully believing that flinging my faith at people saves them. Now I can no longer trust even the most charming individual who wishes to swing anything wrapped in faith at my head anymore, no matter how comforting and restful they consider their faith to be. I know how it feels to be pounded with a case of judge-mental-love, sharper than your average sword, and wielded with all the skill and finesse of an infant copying comic-knights on TV.

These experiences do teach some powerful lessons, though maybe not as intended.

I have a very rich and full measure of experiential faith, and it gives me the confidence to face life.... Still, these days I frequently take everything out of my case and look it over to make sure there are no weapons or trash hidden inside. I strongly believe my faith is not meant to be used as a weapon or even set up as an ideal for others.... It's simply where I rest. I keep a lot of questions in there to remind me to stay gentle and loving.

I'll enjoy showing the contents to you ... if you're not threatening me with your own case of faith. These experiences are important to me, after all, and I'm interested to see what you have learned, too.

But first, let's put the pillows down, so nobody gets hurt.

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*Heh ... this illustration is strained to the breaking point ... I like the effect though.