So, I've been thinking of what to post for this blog. I've been tossing around several topics over the past few days: the misuse of religion, the unfair stigma of mental illness. Growing up liberal in the so-called Bible Belt region is extremely difficult. You often feel as though you are completely alone. Thus, you never try to get involved in conflict, especially if it's political or religious conflict. But this blog--and you, my wonderful, beautiful readers--has been a healthy outlet where I can be myself without starting a fight. Keeping this in mind, I decided to step back and analyze my week as a whole. As I meditated over everything that has both irritated and inspired me, I learned one crucial lesson: the world is full of gray areas. Not in the sense of the world being cold and unfeeling, but more so in that there is never an easy answer.
This may seem like common sense to most people, but for some, this statement will seem at best unorthodox, and at worst, downright heretical. Songs such as BarlowGirl's "Grey" and Bible verses such as Revelation 3:16 reinforce the idea that you can either be on one side or the other; every answer, every issue must be absolute. At least, that is how the modern church construes these messages as. Divorce? Completely evil. Going to church? Completely good. Abortion? Completely evil. However, what many don't realize is that there are many other sides to each issue, and the facts that surround each case change from person to person.
Take, for example, divorce. Many people are comfortable enough in their own shoes to say that divorce is completely evil. The Catholic Church's stance on divorce is a big "no." There are some exceptions, but not many. (Before anyone says anything about me being abusive towards Catholics, I was raised in a Catholic church, and about half of my family is Catholic, so I am familiar with their policies. Also, I am very supportive of Catholics, and I am not afraid to tear down anyone who dares to abuse them.) However, what of those who are victimized, who are endangered through these unions? Domestic abuse is a very real thing in this world. There are some people who won't be afraid to say, "Tough jerky. You should have truly known this person before making that commitment." Here's the thing, though: people are very good liars. Even while you're dating someone, you still may not be able to see their true nature. Or one could be blind to what is obvious to others. When I was dating my ex during my freshman year in college, I couldn't see that our relationship was extremely unhealthy. All he ever did was tear me down. This was around the time when I was starting to be evaluated for mental health problems. Whenever I would find myself thrust in a panic attack, he would leave me there alone, just staring at me. Often, he would call on someone else to take care of me while he went back to whatever he was doing (which was usually to play games or to hang out with his friends). It wasn't until some time after he dumped me that I saw how bad he was for me, and that I noticed that once he was out of my life, I was finally starting to feel better (or better than I was during the relationship, at least). This is true for marriage as well. He could be your dream man while you're dating him, but after you get married, he would change, and his true colors would show. And this is just one of many occasions where divorce may be necessary. It is unfair to say that all divorce is evil, when it is clear that for some people, it is needed.
And what about going to church? Many religious people will say that this is a definite good. But what if the person experiences abuse at the hands of those who claim to live by the credo "love thy neighbor?" Many members of the LGBT community experience this abuse. Hell, late last year, a Methodist minister was defrocked for presiding over his gay son's wedding. Many people experience this abuse behind closed doors, and never return to church. And you know what? I don't blame them one bit. To be perfectly honest, I would rather never go to church again than go to a place where I felt like I was treated like nothing. I don't need that negativity. Bipolar disorder has given me enough problems to tackle; the last thing I--and other people--need is to be demonized because we don't fit into a perfect mold. All that should matter is living by the two commandments Jesus gave: "Love God and love thy neighbor." Love, and the rest will follow. (And if anyone ever tells you that the only way to accurately follow those commandments is if you fit into their mold, kindly refer them to Romans 2:13-16.) But on the other hand, not every church is like that. The Episcopal Church has been a wonderful home for me over the past few years.
For all of the black and white the world tries to throw at us, abortion is the one issue that people have tried to define the most. My mother is a very godly woman, and the reason she cites that she is pro-life is that she wants to stand up for the unborn child. However, unlike my mother, most other members of the pro-life community really care more about birth than the child itself. And if the movement is called pro-life, then why do they resort to violence against abortion clinics, which sometimes even end in death? Like it or not, abortion is going to happen. I would much rather have it be safe and legal than having the mother resort to going to some back alley and have more... shall we say, unsafe procedures performed on her.
Posted by The Christian Left Facebook page
January 16, 2014
(I think my views on abortion could be best summed up by comedian George Carlin. I've really grown to love this guy's material. He is shocking, but honestly, that's what the world needs every once in a while: a good shock.)
I know I haven't really talked about my writing much this time, but honestly, I wanted to devote this entry to addressing the problems that I've been encountering. Rather than starting a fight among my friends and family, I wanted to take the time to address the problems I've been encountering, that way I can address everyone at the same time without having to jump from comment section to comment section, and in worst case scenarios, ending up resorting to ad hominem arguments. In truth, I should no longer be afraid about standing up for what I believe in. I may not enjoy conflict, but if I'm going to protect others that are victims of these supposed "black and white" arguments, then I might as well step up to the plate. In the end, Revelation 3:16 shouldn't be about defining beliefs or issues as black or white; rather, it's about being passionate about what you believe in. If you're going to believe something, go all out.
Love and Coffee Cups,