Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Guilt of a Super Massive Coward

I did not want to say anything ever about Mark Driscoll on this blog. The man deserves no attention from anyone but sometimes I have flashes of feelings that say “In a world with a Mark Driscoll, how can there be a loving God?” I can explain suffering but this jackass is beyond me. I know I am not a real woman and regardless of this ministry pissing me off I did not care, until it got personal.

Mars Hill has potential to become a cult: Absolute authority vested in one man, punishment to those who stray, minute control over the lives of those in it. I mean, I could see them buying some land somewhere and drinking some cool-aid. I will let you in on a secret. I am terrified of cults. The truth is anyone not aware and thinking could end up in one.

I have an old friend from college. She is such a nice sweet humble woman. She seeks after God’s will and never judged me, as far as I knew, I mean I experienced some hefty judgment in college by other Christians in college. Then I found out she goes to Mars Hill, well not Mars Hill but one of the satellite churches. What did I do? I got mad at her, well actually when I first found out about a month prior to getting angry I could not believe it and ignored it. I mean this girl was my friend, she knows how my husband and I choose to live. Not that it is really out of the norm but absolutely wrong when compared to the Mark Driscoll definition of a real marriage.

So I got angry. I figured, if I found out someone was a member of the Nazi party would I not unfriend them in disgust, even if they were my good friend? Yes, I would. Sure Mars Hill is not the Nazi party and Mark Driscoll is not Adolf Hitler, it is somehow worse because it claims to be Christian. I thought weather I should say something to her before cutting ties to her, I mean, it is not like we are BFFs or anything but whenever she has the opportunity to visit she does. She has rerouted flights to get to see me and driven through my town on cross country trips and spent the night. No one else has done these things. No one else has actually put forth that much effort to see me. Still there can be up to a year between us having contact and catching up, so not like she would notice anytime soon. I have cut off one other friend before, for different reasons without telling her, and it took her over five years to notice and it was only when I accidentally e-mailed her. I decided that since it is not like anything I had to say would do any good I just cut off ties, no word. One reason that I did this was because I am a coward, a big, huge, super massive coward. I am scared of cults. What if I said something and she told her cell and then they like started sending me hate mail. I mean, not that I matter so much, they probably would not but I have seen what the Driscollites have done to people criticizing them. They are not nice folk. Add to that, I am like the opposite of what they define as a woman.

Then I felt sad, really sad and guilty. I cried and prayed for my friend and asked God for forgiveness and guidance. Now after a week or two, I still have no answers and tear up whenever I think about her. I mean what if they do drink the cool-aid and I did nothing? What if she wants to leave and I am not there for her? What if? This is neither the first nor the last time I have felt upset due to cowardice. The only times I experience guilt and regret is when I act out of cowardice.

Have you ever been a coward? How did you feel? Do you think I should go back on my decision?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

The Problem With Blackface

Last Halloween I saw in Prisma (Finland’s Wall-Mart) a young man in blackface. He was wearing a brown 1970’s leisure suit with its typical wide collars and bellbottomed pants. He also had a black afro wig on. This does not happen in America. A Caucasian would be lynched for doing that. It is considered incredibly racist because of context. Finland does not have this same context making it not racist but ignorant. Just like the rockabilly girl with a confederate flag sown on her jacket she is probably more ignorant more than she is racist. This post is not for Americans but for other people around the world who don’t get the context.

Most of us know the context of the Nazi flag in Finland and it is only used by racists. This was not the case a few decades ago. I read a passage in a book called Häräntappoase by Anna-Leena Härkönen about this. Not having the text in front of me I will summarize from memory. The main character mentions a problem his school had with punks wearing the Swastika, in his school you weren’t really a punk unless you had one. The school had to ban them and educate the students on the holocaust. Did this dampen the enthusiasm of said punks to wear it? Not particularly. When you are proud of your identity and one of your symbols is tied up to ignorance you stick with your guns. I kind of think that a lot of rockabillies would still wear the confederate flag even if you told them what they meant; the compassionate intelligent ones would stop.

Let me explain the context of blackface as well as I can. I am no expert on it but I think I can explain a few things. It goes back to the Jim Crow era in the US, and to an even earlier time. Jim Crow laws were enacted in the South after the North won the civil war. They essentially kept Black people in the place they were in before the war. It allowed for the same discrimination. Essentially Blacks and Whites were separated in all public arenas and it made it possible for White healthcare workers to refuse lifesaving treatment to Blacks and even to refuse to perform their jobs in their presence. They prohibited intermarriage between Blacks and Whites and you were considered black no matter how little black blood you had, unless you could “pass” for white, which meant living as one and presenting yourself as 100% Caucasian [link].

This affected the casts of plays and movies, because Blacks and Whites did not perform together. For this reason White actors donned black paint on their faces to play Black people. They were always portrayed as dumb, lazy buffoons or as evil, violent and oversexed. These roles reinforced the role of blacks as less than, as animals. This helped to fuel a perversion of justice known as lynchings. Lynchings were a grotesque pass time for Southern Whites. If a Black man so much as looked at a white woman in a way that was interpreted as sexual interest by on lookers he would be hunted down and hung up on a tree and people would picnic with their children as his body bloated in the hot sun.

Lynchings were the furthest and cruelest extreme of Jim Crow. It also fostered poverty, ignorance and hopelessness. Blackface is a symbol of degrading blacks and portraying them with negative stereotypes and fueling violence and injustice. Blackface is the symbol of death and injustice the same way the swastika is or the confederation of the southern United States is. Let’s just stop blackface in Finland before it becomes a thing.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Like Race Chugging Lysol...

Do you ever feel like having discussions with certain people is like race chugging Lysol? Even when you win you still end up blind and brain damaged. You know, like most internet arguments. I have a friend who says the most ridiculous things. Not like the world will end this December but still pretty dumb.

“Have you noticed you never see disabled Rom (gypsie) children? They must keep them somewhere.” This is said in a tone implying something nefarious is going on. Perhaps that is because they are a small minority; there are fewer gypsies in Finland than black people. I see very little majority Finn disabled children in public why would I expect to see many more disabled Rom kids?

“Did you know President Tarja Halonen is secretly gay and her marriage is a sham?” How is that relevant, pray tell? I really do not care. Her secret post-menopausal yearnings are of no consequence to me. Still, I would like to point out she has a daughter, she was living with her boyfriend prior to her election and after it and only married due to a public outcry that they would not let the presidents boyfriend live in the official residence so she was not really interested in having a marriage, sham or not, she was perfectly content. It was society at large that wanted it. What makes her seem lesbian? Is it because she has short hair? Is it because she is not pretty? Is it because she is the first female president the country has had?

“Why do Native Americans live on reservations? Why don’t they just live according to their traditional ways in nature?” OMFG!!! I have just lost my sight! Go live is a sauna!

Also I have found myself saying: “Please stop imitating what you think is native American singing.” and also “Stop singing in fake African, it is really offensive.”

This girl is not stupid. She is not untraveled. She is not stuck in an ethno centric bubble. She has traveled. She hangs out with a lot of international people. Why do things like this come out of her mouth? Why does she think people with a different culture are somehow fundamentally different from her? Why do many of us think this?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Name of God more JW

I have still been in contact with the Jehovah’s witnesses and we are spinning around in circles. It is actually extremely interesting for me. The poor lady had a stroke but is recovering really well but now comes by with her husband. I really enjoy my chats with them, great people. It will be sad when they realize they are getting nowhere in converting me and stop coming by.

The subject we are still discussing is the importance of the name of God. This is not the most important topic to me, as I have steted before, but it is to them so I have an advantage but for what purpose? We are not in the midst of battle. A lot of Christians would think it a battle for souls but I do not see it that way. I hope they move onto something else because the conversation is getting stale. We are saying the same thing in different ways over and over again.

They bring up Bible verses and how we are constantly told to honor Gods name, to which I say: These passages cannot literally mean the name of God, if this was the case we would walk around saying “Oh God I honor and worship your name, oh Lord.” We are not called to honor and worship the name of God but God himself what we are dealing with here, in my opinion (obviously in my opinion, it is to be assumed, since this is my blog and others do not share the interpretation) is an expression. When it talks about how the people of God are sullying the name of Jehovah among the other nations it talks about the reputation of God.

I do not disagree that Jehovah is the name of God. I merely doubt its importance and relevance to me as his child. Calling him by a proper name makes him one among many. I do not see why I need to differentiate him from other gods when I believe there are none but him, hence the capital G. I call my parents äiti and isä (mom and dad), not Tuula and Reijo, because they are the only parents I have, I do not need to differentiate them. If I did I would feel distant from them.

“Well, Skeptigirl”, you may ask “why does the Bible mention Jahveh so many times in many versions and according to the JW in the original Hebrew?” That is an excellent question generic reader. YHWH appears in the Hebrew of the Old Testament, well a bunch of times I think. I am no Hebrew Bible scholar so let’s smoothly segway out of this, pay no attention to my waving hands and ridiculous dance routine, to English Bible translations. Four times in the KJV . Other Bible translations I cannot easily enough find the data on but in truth it is not mentioned once in the New Testament. That should give us pause. You mean, this is so important but Jesus did not mention it once? Really? That is right. I know it was written in Greek but if it was so important would the writers not have put it there.

Now I feel skeptical. Want to know what I think? Sure you do. The world view of the Old Testament was completely different from us. We must view it through those lenses. In the Old Testament there were many gods. Not really but in the world view of the people. They lived in a world populated by many local and global deities. When God introduced himself to Abraham (not as YHWH) other gods were present and worshipped in the household that God needed to be differentiated from. To Moses he said he was I Am but there is differing opinions on this point.

The point I am trying to make is that I am willing to admit the name of God is YHWH but I don’t think he meant me to call him by that name; maybe I will share with you later a story of how God taught me to refer to him. It would be useless to call him that because it creates a distance between us and assumes he may not be the only God. I believe he is and speaking to him in a way that assumes, or even hints that he is not, is irreverent. Sure, you or I can question this because irreverence is only possible if one believes in something whole heartedly. Irreverence is not possible by those who do not believe. For example, it is impossible for an atheist to be irreverent.

So that is where I am in the talk with the JW. What is going on with you?