Posts Tagged ‘religion’

Casual non-racism that could sound racist to the casual observer.

June 7, 2013

It’s always nice when your son notices a niqab properly for the first time and loudly says, ‘What’s wrong with her throat?’ because he thinks the woman is wrapped in bandages. Or when two other Muslim families are at the playground with us, and because of our new fascination with languages other than English, he then says in his factual tone, ‘Some people speak other languages. It sounds like this: gooBEgooblahdedahmemahheHAW.’

And let’s not forget your daughter. Three times in her life she has said a variation of, ‘I don’t like that girl. Her vest is furry.’ AKA. I don’t like a new person because of whatever difference there is between us. It’s not that she doesn’t really like them or is terrified of differences, but rather she doesn’t feel like socialising so must invent a reason to dislike someone. Once, a girl in a furry vest. Once, a boy with a bloody nose. Once, at the top of her lungs, ‘I don’t like that boy. He’s black.’ Did the ground fucking swallow me whole?!

Generally I love being taken by surprise by their quirky observations of the world and the people in it, but on these rare occasions the surprise is more akin to suddenly having a tonne of ice dropped on your prostrate, naked body.

Incidentally, trying to explain a niqab/hijab to a three year old who has never heard of any sort of god or formal religion is a real treat.

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The one I almost didn’t post because I was afraid of backlash.

June 5, 2013

I asked TMD, ‘Hey, what sort of person signs their text message with the word “blessings”?’ She thought similarly to me – Christian or Pagan. We chatted a few more minutes, then moved on with our lives.

She went to work, and I took the kids over to their friend’s house – and my new friend, the one who offered me blessings. I met them a few weeks back at a large home ed gathering and we ended up talking because Coco really hit it off with one of her boys. I liked the kids, I liked the mum, I scored her digits and BAM. Playdate time, baby.

It turns out she is Christian. The sort of Christian that has all these cute amazing crafts hanging up that her kids have made, but they all reference Jesus. Lots of Bibles.

And, you know, that’s fine. Except that super Christian people don’t always love gay people. And I don’t remember if I came out to her when we met.

Now, the whole should I or shouldn’t I coming out debate is not one I often participate in. The decision to not come out is one I very, very rarely take. I can remember once or twice in the last thirteen years I’ve let someone assume I was straight. My long blonde hair, style of dress, etc often means most people assume I am straight. So I am very practiced at coming out, and usually work it pretty early into a conversation because I find it’s better to let people know they are in conversation with a queer bee, otherwise you end up in awkward conversations where they are asking about your husband and you tell them you have a wife and they are horrified they assumed wrongly and apologise and tell you all about their gay friends. Seriously. Better to avoid.

But this lady? We met at a farm. Our kids played together a lot. We looked for baby chicks together. My son smashed his face into her kid’s head on a trampoline and we couldn’t get the bleeding to stop. So I don’t think the gay thing came up.

I try to assume the best of people. There is no reason to think she wouldn’t be okay with me. The amazing Aussie is Christian and she is a staunch defender of civil rights of all shapes and sizes; she is the sort of right on, activist person I think Jesus would have totally dug.

So, should this lady ask, of course I will come out. But today? Today I kept my mouth shut.

Because all the Bible quotes and crafts made me feel a bit uncomfortable. A smidgen awkward. A mite squeamish. I wouldn’t have minded them at all if I knew she knew I was gay and invited me over anyway.

Generally, Christians in Country B are much more progressive than those in Country A. My experience with Christianity, in many flavours, in Country A, has left me with pink scar lines running across me. People have hurled insults at me, made vitriolic comments, told me I was going straight to hell, and much, much worse. My own mother would have nothing to do with me, all in the name of Christianity. A blog reader once told me she liked me even though I was gay, then emailed me a five page letter about my sins. I spent twelve years in a Catholic school that wasn’t shy about their ideas on homosexuality. It’s made me automatically register when people mention they are Christians in a way that I don’t react to Jewish people, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, whatever. And perhaps that is wrong of me, but I also have no firsthand experience with Christian Christians here in Country B.

The Christian toys, art, books, etc that were everywhere, combined with the blessings text, make me assume she is a Christian Christian. I look forward to coming back here and telling you all she is super okay with me and my ‘lifestyle choices’. I hope none of you call me a Christian basher. But it is true that much of my life is spent reading, listening, and observing what Christian people think of homosexuality, and a lot of is a poisonous.

I don’t assume all Christians, or even most Christians, feel this way. I’ve been personally involved in a great Anglican church, various Quaker meetings, and Unitarian chapels. But there is no denying that I have a self protective mode that makes me hyperconcious and uncomfortable….it is also a way I rarely feel anymore, now that I am older and more confident, now that I am surrounded by people of my choosing.

I had a great time today at her house. Our kids still all get along well. I like this woman a lot; she’s warm and gentle with her kids and seems really genuine. So I will be inviting her to our home sometime in the next couple of weeks, and I genuinely hope a real friendship can blossom.

But I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous about telling her I’m gay.

Christianity for all.

April 14, 2011

image

This is not meant to mock Christians. More to say, why does our local government service supporting families with young children give away free Toddler Bible books – with no other alternatives – at playgroup? For every Christian holiday, but no others?

I walked home with two Indian mothers. One of them has a kid old enough to look at this page and think, ‘what the fuck.’ Well, maybe. She’s almost three.

This sort of thing makes me very uncomfortable. I don’t begrudge people celebrating the holidays they choose to celebrate. I intend to explore various religious and philosophical traditions with Snort and Coconut.

I just don’t like feeling smashed into the majority. It makes me feel closeted. And I handle it the way I handle being queer – I am open about who I am and what I do – or don’t – believe.

Not sure these books featuring pictures of a sad Jesus getting killed will be staying in our home.

Conversations, 2012 style.

December 22, 2010

Mom: Existere, are you going to teach your children about God?

Me: No.

Mom: Deep silence. Wow, no wonder the world is coming to an end.

(And people wonder why I think so highly of myself. Come on, guys, my mom leads me to believe I am solely responsible for the possible coming apocalypse.)

Social commentary.

April 23, 2009

My mother just told me that the babies will go straight to hell if something happens to them and we haven’t had them baptised. Can I just offer up my opinion on how utterly fucked up religion can be?

…sun glinting off a river…leather couches.

March 25, 2009

In an altogether awkward, reflective mood today. Had a bad night last night, and a badish morning today. Every now and then these little bubbles of the unpleasant and unexpected pop up, and I wonder where they have come from and when they will go away again.

I also am thinking about my grandmother today. A few days ago my mother emailed me in response to my bump pictures and said, ‘I hope grandma can see you.’ I didn’t know what she was talking about – she was grandma, and hadn’t she just seen all the photos? TMD said, ‘She means YOUR grandma.’ A surge of something came over me – guilt for not remembering, loss for what I/she/TMD/the babies are missing, warmth at her memory.

This morning Chirp wrote to me about my grandmother, out of nowhere – with a quote of what she thinks my grandma would say about all these babies. It made me smile, and tear up a little.

The Polish Catholic part of me, the part of me who just started reading Eat, Pray, Love today (thank you, Tia!), thought for just a second – is this my grandmother trying to come through to me? Twice mentioned in one week after a too long absence? Then the pragmatic part of me briskly slapped me about the face and told me to gather myself in, to be real.

Today I am in the office for a little while in the morning, then lay down/eat lunch for an hour, then travel across the city to go to an afternoon training. It’s in a big, iconic building that every tourist will have seen – right along the river. I’m going to push myself out of the crowded public transport system and wind my way to the river, walking along the banks to go to the training. While it’s a slightly longer route and walking is not my friend these days, I long to see the sun bounce off the river, to see all the crowds, to walk along and marvel that I, plain old Existere from a countryish background in an ordinary backdrop, now live in this (mostly) extraordinary country.

Here’s hoping the sun cooperates.

After the training I’d like to find myself a little hole to curl up in with this book, sometimes reading and sometimes thinking about my very slipped Buddhist practice. My mother and I had a conversation last week where she told me to pray to God with  my worries, that everything was out of human control anyway. I said I thought most things were actually our choices, actions, etc.  We came to a somewhat happy compromise – an altogether interesting thing to happen when our spiritual views are (I think, anyway) far apart.

But whoever you pray to, whatever you believe or don’t believe, I suspect many things are actually one and the same. TMD’s strong atheism makes me nervous, people who are strongly religious make me nervous. I’m just here on my little island, wondering and curious and hopeful and pessimistic.

All things considered, though, I’m doing okay.

Spread the love.

September 30, 2008

Eid Mubarak and Happy Rose Hashanah!!!

Two holidays on one day. Is this like a religious eclipse? If so, good things should happen today. Oh wait, my parking already sorted itself out.

Seriously, though, to my pallies who’ve been fasting for all of Ramadan – enjoy eating during sunlight again. No more vampire foodie lifestyle. And to the non-Muslim Jews of my aquaintance, happy New Year!

(And another religious holiday: a woman in an office below ours asked me to join her ‘choir’ and practice Christmas songs. I smiled and tried not to betray my nervous twitches.)

[this space reserved for Rose Hashanah flair, which does not exist.:( ]

Don’t put your posters up unless you think about the implications. Also, I think I would prefer reincarnation so that I could keep on learning and growing. I have not yet conquered level one!

September 12, 2008

There’s quite a popular Christian course – not just in this country, apparently, but in loads. Every year at about this time they have a heavy recruitment drive. Their banners/posters are everywhere, and usually feature a question or a statement implying that people can’t possibly be happy without God in their life. Now, I don’t want to start a debate about whether or not that is true. Even leaving aside my own beliefs (as much as I can, anyway), the posters this year are annoying the hell out of me.

(Perhaps what they intend – if all my ‘hell’ is annoyed away, will heaven remain?)

ANYWAY. The slogan is ‘Is this it?’ Under that in smaller letters it says, ‘If God did exist, what would you ask?’ I’ve got no problem with that second question. In fact, I think it’s really good. The first one is the one that I am beginning to find irritating beyond belief – and sad.

Is this it? Is what it? The full experience of being a human is immense. Watching someone’s life slip away, giving birth, first kisses, the anxiety about where life is heading, the decisions we make. I think my own personal panic isn’t about worrying that this is it. It’s about wondering where I’ll ever get the time to experience all that I want to. Life is not too small for me, no, sometimes it is too big.

It seems to me you’ve got a balancing act between doing and being. On the doing side is stuff like climbing Everest, travelling the world, owning a restaurant, learning to tap dance, moving to India. The doing side is huge huge huge – none of us could ever do everything the world has to offer. But regardless of how little or big our ‘doings’ are, we all emcompass the ‘beings’ every single day.

It’s experiencing how we feel and who we are in the day-to-day bits of life. I think the job of learning what it means to fully experience humanity, emotions, creativity, relationships is something grand and not impossible. It can happen whether you have an ‘ordinary’ life or not. It’s more than who you are sleeping with, how much money you have, all your ambitions. It’s somehow smaller and bigger than those things.

So, is this it? I think there is more than enough on offer to suit me at this moment. I don’t know if I’ll publish a book, learn to play the cello, or hike the Appalachin Trail. But I do know that whatever I feel, think, AM during those moments of waiting-to-do, not-doing, and wow-this-is-incredibles is what my own challenge is. And it is ‘it’ – enough, divine, inspiring, difficult, whole.