Originally posted on July 22nd, 2016:
I consider myself to be a pretty tolerant individual. I give all viewpoints a look to see if there is anything I can take from them to help enhance my personal quest, and give everyone time to state why they believe what they believe. If I disagree, then it is an agreement to disagree, while respecting another person’s viewpoint. One thing I do believe, is that we all have our own journey to take while we are here. One that may be touched by crisis and bad decisions at times, but it is the learning from those experiences that is the most important jewel to be mined.
However, in my older years, I have grown tired of the few nomadic sects that seem to find their way to my doorstep. And I do find that motherhood has removed the too polite, pushover button that I used to have, back in the day. As I said previously, I give everyone a chance to state what they believe in their hearts, and will offer a drink and a comfortable seat on the couch and a chance for them to rest a little while before their next stop. What I do not condone, is someone coming into my home convinced that they are going to convert me no matter what and completely ignoring my life’s unique journey–thereby hopelessly blurring the lines between friendly conversation and encyclopedia salesperson from the ninth circle of hell.
What is it about the audacity of some people that makes them come into your home, look around at what they perceive to be an amusement park for sinners run amok, and then speak in condescending tones as if you should be forever grateful that they showed up when they did? For me, since I was raised Baptist, and now have mostly a non-denominational vibe going on, this violates two principles that I was proud to have learned from my family:
1. If we are all made in the image of the Divine, no one is better than anyone else, and cannot judge you.
2. Fanatical Religiosity is just plain out of the scope of what we are here to do.
So if you violate those two basic points upon entering, you may get in the door, but now you have to deal with a brick wall called Trina. And having some knowledge of what the Bible does say, I do not sit there and ingest the wall of judgement that is being pushed in my direction. What I do upon feeling this energy, and hearing what I soon determine to be insipid remarks designed to make me fearful and an instant convert, get up quietly, go get my Bible, and respectfully give as good as I am getting. I chose not to embroil myself in anger, if only to shed more of a light on the judgmental person sitting in my living room. And even in doing this, I also highlight the common sense practices of other faiths as well during the inquisition.
I have grown tired of people preaching in fear. When I know that is not what the Divine is all about. Converts gained by the usage of mass hysteria are never faithful because of their own free will, and are just hostages that just have not realized that they are prisoners of war. And the shambolic and flimsy armor that most of these fanatics wear can easily be pierced with a few kernels of truth.
The problem comes, when people try to micromanage the basics and warp it into something that means more than what it does, or use the word to justify intolerance, or twist things so far out of proportion in order to justify the horrendous atrocities that they commit, like war. If the commandment says, Thou shalt not kill, when did the new memo come down from head office that says, Thou shalt not kill, unless you are killing in the name of God? I must have missed that meeting.
And if we are all made in the image of the Divine source of creation, what gives another non-perfect human being the right to give people the “you’re going to hell” pink slip. It seems like there are too many police officers in the ranks writing tickets, while the real abominations are allowed to go on without checks and balances in place to squash them. Who has the right to condemn someone for how they live their life? It is a twenty-four hour job to take care of your own life, if more people would adhere to that, and sprinkle their associations with the outside world with a little tolerance, maybe we’d be getting somewhere.
Now, when it comes to home visits, tread lightly. If you come in with all that blathering on about what I am doing wrong in my life, and have no clue about those lives I have helped, comforted, fed, nursed through illness, or helped during their transition from this life to the next, you might as well not take off your hat, because the visit is going to be rather brief. If you come in with Watchtowers blazing and insult anyone I know to be a good-hearted person, I shall bid you adieu. Or depending on what has happened during the course of my day, may just stand by the door with you knocking and not open it. Even if my son is audibly saying, “Mom, someone’s at the door.” This all reminds me of a moment that has seemed to come from moments repeated all throughout my family history, that is quite hilarious.
One Saturday when I was a kid, the sun was shining–not being unusual for the sun to do that. It was a comfortable early Saturday morning just before the mail came. We were in the house with my mom, and then my aunt came over. Soon after that, my cousins came over and, like we do when there are two or more of us together, were having a time talking, laughing and just enjoying a moment before we all went to do whatever we were going to do for the day. As it is always a party going on with all of us in one room. All of a sudden, we hear car doors shut, and a car trunk slam. Not out of the ordinary, but we wondered who it was. Upon looking out of the window, I saw two men in suits with briefcases and a woman walking in between them. Before I continue, understand that people in business suits on a Saturday in a blue-collar neighborhood stand out worse than Dennis Rodman in drag.
As I was giving the play by play to my family, I quickly figured out that they were coming our way and they were not salespeople. They didn’t want our money, at least not today, they wanted our souls. With copies of the Watchtower in hand, I let everyone know that the Jehovah’s Witnesses were coming! Now the fact of the matter was not a loathing of the people or their faith, it was just more than we wanted to deal with on a Saturday, and since we were all pretty grounded in our faith and how we did things, they would just be wasting their time and a few trees by speaking with us.
So needless to say, from the sounds of what could’ve been construed as a party going on, everyone began to run like there was a fire, and duck down and get quiet. And it was the quietest room filled with about 10 people I had ever been in. You would’ve thought that we were getting ready to yell “Surprise!” I was in charge of motion detecting at the front window and we kept our voices low–kids quiet, mothers whispering directions until they got out of the yard. We had to also wait until they went to my aunts house that was right beside ours, and finally cross the street.
So I have had more than my fair share of run ins with people looking to convert me to one faith or another. From home visits by Jehovah’s Witnesses, to running away from the Tour de Mormon bike fleets at Ohio State by cutting through alleys and running in zig zag patterns. You have not lived until you are sitting peacefully in your apartment between classes and your cousin runs through the door, quickly shuts it and locks it, and says between bouts of hyperventilation,
“I barely got away from the Mormons on bikes, they almost got me!”
In conclusion, I am just tired of feeling like a fox in a world filled with hounds, looking to convert me by filling me with fear and then making me into a coat of honor. I don’t wish to be a part of some conversion quota, or try to get hallelujah brownie points by scaring as many people as I can before I die. What an individual believes, is in accordance to their own personal journey, and that is something that no one outside of that has the right to legislate, recreate, or dominate. Everyone’s relationship, or lack of relationship, to the Divine is their own personal church that they attend within their heart.
It also isn’t some time period after others that cancels the originals out. If you think that way, try having a conversation with someone of Native American ancestry, whose beautiful culture was annihilated by fanatics converting in the name of God. Your eyes may be open a bit wider after that. Genocide is not right, no matter how delicately you try to word it or muddle it with legislation. Try to justify thou shalt not kill as you stand in the blood of millions of our brothers and sisters. If you can, you must eat razor blades for breakfast–because sin on such a grand scale should not go down that easily.
We are more alike than different, and no one has the right to tell ANYONE that they are going to hell, period. If they try, just let them know to get a handbasket ready. If they care to say that you are going to be there, without passing go or collecting $200, they better pack some sunscreen and get ready to end up right beside where you are supposed to be going.
Finally, I’d like to finish this rant off with something that rings true for me. In the words of the late Tupac Shakur,
“Only God can judge me.”
Image Credit: William Ehrendreich/Pixabay