Friday, May 15, 2015
Time for the End Game
My life, at times, resembles a state of schizophrenia. In the work I do, the two do not meet. In a very real sense, I have to switch back and forth between two languages. In my faith journey, I am to be deferential and kind. Conflict is to be avoided, as is confrontation. Religions, regardless of what we say about them, are usually designed to make people act nice to each other. On top of this we add my activist life, in particular my feminist life. Feminists have no problem whatsoever with being confrontational and direct.
What is out of place in one area is equally out of place in another area. Fellow Quakers have cautioned me to not let my vocal ministry during Worship be too didactic and preachy. Much feminist discourse is confrontational and didactic by design. This may be why feminism is sometimes a challenge for people of faith. That said, I've heard the concerns of many and tried to adapt my oratory and writing to suit them. Fellow feminists, especially when I first started out, sometimes saw my ideas as ill-formed or even a little naive. On both fronts, I have improved considerably.
Most of this post was written at the beginning of the week and it is addressed primarily to a religious audience. I include it here with some edits for everyone to demonstrate the difficulty it is to work in close contact with people. Many feminists write their essays and share their passions online, much as I do myself. Much to their credit, they often do their own work in the field, on the ground. I'm sharing this essay because it demonstrates the challenges of doing religious work directly.
Those who do not consider themselves particularly religious sometimes criticize the system, or their understanding of the system, but they don't really know what it's like within a church or a house of worship. That's where the real problems start, and sometimes end. What some see is an almost disembodied set of beliefs and practices attached to nothing solid. But when boots hit the ground, I can assure you that the definition is quite different.
I am writing here about an unresolved grievance that should have been dealt with very differently. I've toned down the language of the original post, because the effectiveness of ranting is never very high. This is, at its core, a story of a very badly managed problem. Take it as an example of how not to respond in your own life. I try to combine the best part of passionate, confrontational feminism and marry it with compassionate, tender religion.