20 June 2007

Pigeonholing

Just now on Feministe, I read an article by a woman who wonders if it is possible to be a Christian and a feminist concurrently. My first instinct is to say yes, of course. Look at my mom, look at me, look at my female pastor, et cetera. That seems simplistic for some reason, and processing the "why" of that is becoming a bit difficult. Since I started reading the feminist blogs of late, I have been trying to define myself within the feminist spectrum, for my own edification.

The argument, of course, is that everyone should be "outside the box" and not be "pigeonholed" or "labeled" or "categorised." I say, fuck that -- I need some definition in my life, and everyone, whether they like it or not, is in a category, even if it is a category of one which contains only them. I am the sole member of the set of me. Hooray, now what else? My first tendencies to define or describe myself tend to be "German," "Lutheran" and "homo." I hesitate even to define myself as a "Christian" anymore because the vast majority of people recoil at the word. I can hardly blame the vast majority, because I tend to recoil when anyone mentions Christians as well.

This could be on account of recent high-profile "Christians" being, well, stupid, and because one in particular blamed me for those asshats who stole airplanes and ran into buildings with them a few years back. Because that makes sense. At any rate, as near as I can tell at this time, the word "Christian" evokes the images of intolerance, anger, hate, The Dark Side, an incredible naivety/stupidity, (cap tip to Bint for reminding me of that piece), bigotry, and a general inability to function in the world. This, of course, is the exact opposite of the effect which Jesus of Nazareth intended, according the the four canon Gospels, when he walked around the Galilee for three years about two thousand years ago.

I had a point. Oh, right. I do not want to be a "Christian," really. The problem is, I find the tenets which Jesus of Nazareth preached highly compelling. Don't be a bitch. Pray quietly, not all loud and out in public where everyone will see you being high and mighty. Take care of poor people, sick people, and generally underprivileged people. Shut the fuck up unless you are perfect. It's some good stuff. And then, to cap it all off, this guy sacrifices his life, painfully, for the good of humanity. Granted, there's a lot of people who don't think that Jesus of Nazareth is/was the Christ. Frankly, I think it's immaterial (for the record, I happen to think that Jesus of Nazareth was the Christ, but that's not the point). The whole point that this guy was attempting to make was to be kind, be unselfish, and to be self-sacrificing. I think he makes a good point.

I was raised Lutheran, which is a low-key, low-profile denomination described thusly on a recent episode of the Prairie Home Companion:
"Really quiet people; they go in for comfort food, hot dishes and so on. Very self-effacing, wear dark colours, navy blue. Like Amish, except they drive cars. Sort of modest in a kind of ostentatious way."
That sounds about right (Tip of the cap to Henry for hooking me up with that). So I've been living most of my life trying to do that, more or less. But then these bitches who call themselves Christians get on TV and start telling everyone else how hideous they are for not being Christian, and that if they will send five hundred bucks to X ministry, their eternal soul will be saved. Mary Chapin Carpenter said it well when she wrote "Forgiveness doesn't come with a debt." Commercialising alleged soul-saving is akin to that bullshit the Catholic church was pulling back in the day with the indulgences and suchnot. This is just televised indulgences, and anyone who wants to argue with me can name the time and place.

I really did have a point. Oh, yes. The majority of the "Christian" movement, at least in the United States, is so far removed from even what its own holy book says about it that I reckon if Christ came back at this time, He would barely recognise Himself anywhere in it. I have such sympathy for people who say that they loathe organised religion, probably because I feel the same way most of the time. I'm in a particularly unique position: the Christians do not like me because I'm a big old homo, and the homos eye me askance because I am a Christian.

The same thing happens with the feminists. I'm not as feminist as I am meant to be, apparently, and to the more conservative, "Oh, you can walk alone at night because you are a lesbian," set, I am a big scary dyke feminist who is going to turn all their women gay. And yes, that really was said to me, and I am allegedly meant to get over it. Forgiveness and all that, but what people do not understand is how much that statement really hurt me. It does not help that I know that it is a widely held belief.

So, where does that leave me? Well, I am a member of the only ethnic group in the world of which it is allowable to make jokes (more on that later; it's not a huge part of my life, but I think it bears addressing), I am a homo feminist Lutheran who is not a particularly accepted member of any of those groups. Bint might be right; it is impossible to be part of more than one group at once.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Ferrari said...

I should listen to PHC more often. I'm glad you got some mileage out of the line. It amused the hell out of me when I heard it, and small wonder I thought of you when I did.

4:58 PM  

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