A Fear of Whales

A Fear of Whales


Uproar

posted by rgaffney

“We could play ‘Uproar’ She said”

I cringed. I had no idea what kind of game “Uproar” was going to be. But I was sure it was going to be some squeaky clean mixer game like Charades, or Pictionary, that I had played one too many of, only more christiany.

Jill continued “It’s like a mix between Charades, Taboo, and Pictionary”

…CRAP…

Jill is one of the most stereotypical Christian girls I know of. She’s  reasonably attractive, but very plain, engaged (of course) to a immaculate Christian Security Guard. She herself? she’s a teacher. She avoids R-rated movies, plays poker only when the chips have no cash value and we share them if someone runs out and speaks in a particular christian-girl cadence that gets higher near the end of a sentence, making everything sound like it’s a question. And boy does she love mixer games! Especially the “rules” part of mixer games, this girl loves rules!
And in case you can’t tell, I can’t stand her

Which is odd, It’s odd for two reasons, One for me and one for her.
It’s odd for me because I don’t have trouble getting along with most people. I spend time with debaters, unicyclers, philosophers, artists, athletes, Asians, anteaters… the list goes on. It’s unusual for me to be put off by a people group.

And it’s odd for Jill because she’s there’s nothing exactly wrong with her. It’s not like she’s some kind of hypocrite (not any more than average) she’s a good person, she’s polite, I’m sure she’s nice to her neighbors, she probably votes, and she’s actively involved in making the word a better place by building up special needs children… I didn’t mention that did I? I said teacher, yeah, she’s a special-ed teacher.

See I often have problems getting along with really Christian Christians, but usually I can find some reason. Usually they are stupid, or useless, or dogmatic, or judgmental. Jill is none of those things. She’s just flipping annoying.

And so she’s a proof of concept for me that I don’t just dislike certain things common to Christians. I actually Dislike Christians. The personality traits that for me represent someone I’d like to spend time with, and the personality traits that I see expressed in a typical Christian, are worlds apart.

And this all makes me wonder “why?” Why should Christians be like this? Why does the average christian young person play Apples to Apples more often than he takes communion?

How did there get to be a standard christian dress code?

When did Jesus add the admonition to the Lords Prayer that the names of God needed to be spoken more often in any prayer than all the other words combined

“Lord, we just ask Lord That Lord You Lord would act Lord God, and God Lord Jesus join us Lord in Lord Our Lord Worship Lord God Jehova Jirah Jesus God El Shaddai Lord my aunts cancer, Eloheim Lord Logos God Holy Spirit Lord Lord…”

And when… When the HELL did the community surrounding the BIBLE be the same community that’s perpetually preoccupied with simple answers, black and white thinking, and comprehensive lists of rules? How in the world did they get this from that?

God gave us 10, Jesus reduced it to 2. Now I have more than 100 just governing what I have to do before a first date! Where did that come from?
The answer is I don’t know. But my friend “MB” has a theory. MB is a blogger and Christian leader from Iowa. Her blog can be found here. She and I

have been discussing our own theologies for a few weeks by e-mail and this issue came up.

Here is my understanding of MB’s theory (my own words):

It’s all about power structures. From very early on in church history Christianity was discovered to be a powerful tool for gaining political power and it still is. These power people then govern the church in a way that encourages the things they like (power, rules, simplicity, submission, tradition) and discourages the Christ-like things they don’t like (Sacrifice, authentic humility, ambiguity, complexity, rebelliousness, vulnerability) until such things begin to permeate the culture.

Now Sunday school teachers are not actively and consciously trying to gain tremendous power and influence, but might make it a point to be the only one with the keys to the craft closet, because she likes being indispensable, and the next generation being raised up in that Sunday School will get along more easily with their teacher and their peers if they jump in the bandwagon and act like everyone else, so the cycle repeats and perpetuates.
Until now, people begin to feel out of place even around powerless churchgoers, simply because power structures have imprinted these unwritten rules on our collective unconscious.

…Like I said I don’t know if that’s it, but it’s certainly the closest think I’ve ever heard to an explanation that makes sense, and it’s certainly an idea that’s going to haunt me…



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Denny

posted December 15, 2010 at 4:00 pm


You:
“She’s reasonably attractive, but very plain, engaged (of course) to a immaculate Christian Security Guard. She herself? she’s a teacher. She avoids R-rated movies, plays poker only when the chips have no cash value and we share them if someone runs out and speaks in a particular christian-girl cadence that gets higher near the end of a sentence, making everything sound like it’s a question.”
So? Everybody has their personality quirks. You have about an average amount yourself. (Note: I probably have above average from most people’s point of view).
You:
“She’s just flipping annoying. And so she’s a proof of concept for me that I don’t just dislike certain things common to Christians. I actually Dislike Christians. The personality traits that for me represent someone I’d like to spend time with, and the personality traits that I see expressed in a typical Christian, are worlds apart.”
I really don’t get this. There are Christians who are really annoying and there are non-Christians who are really annoying. It’s not like one camp has a monopoly on how to not be annoying. You dislike Christians??? Some people don’t want to watch R-Rated movies and others do. I think Paul would say to each his own.
You:
“Why does the average christian young person play Apples to Apples more often than he takes communion?”
This isn’t true at all. I have been to a lot of Christian parties and have only played Apples to Apples twice in my life. Meanwhile, even at churches that have communion only once a month, I often see the young Christians there. In fact, the stereotypical Christian that you are trying to describe rarely misses church, so they probably take communion once a month at the least and play Apples to Apples once every two months or more.
You:
“How did there get to be a standard christian dress code?”
I don’t know what this means. Most people usually dress nice to go to church. My motto is to dress up at least as good as I would if I were going to work. I have never seen anyone at church complain about people not dressing up or dressing slutty. And I lived in Arizona where it got up to 115 and the girls would wear really short shorts. Fine, to each her own.
“And when… When the HELL did the community surrounding the BIBLE be the same community that’s perpetually preoccupied with simple answers, black and white thinking,”
That’s not the Christian culture; that’s the American culture at large. The election of Obama is a case in point. He got elected by repeating ‘hope, change, and four more years of George Bush’. The Republicans do the exact same thing with their issues. The majority of Americans respond to the black and white issues and do not go in depth. It’s not a plight of the Christian community per se.
You:
“and comprehensive lists of rules? How in the world did they get this from that?”
What rules? If someone wants to not watch an R-rated movie, etc, etc, that’s a rule she puts on herself, not on me. I have rules that I put on myself that I don’t expect every other Christian to follow. If you feel guilt by the lack of living up to another person’s rules and standards, then you are giving that person power that they should not have.
I hope this isn’t a real person that you’re blogging about, because I personally think that if it is, then that’s not cool of you. In fact, some people might find it a trait in you that is downright annoying (not me though, I won’t get annoyed unless you start bashing heterosexual middle-aged white men).



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MB

posted December 9, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Score one for patriarchy!



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Kyle Hojem

posted December 6, 2010 at 4:00 pm


I’ll take this a step further and use the term, “female Classical Conditioning.” It is obvious many females do things and act a certain way for a certain reason. Why? Because it’s tradition! http://bit.ly/fxjdfJ
Certain females with specific traits seem to “buy” into this more than others.
I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s almost as if they are too complacent or don’t care open themselves up to new ways of doing things.
Long story short, we more-or-less agree on this topic.



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ryangaffney

posted December 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm


Right Kyle.
In this post I’m talking more generally about being what I’ll call “socially legalistic”. It’s the impulse to make rules and laws about everything.. not just the bible. But certainty it does lead to biblical legalism.
I’m more trying to get at this invisible force that causes any coed group of Christians to automatically split onto “boys side” and “girls side”. I hadn’t even originally associated it all with legalism necessarily, but MB thinks it all has to do with Power Structures. What do you think?



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Kyle Hojem

posted December 1, 2010 at 4:00 pm


I’m not sure how we can change this mindset. It appears to mostly affect females and it bugs me too, but not in the same way.
Ah, the old legalism vs. license debate.
I think of what you are describing as being Biblically legalistic.
However, I do believe there are some black and white answers to some things but not everything. It references something you mentioned awhile ago in a blog, WWDJ or What Would Jesus Do? We know what Jesus would do in some situations, and how we as Christians should act. But not every situation we have today was dealt with in Bible times by Jesus.
Not everyone wants to march to the beat of a different drummer. Most want to go with the flow. Unfortunately, with this attitude nothing will ever change.
So how can we bring sacrifice, authentic humility, ambiguity, complexity, rebelliousness, and vulnerability back?



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