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Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Bound to piss off many but here goes

I have a good heart. Not physically, cause my real physical heart sucks lemons. But I mean that when I hear things are not going well for someone, I pitch in, I want to help, I volunteer to do things to help, etc. I care. I want to take action. I pray for people just like so many of you do. And that's the rub.

I have a real thing about people that ASSume that everyone is Christian. Guess what? I'm not. Nor do I ever want to be. Nor do I need dumb ass reminders that I'm not good enough as a person because I don't follow the teachings of Christ. I don't want to. I'm happy that you do. For me, not interested. Gave at the office. Gotta hang up now. Leave me the fuck alone.

A lot of this has to do with a very active and very VOCAL group of bloggers that think the way to make friends and influence people is to be a competitive Christian. Sidebars filled with Christian stuff like this "My God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4 : 19 |". Constant Christian comments left. Links only to other Christians. Like that's friendly and inclusive. Whole groups of 'Christian Moms are the Best Moms' sites. And the posts. I just don't know what to say.

Recently there has been a big brouhaha about one blogger who discovered she had brain cancer. I went to donate, and found that it was a blog that was so Christian in nature that I could not feel right about donating. It was uncomfortable. It was like going into a space where it was obvious I not only didn't belong, but wasn't welcome. Welcome means that everyone is accepted. This was Christians only. It felt wrong.

But I followed the progress of this blogger because I do have a good heart and I do want her to get better and I don't want anyone to suffer and I do care...a lot. I just don't fit into her social circle and felt exceedingly unwelcome.

Tonight I read an update from her husband. It said:

"Special thanks to our new Brothers and Sisters in Christ. Yes that means you."

Well, no, it doesn't mean me. It means that he ASSumes that everyone will find comfort in that. I don't. I find it infuriating. It makes me CRAZY PISSED OFF. It doesn't mean Jews, it doesn't mean atheists or agnostics, it doesn't mean Muslims or Shintoists or Hindus or anyone, for that matter, who chooses to worship according to his or her own hearts. It is exclusionary and it is ugly.

It is not nice. Period.

Again, happy that you feel comfortable in your Christian faith. Thrilled that you find comfort and faith and love in your own house of worship, whatever it is. But please, do not throw it in anyones face.

Many of my favorite blogging friends are devout Christians. They attend Church and do all the things Christians do, most of which I'm not interested in enough to even tell you what they are. I'm totally cool with whatever they do because they do not throw it in my face. They do not make post after post with excerpts from the "New Testament" like we should all be enthralled with their biblical knowledge. And thank God for that, because if they did, I'd be outta there like a shot. These are great bloggers because they realize that there is a bigger world out there, filled with many people who just don't give a hoot about religion, or who are happy with their religion and don't really need to be prayed for. They show R. E. S. P. E. C. T. Want to sing along with Aretha here? Because what respect means to me is that you understand and honor my choice of worship, without shoving YOUR choice down my throat.

That is all.

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17 Comments:

Blogger sarah cool said...

Hey Margalit!! I don't understand how being a vocal Christian on your personal blog is shoving it down someone's throat. I can DEFINITELY understand why you would feel kind of unwelcome - or at least, out of place - on a blog where they constantly discuss being a Christian, and speak out to the blogosphere Christians. Just like I wouldn't feel part of the "in" crowd on a vocal Jewish blog or a vocal Muslim blog or a vocal Hindu blog. But in my opinion (which, is obvious of the "take it as much as the 2 cents it is worth" variety) is that.... it's their blog. It's their life... and their life circles around that religion. And if someone feels like it is pushing a religious agenda that they don't agree with - then they have the choice to not read the blog.

8/5/07 5:34 AM  
Blogger canape said...

It certainly doesn't piss me off that you feel this way. I understand it to a certain degree.

I would consider myself a Christian, but also feel out of place on the overtly so blogs. To me, spirituality is a very personal thing. You may not be a Christian, but I'm not "Christian enough" for most Christians.

However, the people that do feel compelled to share it also don't piss me off. It is who they are, and when your wife has just had massive brain surgery and come through it, I wouldn't expect for him to be thinking about all the other types of people that might be reading. I think that is asking too much of him.

It seems to me that he is just being grateful the best way he knows how right now. It must be hard to know what to write at all after everything he has been through.

8/5/07 6:55 AM  
Blogger Mamma said...

I agree. I enjoy reading blogs because I get to learn about people who I might not necessarily get to meet in my every day life. When folks put some of those barriers in place on their blog--the ones that prevent you from getting to know each other in real life--I find that it diminishes the blog experience.

You obviously have a loving heart, that's all that should matter. That's all that matters to me.

8/5/07 10:16 AM  
Blogger Thumper said...

Those Us-Only blogs...they're religious, not Christian. They *think* they're Christian, but all those reasons you cited that turn you off are exactly why they're not...

8/5/07 1:35 PM  
Blogger Paste said...

Without doubt one of the best posts I have read in some 3 years of reading blogs. I agreed with every sylable, I just wish I had written it!

8/5/07 3:03 PM  
Blogger elizabeth jane said...

you know, i think that if this were written by a christrian author about jewish blogs, a royal uproar would occur.

8/5/07 6:40 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...

What Thumper said. I don't feel comfortable with any religion that gets overly preachy and exclusionary. I don't get pissed off about it, I just stop reading them. They probably don't want to hear my beliefs (or lack thereof) as much as I don't want to hear theirs.

8/5/07 7:33 PM  
Blogger deb said...

I don't qualify as as christian anymore, I lean heavily towards Buddhism now. I feel uncomfortable with blogs that talk about god a lot, but it's my own prejudices that are the problem. I assume people are a certain way, but that is not always the case. I've met people who are "Christian" who wrap themselves in christianity and use it as an excuse to be cruel and judgemental. I've also met people who are "Christian" and they are kind, compassionate people. It's like everything, you get all kinds.

8/5/07 8:34 PM  
Blogger margalit said...

Elizabeth Jane,

You completely missed my point. Christianity is a PROSLETIZING religion. It requires, yes REQUIRES it's devotees to try and convert others to their way of thinking. Judaism, although also a religion that allows conversion, does not only not encourage it, but outright discourages it. you would NEVER ever find a Jewish blog with the kind of prosletyzing that you see on Christian blogs. It is absolutely against the tenents of Judaism.

The point I was making is that those blogs that keep all that Christian propaganda on their sidebars and in their content do so for a reason. Because they only are talking to other Christians. They ASSUME that everyone that reads their blogs is Christian, and pander to those readers. But you cannot control who reads your blogs, just like you can't expect someone to contribute money to a cause that goes against their own religious beliefs.

I would guess, no, I'd BET you know very little about Judaism. You probably know about a few holidays and maybe some of the more obvious practices. But did you know that is against Jewish law to enter a house of worship that is anything other than Jewish? Well, to me, going to these blogs and being sucked into Christian content feels just like going into a church, and that, m'dear, is against my religious practice.

9/5/07 1:56 AM  
Blogger elizabeth jane said...

Margalit -

If you equate reading a Christian blog and getting sucked into the christian concent with the Jewish law of being forbidden to enter a non-Jewish house of worship, then why do you read the blogs? How is it their problem that you choose to visit?

I'm actually married to a Jewish man - and I'm not trying to make you angry or put you down, I'm just disagreeing with what you have written. Fostering interesting conversation is a plus on a blog, so nice job.

9/5/07 6:52 AM  
Blogger Daddy D said...

AMEN....

I wish I could type an amazing comment and explain how you just nailed in for me, but, you said it all...

- Jon
- Daddy Detective
- www.daddydetective.com

9/5/07 7:26 AM  
Blogger margalit said...

Elizabeth Jane,

I don't read them. That's the point. I was directed to a blog that was donating funds for someone, and when I got to that blog, I saw it was filled with exclusionary Christian content, so I moved away without donating. That's PRECISELY my rant. I get directed towards these blogs unknowingly, and feel excluded when I land there. And then I don't go back.

The thing is, I'll donate to a cause if I feel like I'm a part of the 'community', but when I get to one of those blogs, I can't in good conscience donate, because I feel excluded AND insulted for not being Christian. I don't like the insult, and I feel badly that my will to donate has been thwarted by the Christian content. I want people to understand that when they make their blog so one-sided and exlusionary, they unknowingly LOSE readership.

Good discussion, btw.

9/5/07 9:21 AM  
Blogger Malady said...

Hi Margalit.
Thanks for generating some interesting discussion. I understand where you are coming from and frankly, this is something I have been struggling with myself.

See one of my posts here:
http://lifebycandlelight.blogspot.com/2007/03/recommended-reading-for-liberal.html

I don't believe in being exclusionary of anyone. I have a master's in anthropology and I minored in religion. But I am a Christian. And I have often been made to feel ashamed of that. Of course, that's my own problem. But I think it bears pointing out. There are a lot of people out there who do a great disservice to their religions through their actions. Whatever religion they may be a part of. I guess I just feel that we shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

I don't make my blog overtly Christian. (I have created a separate blog for faith discussion) But sometimes, I like to talk about my faith. And I don't want to feel like I can't do that for fear of alienating people. Because it is a part of who I am. I may not agree with everything that you say on your blog but I sure as heck enjoy reading it and hearing what you have to say. I would hope that the few readers I have feel the same way about my little rants.

9/5/07 3:09 PM  
Blogger clothesknit said...

Amazingly thought provoking. Thank you!

9/5/07 6:00 PM  
Blogger eema said...

I don't get it. Just don't read it or contribute money to things you don't believe in. I agree, its a total turn off, and of course I make my own private judgements on it, but are you looking to 'fit in' or be included in anyone elses blog? I thought blogging is supposed to be writing what you wanted to write about. If people want to be evangelical or full of propoganda, or cult-ish its still freedom of speech, whether we disagree w/it or not.

9/5/07 9:39 PM  
Blogger Malinda777 said...

Ya know...they say don't speak of politics or religion...but I do both :)

I would be one of those Christians "caught between a rock & a hard spot"...but I find my spot very soft and fluffy.

I was raised a devout Christian, played the piano at church, taught Sunday School & Vacation Bible School, etc.

I LOVE GOD...I believe, and believe strongly and hard. However, haven't been inside a church in years. Life takes its course, and it's not from lack of belief...my beliefs are now truly spiritual and my own. My career for 20 years required work on Sundays...got out of the habit.

Karmic better describes me now, but I cannot live without the beliefs I was taught as a child. However, I've taught my boys about faith and spirit, but they don't attend an organized religious arena either.

How do you think I feel when entering a REALLY Christian place...a bit out of place.

However, I'm comfortable with me, and where my spiritual beliefs are. I found your site through Dave, and I respect him highly. I DON'T understand how someone cannot believe, but I respect that, and welcome you anywhere I am.

I enter places where I'm outnumbered or uncomfortable...but it's the differences of all of us that make us unique as a people. Unless someone is just flat crazy and radical, unruly or mean...I respect differences in normal law abiding citizens. I don't understand the beliefs of a lot of folks different than me, but you are welcome as long as you are kind, loving, honest, and try in your own world to live good, tell the truth, work hard, and at least believe that decency and kindness should be rules.

If I wanted to donate to someone that believed differently than I, I would. If I felt so uncomfortable by their differences that I disliked them, I wouldn't.

I think that there is so much comfort and peace in the heart and mind by believing that there is some kind of spiritual realm, and a higher being...call Him God, Buddah, Alah, or Zen. The Indians believed in 4...Earth, Water, Wind, and Fire...a lot to be said for that too...

I don't understand not believing in anything that you cannot see, hear, taste, smell, hear, or feel. But I don't blame you if you don't. I cherish my freedom and get quite the bully if someone tries to TELL ME what to think or do. As long as folks are peaceful and regular...believe as you will...

BTW...wasn't that the ORIGINAL concept of democracy? We take the masses, collect all of our thoughts and beliefs...our likenesses and differences...and put them together on any one issue...and we VOTE...?

If you get voted out, as a decent human, you keep your beliefs to your heart, and go by the rules. If you're voted in...voila...happy times. But decent folk can live together and agree to disagree.

Sorry I rambled on and on... Just wanted you to know that some Christians welcome those that aren't, and get it.

10/5/07 1:54 AM  
Blogger lisa h. said...

I came to your site via Rocks in my Dryer because of the LOST discussion I'm engrossed in. Anyway, I read a little further and just watned to say I am sorry you feel excluded from some Christian sites. I have to say, I agree the feel of some sites are a tad overzealous. I am LDS ("mormon") and hey, I know what it's like to have people act hostile and even say I'm not Christian. At the same time, you have to give people credit for standing up for their beliefs and the fact that they have beliefs. As for preaching and converting people to their religion, I wouldn't view it so much as pushing an agenda or shoving it down their throats...but religious/spiritual beliefs are especially precious to people and perhaps guarded and that is why people want to share (convert) others - they're trying to share something they've found in their life that is central to their being and want others to have it as well. And, yes, people have a definite right to say "no thanks" and I'm fine with that and respect it and I will not stop being someone's friend/associte if you won't "join my club" so to speak. But let's be respectful of other's beliefs - even the tad overzealous.

10/5/07 11:49 AM  

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