I’ve been allowing a person who decided to proselytize in a South Carolina Equality Facebook thread to occupy space in my brain since yesterday evening. If I’m shallow, I would say that I don’t quite know why, but the truth is that I know exactly why. I have a tenancy to defend my religion and my God as I understand it and him and I do this even when I know that Christianity teaches me that God does not need defending, least of all by the likes of me.
I like to think that I never say anything unloving or judgmental in my pursuit of defending God and that I gird myself with plenty of facts and interpretations from people much smarter than I am. Again though, God doesn’t need defending, so the question remains, why do I engage in these ultimately pointless behaviors?
This blog post was originally going to look much different. It was going to be an open letter those that would wield scripture like a machete, eviscerating anyone who would defy any letter of the Word uttered verbatim. In the letter, I’d intended to give a fact-riddled, well researched Sunday School lesson on Leviticus & Exodus, God having called us into new covenant through the birth of Christ and the sacrifice that Christ made for us. It was very well thought out too. I was pretty happy with it. I pasted it in here, formatted it, previewed the post, then I paused. I paused for a long time. I just stared at the post.
I’ve had lots of friends to weave in and out of my life for many years now, They all have this tendency to leave me with little nuggets of wisdom when I get into a space where my thinking is coming slightly of the rails. One friend once told me about her method of letter writing called “The Second Letter”. This is a method whereby one thinks intently about their composition before they actually send it. She told me about this letter that she’d written to our bishop at the time and it was none to kind. She had to write that letter though to get all the stuff that she wanted to say, out of her system. Then, she shoved that letter into the drawer and wrote a second letter; one that was much more kind and caring and indicated a willingness to partner on an initiative. I truly gave this blog that I’d written the “second letter” method treatment. It’s written and it’s saved, but it’s there for my consumption only.
Another nugget of wisdom that I’ve been left with is to never engage in a battle of wits with an unarmed person. Those are my words actually. The words that I was given by a particularly learned priest were that one shouldn’t try to engage the deeply evangelical and the deeply fundamentalist in theological debate. They’ll drag you down to their level, then beat you with experience. At their command, they have the courage of their convictions based in poor theology, poor leadership and an inability to use the free-will of thought that God graced us with. You know… kinda like being Wal-Mart management.
And the last nugget of wisdom is “Never lease space in your mind to people who can’t afford the rent.” There are other items that that I should be concerned with that require far more energy and thoughtfulness. For instance, what is my ownership in this? What is my ownership in my behavior? What kind of positive mark am I going to leave on the world which will render the actions of one misguided soul to be moot?
Truth be told, I’m much happier with this post than I was with the other one. It was easier to write and really left me feeling good about the whole experience.
Hey… Look at that. Little Miss Leviticus isn’t renting space in my mind anymore. 🙂