Thursday, March 12, 2009

Happy happy happy

am I that I'm no longer in the place that this person is in. I totally used to think like this--that I was right, and others were wrong, and that this justified me being incredibly rude and unkind. I totally used to couch my disapproval and criticism as "prayer requests". I find it an enormously awesome stroke of good fortune that I ecscaped the toxic religious system in which I grew up, which was a place where this sort of thing is bound to flourish.

I got this email from a person who I used to know today:

"Benjamin, after reading your blogspot on justice and compassion I would like to be removed from your contact list. I'm glad your Mom is not hear to see what you are reading and forwarding. It would break her heart to see you embracing all that she stood against. My prayer is that soon you will come to understand the faith she tried to pass on to you so that you can in turn pass it on to your little ones.
Until then, ***********"


stephy said...

They sound shaming and controlling.

Benjamin Ady said...


Yes, both of these words are appropriate =)

Megs said...

So ... politics and religion are the same thing??!!!!

Megs said...

And I have to say, in honour of Bens' Mom, that she was incredibly compassionate and saw beyond political boxes to KINDNESS and COMPASSION ... Justice and Compassion is NOT all she stood against - she was courageous and open to new ways of seeing - as is her incredible son, as is her incredible daughter, as is her incredible husband!!

brooke said...

benjamin -
i'm so sorry that happened. from everything you've written about your mom, i'm sure she wouldn't think that way. i think your mother was like my grandmother - had a very strong faith, but accepted mine - no matter what the form. i've been lucky to be surrounded by members of the LDS church who feel the same way as your mom and my grandmother.


Loud Larry said...

RE: Happy3

The person you used to know is blind to the fact that they are a cruel religious zealot.
You might continue to keep them on your contact list. Shine a light on their true nature,
a fanatical partisan of some particular and limited conviction. How dare they proclaim assertions of morality with respect to your Mother’s heart. This person is shameful.
I perused your blog to gain insight into their perspective of your take on justice and compassion.
After digesting a fair amount of wit and neatly composed opines, I confess I did not reconcile a post that the shallow minded one referenced. By and large I am persuaded that religious zealots have very little realization of the genuine moral issues that are present in the contemporary world of humankind.
It is the interior character that is the judgment shaper when true moral determinations are to be made.
I did take note that you quote and debate scripture.
The callous and judgmental zealot would do well to recall the book of Mathew, chapter 7 verses 1-2;
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you."
An appropriate parable perhaps……
Three men die together in an accident and go to heaven. When they get there, St. Peter says, "We only have one rule here in heaven. Don't step on the ducks." So they enter heaven, and sure enough, there are ducks all over the place. It is almost impossible not to step on a duck, and although they try their best to avoid them, the first man accidentally steps on one. Along comes St. Peter with the ugliest woman he ever saw. St. Peter chains them together and says, "Your punishment for stepping on a duck is to spend eternity with this ugly woman!" The next day, the second man accidentally steps on a duck, and along comes St. Peter, who doesn't miss thing, and with him is another extremely ugly woman. He chains them together with the same punishment as the first man. The third man has observed all this and, not wanting to be chained for all eternity to an ugly man, is very, VERY careful where he steps. He manages to go months without stepping on any ducks, but one day St. Peter comes up to him with the most beautiful woman he has ever laid eyes on... tall,buxom,tan,lovely eyes and with long, blond hair. St. Peter chains them together without saying a word. He is amazed. The man remarks, "I wonder what I did to deserve being with you for all of eternity?" And the gal says, "Well, I don't know what you did, but I stepped on a duck."

Moral of the story: Before you comment on others, please take a good look at yourself first!!!

By no accident of fate, I did make it to your July 10th post.
Accept my heart felt condolences. This from a son who for many reasons, none meaningful, has had a difficult time this past year communicating with his dear Mother. I’m calling Mom in the morning.

Random musings I’ve gleaned from OMRPT;

Wine tasting / not enough clean water for children….
Jesus turned water into wine….
I’ve heard others say and it’s applicable to me “I love Jesus,
I just drink a little”…....

I don’t expect God is kind, compassionate, certainly.
Is compassion a weakness?.....

The Dysthymia post lifted my spirits...
There’s some insight for you…...

God bless the Blue Angels,
they rock!....

I’m sorry to read about Scruffy. My dog died this past Christmas Eve after sharing 14 with us. R.I.P. Dex....

Oscar and I have much in common....

Warm regards,

Karin said...

This is clearly an attempt at emotional blackmail.

I don't know what you wrote about justice and compassion, but I'm under the impression you think they are a good idea, and I think the Bible makes it pretty clear God and Jesus did, too, so I wonder what sort of faith this person is hoping you will accept. I do wonder how many expressions of 'Christianity' Jesus would be comfortable with if he dropped into our churches today.

Joe said...

Sound more than slightly off their rockers.

Benjamin Ady said...


thank you for the compassion =)

Loud Larry,

Very pleased to meet you. Thank you for poking around my blog. Glad it works for you.

Liked the ducks story.


I related "off their rockers" to something sort of technical--perhaps having a diagnosable disorder from DSM. But yes, definitely out in the wings of the distribution, and at least somewhat weird. (but then which of us isn't? I guess the trick is to be weird without being just completely rude and unkind.)


"emotional blackmail" or perhaps "spiritual blackmail"? I'm wondering now if this person really honestly thinks that this sort of interaction is at all likely to somehow move me in the direction they seem to think I should be going?

Maybe they aren't thinking that deeply about it. Sometimes I say rude things without thinking too much, and then have to apologize.

But yes, you are right in pointing out that their understanding of "faith" is astoundingly constricted. It means "thinking and believing about the world exactly as I do on this long laundry list of tenets." which is just so obviously a really shitty understanding of "faith".

I'm so convinced that Jesus would be reacting to most "churches" and "people of faith" in our day and age very much the way he reacted to overly religious people in his own day. You nailed it.

Jena said...

What a terrible letter to receive! I'm so sorry that someone would say such things! What I don't think he realizes is that he himself is exemplifying some of the problems that can occur when people are so "stuck" to their faith, and/or confuse faith and politics. You seem like an amazing dad, and your kids certainly are not suffering because their life isn't wrapped up in religion.