A few days ago I got my wee bloggy feelings tweaked, by what I felt was a hurtful exclusion. Notice that I say felt, not thought. My intellect is absolutely sure that the exclusion was not meant in a hurtful way, and not exactly done in a hurtful way by the excluding party... and while I try to live the motto of my bastardization of a darn good Brigham Young quote:
"She who takes offense, when no offense is intended, is a fool. And she who takes offense when offense is intended... well, she is probably a fool too."
I got my feelings hurt anyway.
Chalk it up to the system de-jack-up-ification process of getting off the Yasmin, leaving me bloated and weepy... and sensitive dang it... but there ya go. Ouch.
I hate getting my feelings hurt. And I really hate getting my feelings hurt when I cannot understand why/what about what just has happened is hurting my feelings. I reference this mess of my personal little owie only as it has bearing on the meat of what I wish to say. I don't want anyone else getting het up about an unfortunate crossover in language and purpose, or the old and rather tired lies of the past that still affect the way some people do, and will always view me. No matter what I do or say, and no matter what I really believe.
Hello, My name is Bon (The Mama) Chaos, and I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. I am a Mormon, and this means that I am a believer in Christ, and an adherent to His teachings. I'm talking the whole ball of wax... His divinity, Godhood, literal Resurrection and the Atonement. In my book, this means I am a Christian.
I also believe that God has dealings with his children today, just has he has in antiquity, a.k.a. modern day revelation. Yup, a Prophet of God alive and well today. I believe in the Bible (so far as it has been translated correctly), AND that The Book of Mormon is exactly what it purports itself to be on it's cover: Another Testament of Christ. According to some folks, that makes me "Non-Christian" or "Unorthodox Christian" at best. And at worst, a minion of the very adversary himself.
Unfortunately? There are slew of really awesome Bloggers doing some fun and cool bloggity-stuff out there, with that less than inclusive view of what it means to be Christian. These bloggers speak the same language of spirituality that I do. They speak truth, and try to live their lives in much the same way that LDS women do. They are often humble and smart women... only with a bias.
Now, now... don't get me wrong, there are some very important doctrinal distinctions between LDS and many mainstream "Christian" beliefs, especially the Evangelical set of Christianity. Coincidentally, the set that seems to have the most in common with LDS women, when you look at their lives and standards through the filter of a blog. Take away that filter? Hooo boy. It has gotten ugly in the past.
Basically, I was checking out a blog that was calling for submissions of posts that dealt with the topic of living in a Christian community; specifically the practical nature of service and helping in your community (your Christian Community). I have had this post of my own zipping about in my head for a while, and it was in line with what this blogger was looking for BUT. I noticed that in her side bar, she had been a nominee for a blogging award thingy, that last year was unwittingly the means of a public spanking of a blogger who is LDS, because she was LDS. The whole thing was an unfortunate mess. And while I do not think that just because a blogger was nominated for an award in and amongst the unfortunate hoo-rah of what happened, is cause to assume anything about her specifically... it did put me on my tiptoes. I am not interested in another flogging, especially one that actually involves ME!
So I emailed the blogger and asked if she meant "Christian" or only "Her Kind of Christian As Defined By Her." And in fact, it turns out that she did mean the latter. She was very gracious about it, and never did come right out and SAY... "No" to wanting a post from an LDS, or what she called an "Unorthodox Christian" point of view, but then, she really did say "No."
She then ended her missive with "God bless you for your sensitivity."
Sensitivity. Is it "sensitivity" or just plain old "caution" to check if an iron is hot before rubbing it vigorously on your face?
Now we are gonna switch gears here because the topic of the post that I wanted to write for this woman's collection of posts? Heh. Well, let's just say that something happened a few nights ago that has me thinking down a different track. A broader sort of avenue.
The Groundwork: As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ, if I were to pick up and move to East Texas next week, a place where I do not have any family back-up (not very close anyhoo) and then two weeks after moving in, I were to take wretchedly ill.... say a sort of cancer that I can recover from, but that has me down for a few hard-hitting months... who would take care of my kids while I was incapacitated, and Dadguy was at work? Who would vacuum the floors and scrub those toilets? Who would make the meals? Dadguy is a very capable guy, but that is a deep, deep burden to care for, in addition to a sick and suffering wife.
There is no question in my mind as to "who." In the church the first line of defense is a pair of women who are assigned to watch over you as a sister. They are your "Visiting Teachers," and while they may not get out to visit you every single month and share a spiritual message the way they are supposed to, it is a rare occurrence that they are not right at your door in times of misfortune or need. Then there is the Relief Society, the entire contents of the adult female portion of the congregation... they are kicking in to high gear and doing what it takes, the second you ask, and often long before you are ready to ask.
You, as a Mormon woman are called, along with another gal who is your "companion" to visit a short roster (2-4) of other women in the Ward and so on. Any woman over the age of 18 is part of this. I have been a Visiting Teacher of young single women, older single women, married, widowed, divorced... lots of kids, can't have kids. All.
There is also assigned to each household a companionship of men... they are called Home Teachers. They are also responsible for the families they watch over and visit. In our church we believe that it is awful hard to progress spiritually when you are starving and frightened. We also covenant with the Lord when we are baptised to, among other things, bear one another's burdens.
I am not an expert on all the welfare functions of the LDS church, but the little I do know? is impressive. The Church is ready to, and does ship food, clothing, books, hygiene kits, baby care packages, medicines and cold hard cash as disaster relief. To any one. I have toured Welfare Square and seen the organized LOVE that is there in the form of huge bales of clothing, and warehouses full of food.
I could go on in detail about the myriad of ways that the church is there to be back-up in times of trouble. There in a human one on one level, and on an institutional level: I DO NOT claim that this post is in any way comprehensive or definitive.... but the point I wanted to make, is that lots of you out there are NOT Mormon, and a good chunk of all y'all are not a part of any church. I don't know what it is like to be you. I don't know... how you sleep at night. And I cannot fathom what you would do in a personal disaster. What would you do in a larger disaster... flood, war, etc...
I was kinda thinking that I was... mmm, one up on ya? And in terms of big-guns back up, yeah, I may be, BUT.
I am now thinking that I was thinking in a sort of exclusionary way. Like somehow the way that I live and do things is so different from the way that y'all... the no-church goers do.
A Story: Two nights ago, I called on a woman to come to my aid at 1:30am. She left her warm bed, husband and sleeping children to come running two houses down, through the snow, her pillow clutched to her chest. Y'all, she needed her sleep, and yet she could not rest until she got a call from us that Pearl seemed to be out of the woods and was getting oxygen. The woman I called was a member of my Ward, but she was not one of my Visiting Teachers. One of my VT's in fact, lives two doors down from me on the other side, but it was K that I called. K, because of the bond of love that I have with her. We are friends.
If she wasn't there, I likely would have called one of my VT's... but she was there. She was the person I called when my heart was palpitating and my sleep soggy brains asked "what do we do?"
As human beings we are hardwired to love and help each other. That hard wiring is something that I believe is a gift given to every human being. A certain sort of Light. When it is nurtured it grows and leads a person to do kind and moral things... to seek truth. But I also believe that we can turn our backs to that Light, that we can push it away and in so doing, we become capable of uglier and uglier things with little or no trouble to our hearts. The Light inside becomes dim, and is sometimes extinguished.
I suspect that there is a very special price that will be paid by those who cause that Light to be extinguished in babies and children.
There is a term for this light... we call it the Light of Christ. You may be Buddhist, or Atheist, and that term may piss you off a little, but humor me. I am going somewhere with this. Here's the deal... this Light of Christ, Para-Conscience, or Morals, or Human Spirit or whatever you want to call it? I think YOU have it.
When I was an active drug addict... spending most of my time with other drug addicts, you could still find folks who would give you the shirt off of their backs. They were basically kind to others and tried not to do too bad of things. Granted their Light was compromised by the drugs, and their addictions made many of their decisions for them.... but when they could, most of them tried to do what was right.
Most folks who belong to most religions, or live a conscious and good life in general? Good solid Lights. This Light urges you to do better, to love, to embrace truth. And most folks, if given a half a chance would help you out in a jam. Wouldn't they?
What I am getting at, all Ye who hath slogged your way through this beast of a post, is what is your back-up? Who would be there in a pinch, and what's the plan, Stan? I am interested in posts about Community, and what your part in that community is. What do you do? And what would you do?
Do ya wanna?
Shoot me a link to your post, or just leave a comment that outlines what's what. I don't care... tell me about how your local PTA backs you up, or write something about your way-cool pastor, about your next door neighbor, how you volunteer at the local Red Cross... or just what your plans are.
If I have torqued someones bolts or gotten something way off in this post... feel free to say so... keeping it clean please.