Saturday, December 07, 2013

A Memory Stirred Up By Mandela's Passing

With the passing of Nelson Mandela, I am forced to remember an incident that I am still conflicted about. A missionary was speaking at our church and made some reactionary comments about Mandela and/or apartheid. I can't recall the exact comment any more, but I know that I was miffed..

Decades later, I still wonder if I should have done something — walked out for example — but I just sat there. I still wonder if I was right to let it pass. I think I was. I guess there was no use upsetting everyone. What would you have done?

I think this is the same missionary who had a speech impediment, but he spoke anyway, while his unimpeded wife sat dutifully but silently in the congregation in accordance with 1 Corinthians 14:34: "Let your women keep silence in the churches: for it is not permitted unto them to speak." It's not his fault that he suffered from an impediment, but it seems misguided, somehow, for him to be anointed as the public speaker of the family.

Relatedly: just this morning, I was reading an article on how conservatives such as Cheney, particularly the religious right such as Robertson and  Falwell, spoke out against Mandela and in favour of apartheid. This is why I call them the Relgious Wrong.

And speaking of how religion can screw up people, how about a woman being stoned to death in Pakistan for owning a cell phone?

I do know that there are all sorts of good-thinking, religious folk out there, and you might be one of them, so I hope I don't offend you too much, but beliefs can sure lead people to close-minded, bad thinking.

14 comments:

Tabor said...

Thanks for the kind comments on my post. I am not religious...which does not mean I do not believe in a greater good and a saving power. I just see all religions as something man made and something with lots of holes and misguided ceremonies. Simple religion is prayer and a wish to be a better person and to remain humble which Mandela certain had in spades. I think you should have walked out...but I would not have been brave enough to do that until now at this old age.

Jackie said...

Hello, my friend. I am a Chrustian, and I am often embarrassed by the actions of those who profess to be Christians. If I am embarrassed, how much more so is my Christ hurt by those who carry His name and sully it.
I think you did the correct thing by not making a scene. You knew that what the person was saying wasn't right, but causing a scene by walking out wouldn't have been any better than what he was doing. I am so sorry that those who profess to be religious have marred your impression of religious people.
Sending you warmest wishes for a wonderful weekend.
Hugs and smiles,
Jackie

Jimmie Earl said...

I too am a Christian. I too am often embarrassed by what some Christians say and do in the name of their church, but by and large I think Christians are pretty good people.
Every faith has their "bad apples" and Christianity isn't any different, sad to say.
I think you did the right thing by not walking out, and adding more fuel to the sad missionary's fire. I hope you forgave, even if you cannot forget.
Have a wonderful, but cold weekend.
Jim AKA JE

Anvilcloud said...

Thanks for your comments Tabor, Jackie and Jimmie. It is sometimes difficult for me to not stereotype all of the religious. But I have to remember that I was mostly the same guy as I am now before I deconverted.

TexWisGirl said...

i was raised catholic - very much a 'this is the only way' religion. but i quickly learned that people, no matter their 'position' are just people - with their flaws and all.

troutbirder said...

I am quite intolerant of intolerance and bigotry. And have become increasingly so in my dotage. This is somewhat contradictory in that I don't usually make a fuss in the presence of stranger where I avoid arguing politics and religion. While at the same time making sure to friends and relative's that they understand bigotry is not acceptable in my presence or in emails. Otherwise I avoid poisonous people. During the second Iraq war I came of the conclusion that the faith based armed old testament Christians were hypocrites' in their professed love of human life in whatever form it took...

Chris Simpson said...

I suppose it depends on what exactly he said. There is always room for mixed reactions to anyone, even someone like Mandela who, against all odds, turned out to be that rarest of all things -- a decent, honest political figure. In general I don't make a fuss with people I disagree with, especially in public. I think it's partly because I've held so many wrong-headed views in my own life at one time or another.

As for stoning someone for the simple possession of a cell phone -- it's hard to believe that there are still people in the world living with such medieval mind sets.

Now, stoning someone who's yapping on a cell phone instead of paying the clerk and holding up the entire line while she argues with her boyfriend -- that's a different matter.

Gail Dixon said...

Count me as a Christian, flaws and all. I am ashamed of what some of my fellow Christians say and do. One day all shall be as it should. Until then, we all should practice patience, gentleness and other fruits of the spirit. Just my take! :)

Mara said...

I remember my mother once told us why we didn't have to go to church when staying at my grandmother's (we always had to when at home). One day the minister told them that collection that day would go to the missionary works to convert the catholics to protestants! It was a severe church that put women very low in the ranking and they would certainly not be allowed to speak in church either. My mum was a lot more liberal at that point (it must have been in the 1980's) and was horrified. I don't know whether she walked out at that point, but I think I can safely say no donation was made by her that day!

Ginnie said...

Well, I know what my late husband would have done but I am not as courageous as he was. At the very least I hope I would walk out.
Thanks for giving us the prose for "A cup of Christmas Tea". My computer doesn't get UTube and it's nice to be able to read the words. Sweet sentiments.

Regenia said...

You certainly do not offend me! Not long after I started a blog I remember confessing that I had momentarily wanted to slap an older woman, at a Bible study, no less. For me it is difficult to know what to do at a moment like that because at first my brain is replaying what I just heard, trying to confirm it. Once I realize I did hear what I thought I heard, I am so dumbfounded that I don't know quite what to think, much less what to say or do. I had not heard the phrase "religious wrong" before. It is perfect for just the kind of Christians you are describing; pompous,selfish, mean-spirited people who really don't like too many other people, much less love them!

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

In answer to the first question, I think I would have walked out in silent protest, but not being there and hearing the remark this is just my reaction to your query. I too was raised in the Catholic faith and attended those schools thru high school. In recent years, we attended Methodist Services and even helped put with many church events even if not actual (tithing) members. Somehow we were reluctant to fully commit, and have since stopped attending weekly services. There simply was no message we were getting. We try to lead good lives in our own ways. And, have observed that some regular church goers are less Christian all the other days of the week.
And, no your comments did not offend.

Mary Gilmour said...

I was raised 'high' Anglican but gradually lost respect for most organized sects because of the type of bigotry you also seem to have found. Final straw was my MIL's minister saying in a sermon that only Anglicans would ascend to Heaven.
As to walking out ... I wish I had had the courage as a teen to do so when one of my teachers exhibited anti-semitic behaviour. The older I get, however, the more militant against bigotry I have become.

Donna said...

I was just taught to be a kind and loving person in church...(and out)Hahaa....but these days I'm Spiritual/God/Jesus/Love/Joy/Natureing it.......and I'm sure Mandela helped people...I just don't agree with his politics...Communism. People are still killing the white farmer down there to this very day...I'm SO sick of the killing...period. Black, white, green or purple. Also, in South Carolina people are angry at a Sheriff for Not lowering the Flag for Mandela. What?? That is only for Servicemen....veterans or OUR heads of State....
hughugs