Good vs. Evil aka Binaries and Why They Are Not Useful

Last week, the writer and I received a note in the mail. Inside the note was a printed sheet that listed sermon notes from a service attended by a family member. The sermon was purported to be about Gender, although I would argue that it was actually about Sex, as Gender is a social construct that is carried out by individuals according to how they feel, and, in this sense, is fluid. Gender is how one performs their masculinity, femininity, or neither, to the world.

Sex is connected to the sexual organs that one possesses and is not connected to the Gender representation that one performs. Sometimes the Sex and Gender match up, but more often than not they don’t. For more on cis, trans, sex, sexuality, and other fun gender studies terminology, please refer here: Why I Am A Feminist.

Now that I have reiterated the differences between Sex and Gender, let me return to the sermon and it’s notes. The beginning of the notes had the usual biblical information. God made this and God made that. Yadda yadda yadda. God made a woman and God showed Adam he needed her. And so on. Then we get to a section about the different Evangelical views on gender (sex) roles.

Egalitarian view: God made men & women equal – and they have the same roles regardless of gender.
I like this one and, honestly, I am extremely surprised to see this on the list. I was under the impression that Evangelicals did not believe this. The next one is more in line with what they actually believe, so here goes…

Complimentarian view: God made men & women equal – but they have different roles based upon gender.
This is the view that this particular preacher states the bible teaches and he is correct. The bible does teach this. It teaches that women are the property of men and that patriarchy is the only way to live. It teaches that slavery is the norm and that we should never eat shellfish or cut our hair. It teaches many things that do not have bearing on the world today.

It also teaches really awesome and good things, but, sadly, the Evangelicals never seem to get around to that stuff.

After all the introductory information is presented, the real important (and scary) part is this:
There is a call to battle at the end, the gist of which is that anyone who does not believe women are subordinate to men is an enemy. Enemies seek to distort the Bible. So, I suppose this means that if I want to work and drive a car, I am an enemy. Since I studied Sociology and received not 1, but 2 (!) bachelor’s degrees, I am an enemy. Since I have a vagina, but I choose not to use it in the service of procreation, I am an enemy. Since I am pursuing a Masters degree and working a full time job, rather than staying home and raising children, I am an enemy.

You know what? I will settle for that then. I will settle for being an enemy. If that is what they are going to see me as, there is really no way to fight it. They will always and forever see me, and anyone that agrees with me about civil rights, as an enemy. I was not preparing for battle prior to receiving these sermon notes, but perhaps I should be. In the end, though, I prefer to just be me and let everyone else be everyone else. I prefer to love each other, just as the person that they worship told his people to do. I don’t need to go to church on Sundays and pray to a deity in order to be a good person. Nor do I need the threat of hell fire to make me act civil to other humans. Organized religion ruins spirituality in very deep and profound ways.

I have seen supposed Christians standing outside of clinics, screaming at women. Is this what Jesus wanted?
I have witnessed supposed Christians standing on soapboxes screaming at passersby to convert or burn in hell.
Is this what Jesus wanted?
I have noticed supposed Christians who talk ill of one another during the coffee hour, after the sermon.
Is this what Jesus wanted?
I have heard supposed Christians be passive aggressive in their dealings with other people.
Is this what Jesus wanted?
I have been in the presence of supposed Christians screaming at gay and lesbian folks for the way they were born.
Is this what Jesus wanted?
I have received tracts from supposed Christians who say they want me to be saved, but only on their terms.
Is this what Jesus wanted?

No! Jesus wanted us to love one another. Jesus wanted us to be good people. Jesus would probably tell these supposed Christians to chill out.

Life is not about binaries, but fluidity. When we think about a situation, we should have the ability to open our minds to ALL the possibilities, not just those that have been imposed upon us. Imposition results from all different areas of life, but no other place is it more prevalent than in the modern day Fundamentalist movement. The bible is held to be truth beyond a doubt and questions are looked upon as evil. You either believe or you do not believe, and this is dangerous as it leaves no room for the bulk of humanity.

We are all individuals, moving through space and time in different ways and at different speeds of living. We do not all see life from the same perspective and, therefore, should not feel beholden to any book or opinion of a man on a pulpit. We each create and recreate our lives based on what we encounter from day to day. Belief evolves over time, just as everything else evolves. Change is constant and we need to move with it. Having the ability to shift gears and understand your reality without relying on the dogma that has been inflicted upon you over time is important. Without this ability new situations can be daunting and, at times, even overwhelming.

In the end, you can, and should, live for yourself.

Whether you believe in something or you believe in nothing, the one thing we should all believe in is each other. We should be open and accepting. We should not just tolerate, but embrace difference. We should live our lives in the best way we can and in the end it will all work out. If not, who wants to spend eternity with a deity that punishes humans for their very nature? Not me. Would you?

Chantale aka hippiegrrl

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