Sunday, February 7, 2010

Episode II- Attack of the McGlone: Part 2- _____ is my truth, Suck it!

It is said that Truth hurts, but exclusive Truth is potentially deadly, and as demonstrated on Thursday, potentially embarrassing. There was a plethora of signs held up by students during McGlone's tyraide but the most intriguing, thought-provoking sign read "Quran is my truth. Suck it!" I don't think there was a sign there more deserving of the "Best Illustration of the Pot Calling the Kettle Black" Award. Did the Muslim gentleman know he was demonstrating the same ignorant close-mindedness as McGlone? No, probably not, and that scared me more than the speaker. Not because of the faith behind it, but, in my view, people ignorant of their intolerance seem a bit more dangerous than those who boldly declare it.

[Photo by Jaysta at Chaos Coaster. She took a lot of great photos, click here to see all of the creative signs made by the students of MTSU.]

Click here for part 1: When it Rains...

There was more to Thursday's demonstration than a preacher spreading a perfectly valid form of Christianity or even the argument over the definition of what constitutes as true Christianity. Although most of us believe Christianity is a loving and peaceful faith, its rocky history is often overlooked and re-envisioned as a compassionate, loving faith. Which it is, or at least should be, don't get me wrong, I'm just saying that McGlone is not alone. He's just louder, bolder, and more direct than his silent peers. Mainstream Christianity believes that the Bible is the Word of God, infallible or not, and that a connection with God is found through Jesus Christ. As Christianity evolved throughout history, Christians struggled to retain their identity as Christians in an ever increasing secularizing and pluralistic world. The borders of belonging, belief, and behavior help to shape a Christian identity and protect them from the world of Sin. Some, like McGlone, believe that true Christians are called to battle the forces of evil and must do everything in their power to combat it. This is rooted in their interpretation of the text through the Holy Spirit. His interpretation of Christianity is only one of many, regardless if we think it is truly Christ-like or not, it is complete truth to him. McGlone believes that homosexuality is a choice regardless of whatever "liberal leaning" scientists may uncover or even that only 6 or 7 verses in the Bible directly deal with homosexuality. He also believes that if you hold beliefs contradictory to his then you have earned yourself a one-way ticket to eternal punishment for your erroneous choice. There is no reasoning with McGlone, because to him, if we continue to choose Sin over his view of God, then we will continue to be the enemies of God. Demonizing and labeling the Other as evil and sinful reinforces his own identity. He is sinless because he chooses not to sin according to his interpretation of the Word. In his mind, he is holy, separate as the divine instrument of God.

[Another shot of the crowd taken from my phone]

How then do we retain our identity without compromising the borders that shape it (belief, behavior, belonging)? Maybe the answer lies in not building the foundation of our identity on static ideas, and adopting a more fluid, open mind while simultaneously holding our personal truths ever so gently? But this is near impossible for most. A part of our humanity demands stability and permanence for survival or, at the very least, sanity. We crave for something concrete to stand on, and when found it becomes our security blanket. What I witnessed was a crowd of people who appeared to be united against McGlone as he condemned EVERYONE for not being a Christian like him, but this was not the case. We showed up with our personal Truth in our pockets and voiced our opposition of other Truths aiming our anger, hate, and mistrust upon McGlone.

"Homosexuality is my Truth, Suck it!"

"Quran is my Truth, Suck it!"

"Evangelical Christianity is my Truth, Suck it!"

"Atheism is my Truth, Suck it!"

Yet behind closed doors, in chat rooms, and in private conversations we whisper what McGlone screeched out loud on Thursday, _____ is my Truth, Suck it! We attempt to smooth things over in public by holding conferences, luncheons, and meetings to discuss our differences, but that is like slapping a band-aid on a fatal wound. It's a nice gesture but we're still going to bleed to death. Eventually we'll just go back to our pockets and pull out our Truth. Our loving, warm, and cuddly Truth.

[Rabbi Rami, on right, jammin' to some music]

What can we do about it? I don't know, but I can hazard a guess. Maybe when we pull out our Truth we may realize that it is incomplete, instead of envisioning it as the Whole Truth we may begin to notice the connecting ridges alongside it, like a puzzle piece. As we meditate on our Truth it may begin to change the perception of our identity. The borders that separate You and I begin to fade and we see that we are a lot closer than before. Fuzzy at first, the lines that interconnect us come into view, connecting us to one another and to everything and everyone else. As the lines begin to clear we notice that it goes beyond mere interconnectedness as we lose track of where I end and You begin.


Don said...

I have seen that witnessing these events on campus have been eye-opening, thought-provoking experiences for you. They get the juices flowing. That's the way it should be. If we are secluded in a "monastic" life, never experiencing the world, our view is like a horse being driven with blinders on. Our world never expands further than that which is straight ahead. I applaud every expanding opportunity which I am priviledged to experience. Isn't life exciting and expanding!

Unknown said...

Exciting and expanding are very fitting words to describe the wonders one may encounter in life, if one only remembers to look.

captron52 said...

May all your encounters this week be those of a loving happy and joyous nature. Keep up your good work!

Politiker said...

I was there all day taking pictures and listening to the crowd of students and Skelly go back and forth- very interesting to say the least. Rather unbelievable that they were allowed back on campus, when one of the tenants of Pinpoint Ministries is to provoke people.

Unknown said...

I've always been intrigued by confrontational evangelism, to loosely quote a fellow student who spoke on the news, "it's like watching a wreck, you can't look away." I haven't read the school paper yet but I'm sure there's going to be another article debating freedom of speech. I doubt Skelly and friends won anyone over to Christianity.

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