Wednesday, July 20, 2005

A question about "Great question!"

OK, I’m still fighting things out at FUUSE, and while things seem to be calming down, I continue to get emails and the occasional FUUse “pirate” message thanking me for being brave enough to ask questions and telling me not to fear, there are others on my side. (I have a side?) Even the people telling me I’m being too abrasive are praising me for asking questions.

(Most recently, a comment on the Victoria's Secret thread on this very blog praises me on my questions.)

I’m supposed to be flattered and of course, I am. One doesn’t get called “courageous” every day and I've been called that a few times recently. Trust me, I'm a black hole for applause of any sort, I'm happy. Yet overall, I’m also a little disturbed by this trend.

The first time I went to my current church, the sermon was on the annunciation. One of our ministers preached from the Denise Levertov poem about the annunciation, basically about Mary’s brave acceptance of God’s destiny for her. (If you’ve read the poem, you know I’m oversimplifying. But anyway…) On my way out the door, I told the minister who had preached that the “brave acceptance” theory didn’t really jibe with what was said in the bible. In the book of Luke, the only book that cares whether Mary consented or not, Mary doesn’t sound especially confident and her consent reads like the biblical version of “Well, you’re the boss.”

(Gentlemen of the heterosexual persuasion, if you ask a lady if she’d like to take the relationship to the next level and she says “I’m your slave,” make sure she’s just being kinky. Making love to someone who has you confused with the Holy Spirit can only lead to difficulty.)

I explained my issue with consent in the bible and how Denise Levertov doesn’t cite her sources on this insight into Mary’s thinking and the minister said “Read Denise Levertov.”

Uh… OK... I thought I said I already had, but whatever.

I’m about to walk off when the other minister says “but it’s great that you asked the question! You’re allowed to do that here!”

As I am still somewhat used to Katy-the-wise's extremely active sermon discussions, I’m afraid I gave him a look that basically said “Duh?”

CC never was one for making a good first impression, you see.

My point here, and I do have one, is that I’m a little disturbed that suddenly I’m getting complimented for doing what I sort of thought UUs were put on this planet to do: Refine things through reason.

Ok, I get how anybody asking questions about racism is likely to get called a "racist." Personally, been there done that, returned the t-shirt for store credit, but I'll admit that it isn't exactly an experience I would reccomend so if people are afraid of it, I get that.

But questions about bible interpretation? And the point of a protest?

Is asking people these things really so unusual?

Trying to live a good life so she can get to that discussion about heaven.


boyinthebands said...

Nope. I think it was about being truthful, which somewhere became being correct.

"Correct" begets a fight, and then somewhere personal feelings trumpted all.

That's why I don't get into fights like the one at

Chalicechick said...

I do get involved in arguing with people and the result is rarely me at my best, I'll grant you. I'm used to arguing out positions to figure things out intellectually (I argued out different sides of the Valerie Plame thing with different people until I figured out what I actually thought) and will concede points easily if you catch me in them . But what they seemed to need was an outpouring of emotion and affirmation that their experiences were valid.

I can think that way if I'm lead there with a bridle, but it really takes that much.

Anonymous said...

People say "great question" as a way of affirming participation. Sometimes it really is a great question, sometimes it's just something to say.

Chalicechick said...

Hi Anonymous,

I wondered about that, but I don't get the point of emailing me just to say that, to say nothing of including a bunch of additional praise.