Christianity

John the Baptist or Auntie Em?

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I have a problem.  I love to get angry.  Not just run of the mill ‘Donald Trump’s hair is so stupid’ angry, but righteously angry.  The good and juicy kind.  For an INTP like me, the world is my oyster. There are just soooo many things to be good and pissed about.  Things like shady vaccine manufacturers, organizations that rhyme with Manned Marenthood and Me W, and the misuse of the phrase “Hakuna Matata”.

But, here’s the problem, I’m a Christian.

Well, that’s not really a problem.  That’s the solution of all solutions. But it leaves me feeling kind of Auntie Em at the beginning of the Wizard of Oz when the Witch (before she’s the Witch, she’s just the neighbor who wants to kill Toto) is over at the farm, demanding Toto on a silver platter and Auntie Em’s all full of righteous indignation and she starts to lay into the witch, “I’ve been wanting to say something to you for 20 years!” and she’s pointing and you’re all like, Get her, Auntie Em!  Screw that Toto killing witch!, and then Auntie Em drops her finger and says tremulously, “But I’m a Christian woman so I won’t,” and runs out the room after Dorothy.

That’s basically me.  I am Auntie Em.  You might think that a person who originally titled her blog, “The Gentle Way”, would be, well, gentle.  But I’m not.  Not really.  I want to be.  I feel like I need to be.  But I need encouragement.  That was what the blog title was meant to be.  Well, maybe not encouragement, more like a scheme to ensure I’d feel like a total hypocrite if I wasn’t more gentle.

I’m trying, people.

Ok, moving on.  As we’re speaking of silver platters and all, there’s another side to this dilemma.

stjohn

This guy.  (It’s John the Baptist, you heathens. Just kidding I love you)

This guy was not Auntie Em.  Can you imagine if he had been there on the farm when the old witch was trying to sacrifice poor Toto? (Yes, I realize this is a ridiculous hypothetical.) It would have been on.  

And Jesus, let’s not forget about Jesus!  I believe the correct word for what He did is Upbraiding.

Jesus-Money-Changers-in-the-Temple

It’s not like He said, “I’ve been wanting to say something to you moneychangers for years!  But, I won’t, because I’m God.”  That might not have been quite as effective.

I feel like ever since I became a Christian in earnest, I have been striving to become quiet, meek, humble.  Believe me, this is not a task I worked very hard on when I was not a Christian.  But, sometimes I wonder, am I meek?  Or am I just politically correct?

I want to please God.

I want to be like Christ.

I don’t give a damn about being politically correct.

I read about a bazillion blogs (rough estimate).  My two favorites are extreme examples of what I’m discussing here: Penelope Trunk and Stories of An Unschooling Family.

Penelope Trunk is so raw.  I’m pretty sure she would hate me if we ever met but I don’t care.  I love her.  She calls out people left and right.  She obliterates so many of the stupid pc ideals that I hate.   Of course, it helps that she basically has the same values I do (aside from the fact she’s not a Christian) and hates most of the things I hate.  I always like that in a person.

Stories of An Unschooling Family is the total opposite, and I love her, Sue Elvis, for the opposite reason.  She’s so soft.  So gentle.  She never tries to come off as an authority or expert.  She’s like, this works for me, maybe you should try it?  As far as I know, she’s never taken the trouble to call out some figure for their idiocy.  She’s just nice and kind and I am certain she would love me if we ever met.  She’s not Auntie Em.  She’s Glenda.

(I hope that paragraph doesn’t seem cheeky.  I really do love Sue’s blog and try to emulate her in my own home.)

So my question is this: can you be both?  Is it possible to be meek and humble, submissive to man and God while also confronting evil head on?  Is that the answer?  To be wise as serpents and gentle as doves? In my pre-Christian life, I was a serpent with little to no dove qualities.  Since I have become a Christian I have struggled to be all dove, hiding my fangs under my feathers each time they poked through.  I don’t feel like either of these positions is what God is calling me to embody.

If I could read people’s minds and hearts, like Christ,

or if I were just really, really smart, like GK Chesterton,

then maybe I could do it.  Be a clever snake/bird.  But, half the time, I’m not even sure if what I think of as evil is truly evil.  What if I’m wrong?  Or what if I’m right but I drive people away from Christ because they think I’m a jerk and I’m a Christian so all Christians must be jerks?  What if God wants me to not care if people think I’m a jerk?

These are all the questions swirling around in my mind today, and most days.  If you have any insight, I’d love to hear it.

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4 thoughts on “John the Baptist or Auntie Em?

  1. Casey,

    Oh my! It’s so lovely to see my name in your blog post! Thank you. I think I like being Glenda. At one time everyone would have described me as the wicked witch. So glad you don’t think so!

    Gentleness… It’s something I have really had to work on. I used to be very hot-headed. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being passionate in an emotional way, but I never chose the right things to get all upset about.

    I haven’t read many of Penelope Trunk’s posts. But it seems she is very different from me. Sometimes I want to jump up and down and protest publicly about such things as Manned Marenthood(!) and I have actually written blog posts like that and then not published them. Writing relieved my feelings, but I didn’t feel publishing was the right thing to do. I do care about the evils in our society and want to fight them, but maybe I can do things in a different way. Can we change hearts through personal stories so women might change their minds about such things as abortion? Give them courage to continue pregnancies? I don’t know. I try!

    Is a gentle approach a cop-out or a legitimate way of changing the world? I think about St Francis de Sales who was described as gentleness personified. He was ‘all things to all people’ and used his gentleness in a very powerful way to win people to God. Did St Francis ever confront evil in a more head on way? I don’t know. I must do some reading!

    “she’s never taken the trouble to call out some figure for their idiocy. ” I do get upset by people who write negatively about unschooling but have no experience of it. And though I have never named anyone or linked to any particular posts, I have written about such people pointing out their errors. I want to warn readers not be to led astray by people who have no idea what they’re talking about! Maybe sometimes we have to say what has to be said, and if we can find some gentle words to do it, all the better!

    I’d better finish this comment otherwise I’ll end up writing a whole blog post in your comments box. It’s such an interesting subject to ponder and I have enjoyed responding to your words. You gave me lots to think about!

    I have also enjoyed visiting your blog. It’s not my first visit. I’ve been here several times following links from the Unschooling Catholics Yahoo group. I should have stopped sooner and said hello.

    btw, I love your blog name! And finally… If we met I would love you. Actually, I already do. Your beautiful personality shines through your lively words!

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Sue! I have to admit I’ve been nervous about whether or not you’d respond all day! It’s funny you mention you once would have been called the “Wicked Witch”. I just listened to one of your podcasts the other day where you mention you were once known as the Dragon Mother (my kids thought that was quite interesting too, lol) and was very much encouraged. It can be tempting to think this way of life we have chosen, unschooling, is only for the naturally gentle. If so, I am left out! But knowing you have developed your gentleness gives me faith that I can develop some of my own. Or maybe it is more correct to say that God can develop it in me. I hope it didn’t appear to say I thought you were politically correct. I don’t feel that way at all! Only that sometimes I think I can confuse the two in myself. I want to be genuinely gentle (how’s that for an alliteration?), as well as spiritually strong. I can completely relate to writing a certain post than deleting it. I have written many, in my mind, than decided it was best not to publish them. I have the personal experience of calling out a certain evil only to realize later I was wrong. I can tell you, it’s a crushing realization. Ok, well I’ll wrap this up but I am thrilled you enjoyed the post and do hope you know I have nothing but admiration for you! Thank you for stopping by and leaving a such kind and thoughtful response!

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      1. Casey,

        Oh you must never be nervous where I am concerned!

        The fire breathing Dragon Mother… I should never admit to such things! I didn’t change so much as God changed me. I was a hopeless case until I gave in and He took charge. I’m still not perfect, but I am so very different from that hot-headed mother of quite some time ago.

        genuinely gentle and spiritually strong… You have just described St Francis de Sales!!! (And I love the alliteration.)

        We tend to think of unschooling as something our children do. But it changes mothers too. I often ponder the connection between faith and unschooling. It seems to me, whether we’re homeschooling or not, the unschooling life is one everyone should live… trusting God and each other, respecting, unconditional love, living in the moment rather than worrying about the future… We’re all called to do it even if we don’t feel we are naturally gentle.

        I have lots of experience of writing articles, getting them published and then changing my viewpoint! It’s very frustrating knowing my former opinions are online somewhere (I won’t tell you where!) and so won’t die. Mostly, the articles are unimportant, just annoying. Oh well, they serve to remind me to be humble and not worry about what everyone thinks of me. Wouldn’t it be nice if we never made mistakes and always could look back happy with everything we’ve ever said? Sadly, it will never happen!

        I hope you don’t feel obliged to answer this comment with a long response. I couldn’t resist coming back and continuing the conversation! God bless you!

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I will have to look up Francis De Sales! It’s always so wonderful to see the examples of the saints and how they apply to our role as mothers. What an awesome responsibility we have! Sometimes I wonder what God was thinking to allow mortal, imperfect beings to have so much influence on the precious little ones. May He help me! I mentioned him in an earlier post but St. Porphyrios (gotta love those Greek names) has much to say on gentleness, particularly gentle parenting. To paraphrase, he describes our children as gardens and admonishes us to water the flowers rather than pull out the weeds. I must admit, I do tend to dwell on the weeds in my children’s hearts. Lord, help me. That is why blogs like yours are so important! They encourage us to parent better, which ultimately means simply, to love more. Ok, you’re going to think I’m just a big gusher so I’ll stop now. Happy to continue the conversation! May the Lord bless you and your family as well!

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