Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I am Going To Hell

I was told I was going to hell twice in the period of one week recently, maybe not in those exact words, but still, the meaning was clear. It is always funny to me when people think that they know this for a fact. I mean, if you want to tell me to "Go to hell!" because you are mad at me, then fine. But to think you have some knowledge of my ultimate destination? Huh. Well, my confidence in your influence over the Big Man is nil. Pretty sure he gets to decide that.

The first incident was over my Facebook status. I thought it was funny. I still think it was funny. Here it is: Just passed the poor guy from the Halloween store on the corner with his sign. He was being lectured by the other guy on the corner with his bible.

Most people commented about the humor of the situation, and I agree with one who thought it was a Saturday Night Live skit waiting to happen! Nothing funnier than a guy being trapped with someone telling him (I am assuming) that he is going to hell for his job or trying to save him from it.

I certainly was not trying to make any comment on religion or Halloween. There was no hidden agenda in my status. I just thought it was funny. The comment that offended, was the one girl who wrote, "Good, I hope he got saved." Oh Lord! She was in for it. Many other friends wrote comments laughing or joking. Apparently that did not go over well with her, because she made a few more comments about hoping he gets saved, the end is near, the bible is fulfilling its prophecy quicker than we think. When she wrote that we should remember that we are all influences over our children, I had to respond. I said, "I don't think that finding humor in the situation is negatively influencing my children."

At this point, I got a message to the inbox. She wound up inviting me to her church, I guess hoping to save me from my evil ways. She even mentioned something about me drinking. I guess I have a beer in some of my Facebook pictures. Uh-oh. Evidence. I wasn't even offended until the words, "I am not judging you, but...." I have a BIG problem with that particular phrase. If you have to state something followed by "but," you usually don't mean the first part of the sentence. I'm not judging you but, I love you but, I'm not mad but, you see how it goes.

Many other friends commented that they must be going to hell as well since their churches offered Trick or Trunk parties. It was pretty brutal if you were the girl rushing to judgment.

The second incident was related to online dating. I got caught. Ugh! I was actually caught by one of my dates. It was my fault, I admit. As my sister told me later, "When you are in the 'he seems normal' phase, do not tell him about the blog. Lesson learned. And learned good.

The poor guy was hurt and mad. I can't really blame him. The blog isn't really meant for the dates to read about themselves. I had a little crisis of conscience about it. But the more I thought about it, he made the effort to look it up and find his entry. There is nothing I can do about that. And the dude really needs a sense of perspective about problems in life. After all, you don't get to cry to a first date about losing the tip of your picky finger (see the blog for the full story:

At any rate, I wrote about this date and my opinion that there are a lot of problems in life, and he needed to understand that he didn't have it so bad. He responded. He responded for three pages. I kind of think he proved my point that he doesn't have a great perspective on life. In his three pages, though, he used phrases like, "You call yourself a Christian?" And said something along the lines of "What would Jesus do?"

So here is what I think some people are missing: the idea that sometimes people just say or write things to be funny. I wrote the status on Facebook for the sole purpose of humor. It turned into a big drama because someone didn't understand that there was no motive, no statement, no nothing...just a mere observation. Getting caught by a date was unfortunate, but still, I write the blog to vent some frustration about some of my wackier dates. Mostly I write it in a style intended to be funny. If I wrote a straight story about these dates, it would just be sad. I am making a statement about online dating in general, but I really am dating to meet someone at some point. In the mean time, I try to keep a sense of humor. And let me tell you, that can be hard!

Yesterday I posted a humorous political blog on Facebook written by two women, and one of my friends commented that she found it offensive. She wrote her comment with no ill will and with good humor. We and a third friend got into a comment frenzy, but it was all with humor and levity. You can disagree with someone and still not think they are going to hell. It is about being respectful of others and keeping a good sense of humor. And not taking things so personally. Sometimes things are just funny. So thanks girls, and you know who you are.

By the way, the facebook-you-are-going-to-hell girl deleted me, and the date has yet to respond to my response. I am fine with that!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Last Year's Letter to School Superintendent

Just wanted to get this off of Facebook. I wrote this last year in response to the school district's decision not to show the presidential address to schools. The schools ended up making the address available to the teachers to show in the classrooms. I feel like not much had changed in the past year with regard to people listening to each other instead of attacking each other. Maybe one day...

Letter to the Malcom Thomas, Superintendent of Schools
By Elizabeth Green Denham

Dear Mr. Thomas,

I am very disappointed in your decision to disallow the showing of the Presidential address in our schools. I have three children in public school. I am a big believer in public education. Decisions like yours cause me inordinate distress because I believe that you are teaching them all of the wrong lessons.

I am raising my children to be be informed, to be open minded, to be tolerant of everyone alike or different, to question authority without disrespecting it. I am teaching them that they have the power to become informed and educated and by listening to others, make decisions on their own. Your decision goes against every single one of my goals.

Narrow mindedness is bred by ignorance. By not allowing them access to our government, you are reinforcing ignorance that limits students' abilities to form their own opinions.

Open- mindedness is taught by exposing children to different people, cultures, and viewpoints. By not allowing them access to our government, you are reinforcing the idea that it is not okay to be different from each other.

Tolerance is taught by example. By disallowing children access to our government, you are teaching them to turn their backs on those who are or believe differently, rather than encouraging open and respectful discussion.

Our country was founded by our questioning of an authority with which we disagreed. By disallowing our children access to our government, you are teaching them to disrespect authority instead of giving them the tools to question or change their futures.

Providing children information from every perspective gives them the belief and the tools to change their futures and impact the world. By disallowing them access to our government, you are teaching them that they have no power to make their own decisions or to change their futures.

I expect the public school system to have the goals that I have listed above to produce educated, informed, tolerant, open-minded and powerful students. I would like them armed with knowledge as they go through school and go out into the world.

Many presidents have made addresses to children in schools, and most of the time it has been used as a learning tool. I believe that you do not have the right to deny my children the experiencing of history.

It does not matter who you voted for or what your political affiliation is, children and the administration should respect the office of President, even if you do not respect the man or the ideology.

We live in an area with a great deal of diversity and however you believe, it is important for all children to know that anything is possible and barriers of all kinds can be conquered. Our president is an historical figure by sheer virtue of the fact that he is our first African-American president. Maybe if we all pulled together for the greater good, he could actually accomplish something.