"I'm different to you," they cry, "so to make it work you need to change your language, your thinking, the way you do things so that we can work together and our differences affirmed." But you know what? I don't think so!
I like the fact that I work with different people from different backgrounds, places, denominations, sexualities and even different sexes (both of them!) BUT as much as I am willing (no more than just willing - I desire and crave) to work with others, I am fed up to the eyebrows with the victim and the self-proclaimed marginalised 'others' in whose company I might find myself.
"I'm different and so to have a valid and effective relationship you need to act and affirm me in whatever way I say is right," they say. "I live like this and so unless you positively affirm and applaud whatever is it that I like, do, don 't like or do, then you are acting against me!"
You know what, this is tosh and the silly games of 'Someone says' we play these days are less about equality and dialogue and more about power, domination and oppression. I don't drink coffee but don't care in the person across the does or not - that's their choice - and that's mine!
I'm an Anglican - that's actually a choice by the way, there are deep theological reasons for being so - you might be something else but that's great for our unity in the face of our differences speaks of something special regarding God (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). But to tell me that because the word 'bishop' or 'diocese' has been used that you are marginalised and somehow excluded is cobblers!
"You need to change the way you speak or else we feel left out," is actually, should we employ a sensibly configured Babel fish translated as, "I want to be in control; I will only be happy if you do it my way!" Change parish and diocese for area, district or region or whatever you fancy and what have we done? You tell me!
Today I was told that we need to embrace being 'cisgender' and 'transgender' and avoid using gender specifics (including 'gender specific' dress codes at meals) in case we offend someone - but should anyone mention the fact that the nit-picking examination of everything around us to avoid upsetting one person is destined to offend me and, for almost certainly different reasons, those around me!
Being 'cis' means my gender matches the sex I was born with - if I've changed it then I am 'trans'. Actually I'm just 'me' and that's all the label, other than 'saved', that I need.
I am continually being forced to change so that others who are different from me can feel comfortable - not a bad idea, after all didn't Paul say that he was Greek to the Greek, Jews to the Jew, etc? Actually the problem comes by the word 'forced' - not in an internal 'compelled internally' sort of way, but in in a thought police, usurping and oppressive sort of way - and it is indeed a problem.
Time and time again I find myself with people who are uncomfortable with things around them but they choose to comply on the outside and decry in the safety that distance brings causing their 'yes' to be 'yes' when in the company of some and to become 'no' once they can be themselves. And this is wrong - very wrong.
The thought police are out there and working hard are making us affirm everyone and everything but ourselves and yet to offer any resistance or suggest that rather than demands, dialogue is the way forward, is to be greeted with attempts at rehabilitation and correction. (Thankfully I am not, nor to date have ever been in that boat, but give it time and I'm sure the 'resistance is futile' thought police will find my hiding place).
So how do I affirm others whilst keeping my integrity?
Some around me seem to have missed the naked Emperor in the room and are determined instead to eat the elephant a bite at a time!
How do I avoid disempowering people without unequally empowering them?
The same person who takes offence at the use of one word will, because it is their right as someone from a hitherto disenfranchised group, oppress others from their position to ';taking back' whatever it is.
How do I become all things to all people without unequally affirming some at the expense of others.
I asked a colleague (from a different denomination/grouping) these questions and asked their opinion. Their response (as a different sex to me) was a bit of a welcome shock: "They just need to grow a pair!' they said. Odd;y, the same response from a male colleague too.
Perhaps there is wisdom in the counsel of many :-)
O Lord - help us in our weakness to not turn it into a strength that denies You and damages others.
This place of reflection is here for me to dialogue and to welcome dialogue and insight. It first appeared as an extension of this blog for some of those looking at creating their own mourn as part of the their journey to discerning vocation. The Morning prayer is there also for that same purpose: discipline of prayer.