Thursday, July 29, 2010

Know-it-alls: narcisstic, ill-informed

In general, I have to practice listening.

When someone has a story or fact to share, I make it a point to hear them, and I have learned to be quiet and think before I blab on about what I want to say.  That being said, I also have my opinions about many things, and I enjoy discussing similar interests with other people.  I'm not shy, and I am glad, when asked, to speak up.  Those who know me in the "real world" know that I'm a talker.   The thing I don't like is when someone talks over me - without regard for conversation.  I call that person a blabbermouth, or a know-it-all, both are somethings that I don't want to be.

Thanks to google, and to it being such a fantastic resource, I also discovered whole articles about "how to know if you are a know-it-all", "Ways to communicate with a know-it-all" and, fortunately, "How to deal with a know-it-all."

Now if you take your basic know-it-all, and realize that he or she is basically a narcissistic asshole, it becomes easier to just let them go on and on, and you just think about something else until they are done.  That's becoming what I do, at least, up to a point.  Let me share more.

Last week I encountered a know-it-all.  He actually fits the definitions I found when I googled "know-it-all"  Here was the basic definition:  (www.answers.com) One who claims to know everything and rejects advice or information from others.  

I will refer to "this guy" as Eric.  Eric is someone I met recently, and I have to deal with him in a professional manner, which only adds to the frustration.  And Eric's mistake, little did he know (nor did he probably care), was that he tried to instruct and inform me about the Tour de France.
 
For those who don't know me very well, this fantastic cycling event became my very-much-needed diversion when my life fell apart (when my husband came out as gay, my faith fractured, and the world as I knew it had to be restructured).  To say the least, I LOVE the Tour de France.  I read about it, I watch it on TV (even the re-runs) and I have attended the race in France more than four times.  I have favorite cyclists, I wear logo clothes, and I carry two souvenir keychains with me every day.  Not only do I revere the race, but I love all things French.  The race is simply the vehicle that lets me enjoy the country, the people, and the culture that I've only begun to discover.  As enthusiastic as I am, I am well aware that I've only scratched the surface - I'm an observer and I have so much to learn!

Having shared that with you, I think you can understand my annoyance or frustration when Eric started his lecture to me on Lance Armstrong, the Tour, and his rundown on the two.  At first I considered having a conversation, but that went awry when Eric ignored my input altogether, and there was nothing sensible for me to do than to drop it.  I simply waited until he was done talking, and then Eric and I carried out our business.  Done.  And I no longer had to endure him or his ignorant comments (because he really was mis- or little-informed).  'Nuff sed about Eric.

Switching gears now to another topic where some are know-it-alls:  Refusing to love and accept GLBT people!  By being "out" as an ally in real life, being publicly supportive on this blog, through e-mails, and on facebook, I try to engage with others about another of my favorite topics.  Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to do the hard work of thinking through or listening to and learning from those who ARE GLBT. 

This week I heard from "AL" with this message directed at Ray:


Comments: From: Al
 Email: aa@hotmail.com
Just heard your a sodomite. If thats so please quit using the church as a crutch and move on. You are only hurting Gods people and his message.





I responded:  (Well, first I wrote something hurriedly and mean, and I erased that.  THEN I responded with this)
Dear Al,  I would love to have the right words to respond to you, but nothing I say can really impact someone who feels like you do. So many who do not choose to be gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender or otherwise, are faced constantly with people who make assumptions and reject them.
signed CJ, Ray Boltz Music, Inc.


To which AL replied:  the only choice made here is that Mr. Boltz chooses to ignore Gods word and what he says about sin and also chooses to indulge in sin that is very clearly condemed numerous times throughout the Bible.  I'm not saying im perfect either.  I have moments of greed, lust, jealousy, pride, etc.  the only difference between myself and Mr. Boltz is that i will admit to mine being wrong.  he is being dishonest to himself and the very people he is claiming to minister to.  Just as i have to come clean to God after i sin, so can he.  God can and does forgive all sin.  The first step for Mr. boltz is to admit that sodomy is wrong.  Im sure he has heard all of this before, but i felt the need to say something.

I will pray that he is able to let go of this and give his life to god.

A fellow Sinner,
AL


Now I'm thinking:  This guy can't spell, capitalize, or construct a proper sentence.  He doesn't even use a capital "G" in reference to God, and he wants to engage in a debate on the essence of what sin is and isn't?  Because AL has not bothered to respectfully listen to any gay folks, I doubt he is going to listen if I take the time to continue talking (via e-mail) with him.   In cases like AL's I generally revert to what I said in the first place:  "... nothing I say can really impact someone who feels like you do."  


It could be said that I'm not willing to listen to AL, and that is sort of right.  Some might say that I am a know-it-all.  To that I sincerely object.  I admittedly say, "No, thank you," to the many who still hold their view that being gay is a sin.  Out of respect, I have to say that I DID listen to this message most of my life.  I'm steadfastly convinced that I was lied to, misled at the very least, and although I don't know of any time when I confronted someone to condemn them, I do know that I didn't accept or understand someone who was gay and Christian.

I'm certain that the fundamentalist message CAN be changed because I changed.  That does give me HOPE, and it can happen when the know-it-alls stop hearing only their own repetitive messages of condemnation.  Concerning AL and his comments, he probably never expected any reply.  I'll treat him like I did "Eric" - and so many others who are not currently listening - stop and wait until the misinformation stops so that some day we can carry on the business at hand, which for us Christians, it is to love God, love others.

To the ones who think they know it all, I plead once again:  Listen.  Don't be jerks.  Pay attention to others who live a life you don't understand.

23 comments:

Karen said...

((((Carol))))

I am so sorry that you have to endure this-- that Ray has to endure this, that any person has to endure this.

I wish I knew what to say so that the "know-it-alls" could understand that each of us should be able to live our lives as the person God created us to be.

deb said...

Wow! What a post! :) I'm glad you're writing again. I'd love to go on the next Tour trip. And, I think you're on the right track with the know-it-alls. When someone won't listen to a word you say, there's pretty much nothing you can do to change that. Thanks for sharing your experiences. :)

Birdie said...

Sometimes it's like casting pearls before swine. We can try, but I think our energy is best spent on those who are resistant but still ask questions. Those people are thinking about it. Your example is so strong, coming from such an experience as you have had.

It must get wearisome, saying the same thing over and over, but you never know who needs to hear exactly what you have to say.

Daniel said...

Very good post.
I often have frsutration dealing with "know-it-alls" as you have spoken of in this posting. your advice at the end of the post is sound, and I've listened and heard it.

I have appreciated your blog in the past and am encouraged by your words of integrity.

Jarred said...

Out of respect, I have to say that I DID listen to this message most of my life.

I'm glad you said this, Carol. This is a point that I think many people overlook. I've heard the "homosexuality is a sin" lecture dozens of times and I think I've heard every argument for it at least five times each. I have listened, and so far, I haven't heard anyone who holds that view say anything new. If someone does have something new to say, I'll gladly listen to them. But if it's the same old arguments, then I'm inclined to politely tell them that I've heard them before and hearing them again is not likely to convince me this time around, either.

To be blunt, one side of the argument has done far more listening and thinking to the other side than has occurred the other way around. I say it's time for the other side to catch up. ;)

Carol said...

Jarred-That is an EXCELLENT point! I'm talking about your last line. So many have listened, tried, and put into practice every point of the matter. It has caused personal damage, self-loathing, and even deaths. These things are not the way it's supposed to be! The plans that are offered to change don't work. Even when someone can "pass" or assume the straight life, it doesn't mean they have changed. Listening further only causes more of the same results. Enough! Time to go forward and realize self-acceptance is right and it's better!

Bryan said...

Hello Carol,
I enjoy reading your blog, but this post was especially encouraging. Sometimes I can feel guilty about defending myself or choosing not to listen to anti-gay messages. I do this out of the need to maintain my own emotional health as well as spiritual stability - I can't be constantly in crisis over this, it's not healthy! I know what I believe and why I believe it, but I feel also that I have to "be fair" sometimes too. I like what you've said; I feel like I've just been given permission to "be unfair" and stand up for myself as well as tune out those people who are negative instead of feeling I have to strain to answer every point they make. Thanks so much, Carol. This was a wonderful post. God bless!

Doorman-Priest said...

Carol writes: "Now I'm thinking: This guy can't spell, capitalize, or construct a proper sentence."

Me too: it's often my first response and it is important because it says something about the educational level of who we are dealing with. In the same way to accuse you of being a sodomite really shows a poor level of basic understanding!

Doorman-Priest said...

BTW, we've stopped calling them Christians. We refer to them as Leviticites.

Carol said...

Doorman - I have to defend my accuser in a couple of ways: 1) he called Ray a sodomite, not me. He wrote to the website that I still maintain ("maintain" is a loose term. I'm just a monitor actually). and 2) "AL" has written another e-mail (to the website) and he's grammatically correct and puts his points in logical order. My impression of him was other than that, and I stand corrected (grammatically).

Anonymous said...

From what I have seen from AL's writing, he falls into the "indoctrinated" camp, where people reiterate what they have been told ("I was born this way" vs "It's a choice and you are a sinner"), and don't fall too far from it. I like the Soulforce article, where it openly says that trying to nail homosexuality to one thing (attitude, choice, event, genetics, etc) or another is wrong [“most scientists today agree that sexual orientation is most likely the result of a complex interaction of environmental, cognitive, and biological factors.”] http://www.soulforce.org/article/1365, just like trying to judge it by our poorly derived English words is wrong. http://www.soulforce.org/article/homosexuality-bible-gay-christian. Being a post-fundamentalist, I know how a proof-texted script over a preconceived paradigm ideology works – you stick the scriptures in an order that fits your notions, and sort of avoid the rest. You cannot directly debate with someone like that. It has to be indirectly discussed (“what if your child/best friend was gay”)… as for the “choice” thing… I have met very few heterosexuals who said they could “choose to be gay”… I know how you can possibly change your sexual preference – it’s called Post Traumatic Stress, from which I suffer. But the outcomes are not controllable, or predictable, nor are it predictably permanent. Fact is, you can traumatize a person into thinking they are an octopus… but it doesn’t mean they are really an octopus, are safe as an octopus, or better off as an octopus. The other two ways I know of are drugs and extreme perversion, and neither of those is recommendable either.

Joe said...

You all are forgetting about the verses that say:

“come to me ALL who are heavy laden, and I will give you rest, unless you are a homosexual…”,

“Call upon the name of the Lord and you will be saved, unless you are a homosexual”,

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, so that any Heterosexual who believes in Him will be saved…”,

“Nothing can separate us from the Love of God, except sodomy”,

“Whoever believes and is baptized and doesn’t commit any more homosexual acts will be saved…”…

Al said...

I'm afraid I am the now infamous AL. I am not a professor, a member of any clergy, or a blogging addict. In fact I seldom do this at all. I am simply a fundamental Christian that sees what poor shape our church body has fallen into. I will respond very quickly to a few of these comments about mine and CJ's conversation. As a general statement: I am not a know it all. I am sorry that apparently all of you disagree with my point of view, but just because we disagree and I am willing to stand up for something doesn’t make me a "jerk" or a "know-it all".

To Birdie: I found this definition of “Casting pearls…” and thought it fit well.

When God calls someone and reveals the mysteries of His Kingdom to them it is the pearl of great price.

God instructs his followers to not cast what has been entrusted to them to those who reject his wonderful truth.

When you share the wonderful truths of God with others and they reject that truth then you simply stop sharing.
With all respect to CJ, she didn’t have any truths to tell me. Her argument, and so many like her, is based on feelings, not truth.

To Doorman-Priest: what the heck is a “Leviticite”

To Anonymous: I have been taught this from a child, but I am no longer a child and these are MY convictions. If I don’t know why something is taught/preached I try to figure it out for myself. As far as “you stick the scriptures in an order that fits your notions, and sort of avoid the rest” I am not the one “avoiding the rest”. When people use the argument that God is love and stop there, they are avoiding the times he has poured out judgment or condemns sin.

To Joe: I have not said that sodomites can’t be saved. I have simply pointed out where it is a sin and ANY sinner must reject their sin (whatever form it may be in) before they can be forgiven and saved.

So many are not looking at what I’ve said and are imposing your own world view. I’ve written a couple other emails to CJ that would further clarify my position, but in general I am stating this: Sodomy is a sin, as I can clearly show from God’s word. A person is no more born a sodomite than they are born a drunkard. A sodomite can be saved, but like any other sin they will reject their former sins and embrace a Christian lifestyle. Being Christian is to be Christ-like. There was nothing resembling sodomy in Christ’s life.
If I can further clarify any of these statements please email me at aa_critt@hotmail.com. As I have been civil in stating my position, I would appreciate anyone responding to reciprocate the same.

Al said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol said...

Al - I got your e-mails, as well as this comment and have posted the comment.

You keep referring to sodomites, and sodomy, etc...saying no one is born a sodomite. There is so much more about one's sexual orientation than what is involved as a sex act. The parts between one's legs are not equal to the whole person. Please don't denigrate the entirety of someone's existence down to what they do with those parts.

Meanwhile, I'm going to post an e-mail from another "Al." It will follow here...

Carol said...

(from a very dear and close friend of mine, he writes the following)

Dear Carol,
I'm so sorry you have to listen to people who are so blinded by their prejudices and who are so ensnared by their religious culture that they have no idea what is true or relevant.

I'm sure that AL attempted to elevate his interpretation of scripture above yours. He probably quoted any number of biblical passages and claimed they "proved" his point of view. In turn, you are not disagreeing with him you are disagreeing with GOD. The problem is this. Al is not God. He has never been God and he worships at the altar of current religious and fundamentalist "culture" and he doesn't even know it.

I'm sure he made reference to Leviticus and the statement that "if two men lay together....it is an abomination". For him, that is the end of the discussion. I wonder if he also supports slavery (which of course is justified a few verses later than the one he probably quoted). If he mentioned Romans, I wonder if he also talked about how the New Testament also says that women should be silent in church, that they shouldn't cut their hair, that they shouldn't teach a man or assume a position of leadership in the church. I highly doubt that he did. His culture teaches him that those things cannot be accepted at "face" value. If he spent all of his time running around trying to enforce what the Bible says about all these subject, he would certainly be a very busy man.

The body of Christ is filled with division about what the Bible says about a host of issues. That is why there are churches on every corner. Some teach that you can't wear jewelery. Some teach that if you are divorced and you remarry you are actually an adulterer. Some teach that you must be baptized in Jesus' name. Some teach you mus be baptized in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Some believe in the rapture and some don't. Some believe the time of miracles passed with the apostles and some believe that Benny Hinn performs them every day. Some believe that Saturday is the true Sabbath...and on and on and on and on.

We don't need people to run around and claim they know the truth because the Bible says this or that. We need them to shut their mouths and live their lives according to their own convictions and to realize that those who don't agree with them should be free to follow what they believe. We do not live in a religious state that is governed by a theocracy. We live in America. Treat people with respect, even if you don't agree with them. It is my personal conviction that if you do that, you will be living a more "Christian" life than pretending to be a prophet and pointing out the sin in other people's lives while ignoring your own.

Al (no.2)

Joe said...

actually, AL, I have been to Bible College (4sq), have read the Bible from Table of Contents to the Book of Maps in multiple English renditions, taken basic Biblical languages, cultures, and homiletics, as well as doctoral courses in Anthropology and Ethnography. I know how creating doctrine works. And I knew before you stated it that what you believe now is what you were taught previously.

the same places you can show sodomy as a sin, I can show that eating shrimp, piercing your ear, getting tattoos, standard gender phenomenon’s, mixing cotton with wool, mixing colors and dyes, growing your hair too long, talking in church, not taking care of your dog, etc are also sins...but then again, I can show where piecing your ear sanctifies you...I can build you all kinds of doctrines…For better or worse, my background includes Calvinists, Armenialism, dispensationalist, post-modernism, liberalism, fundamentalism, new age rationalism, Shepparding, gnosticism… lets just say I wanted to know the answer, so I grabbed all the books and read them. I can build you any doctrine you like, and I know what it is like to believe them all wholeheartedly and with un-adulterated/unwavering justification for my beliefs.

in the end, Jesus asked us to love one another. It is what we will be judged by.If homosexuality is a sin, let God be the judge and convictor. Let us carry one another's burdens, showing mercy and compassion without limit. If you desperately cannot do this without feeling compelled to point out someone's homosexuality, then it is hard for me to believe it's the "sin" aspect you are having trouble with...

Steve F. said...

Hi, Carol. Time to introduce myself as a former Lutheran (ELCA) seminarian, who was rejected by the church on financial grounds. I came out AFTER I was rejected, 14 years after I was divorced from my former wife.

I, too, have had discussions like this with people. Some have been reasoned, friendly, "I'd really like to find common ground, but the way I read the Bible, I can't" kinds of discussions. Some, like Al, just bandy phrases like "sodomite" around and think they can scare us off.

Just for the record: Ray's music, and the ministry of which you were a part, touched an awful lot of people. Those songs, those prayers, those ministry moments are not invalidated - no matter what malarkey others want to peddle. You (and Ray) are not hurting God's people; you're just irritating people who don't (and won't) understand.

Paul's encounter in Acts 10 with the Gentiles is very similar to what GLBT folks are experiencing with the greater church. We are, in fact, the new Gentiles: seen as dirty, immoral, irreligious, unclean and unacceptable in God's sight. It was a long, slow, ugly fight in Paul's day, too...[cue music: We Shall Overcome ]

But you're right: the reason that there's a phobia in HOMOphobia is because it's an irrational fear or belief. And I've known very, very, very few people who have accepted rational arguments to resolve an irrational fear.

In the end, Richard Nelson Bolles ("What Color Is Your Parachute") said it best: There are two groups of people: those who will be bothered by what and how you are, and those who will not. Your job is to say "Thank you very much for your time" to the first group, then go on and find the folks you really need. out there in the second group.

Or, as the folks in recovery would say, "What do I do when I encounter whirling dervishes?... I let 'em whirl, and walk on..."

Katie said...

Carol,

(I've got a long thought, so it may take a few posts)

So glad I found your blog today. You are filled with the true love of Jesus.You love recklessly and without prejudgement. I am sure this whole journey has been hard and eye opening all at the same time. Love you and all of yours. I am sorry for all the pain both from the last fews years and from the hard talks you have undergone against people who are not in relationship with the real face and people of LBGT life.

As for Al, Al I will say to you, I too was raised as a conservative Christian were all was defined and " completely understood" in the realm of faith, God, and sin. I would encourage you to spend some time reading some books, outside of your roots and upbringing. Find some theologians who are "aged" and tried. Who understand the history and culture of the day of the Bible. I think you will find that the "truths" that we have been taught in the church are very much through our cultural lens of today. We are just as much a "purity system" as the Jews and the Roman Imperialism in which they lived were.

All this to say. I can see and understand your "feelings" about gender issues. However, I will in grace and love say, you are wrong brother. I think the biggest "sin", of our American society is to create God in our image, meaning we have erected an idol of God in our own image, who has the same issues with stereotypes of our "American Culture".

barkprint said...

Here's the middle portion...

Just to keep things clear, from a theological and historical context, try to track hear, the Biblical text is an effort by the people of that day to "un-define God". Thus they could not even utter his name, because in doing so they may be trying grasp or define who or what GOd is. So in their culture and in their day the boundaries that Jesus blazed over, i.e. women's issues, jew gentile, healing the sick i.e. sinful and calling Christ the King were all as edgy and stereotypical as the LGBT stuff is today. That said let's bring the good Samaritan modern day, and you're not going to like this, it would be the good Gay man. That is probably hard for you to hear but as you said yourself you are not a minister, theologian or trained in the history and study of the Bible. So dear brother, submit yourself to those and the information that is. If the lay church folk refuse to open their Biblical understanding to studied folk we will have a messed up theology and we will interrupt the Bible wrongly and without the love of God.

So here is were you email with "proof texts" proving you are right. And all I will say is don't bother. Because for every argument you have with a proof text I have a counter cultural and theological context which proves your argument wrong just as Joe showed. I don't want to come across as pomp-ass or somehow better, and I do not presume as much. But if we are to get into the game of words and knowing, I am lovingly trying to say that you lose and not to me per-say but to the bigger and much more studied and versed world of theology. I am just seeking God, not truth, or biblical proof... but God.

barkprint said...

Here's the last section.

Someone has said, and I can't remember who, but " the Bible is just a finger pointing to God, worship God not the finger." The only time I stand and scream loud is when people say things as you have about what God is okay with and is not okay with. I am so glad that God is HUGE, bigger than our understanding and bigger than the Biblical language, grasp, cultural context, and history. So from here I would say pick up some literature and read. If you read it and say,"hmmm that is what I thought", then you need to get a different book. Until you are willing to open your understanding of God, faith, and Christianity to things that you are uncomfortable with, you will not really be experiencing what the message of Christ felt like to the people of the day. Sorry this is so long, but I felt it necessary. Al, grace and peace from God the father. I offer you love, support, and an open door to dialogue, book suggestions, and authentic conversation.

In the words of Socrates, "Show me a man who claims to be wise, and I will know with certainty that this man is not wise but instead foolish, a wiseman never claims to know anything with certainty." I know I do not know how vast the love of God is and how awesome his ways, but I do know that your love and ways are limited therefore not "the way".

John Robinson said...

I came across this blog after reading an article about HiTPLAY in my favorite publication, A Bear's Life magazine. I love music immensely and therefore started researching the artists associated with HiTPLAY, which led to my discovery of Ray Boltz and his "coming out" story. This in turn led to reading a multitude of judgmental and even downright nasty and evil comments from supposedly God-fearing Christians in reaction to Ray's situation.

I was brought up in a strict religious home where we read the Bible every morning. The church we attended followed many of the Old Testament laws and rituals. Whether that is right or wrong is immaterial. What I found is that I continually felt devalued as a human being; I believed I was useless and rotten and something was "wrong" with me. Once I learned to accept myself for who I am, I became a much happier and more productive member of society, because I could extend my focus outward, away from my own personal struggles, to be more concerned about helping others and impacting the universe at large in positive ways.

As someone who has traveled the world and experienced many different cultures and perspectives, I encourage everyone to examine their beliefs (whatever they may be) and make certain those beliefs empower them to live a life of love and contribution in ALL ways. I continue to be enlightened daily by keeping my mind open and questioning, rather than closed and opinionated.

I have never responded to an online blog before but feel compelled to say that you seem to be an amazing individual, Carol. I sincerely wish you the very best and utmost happiness in all you do.

(On a side note, I had to smile when I saw that "dance" is my "word verification" for logging in today, because I'm a dance instructor.)

Carol said...

Thanks - that mine was your first. :)

Sincerely, what beautiful advice, John, to live fully and learn to love. I like what you added to these comments.

Carol