Facebook and its fellow Zuckerberg enterprise, Instagram, has been having a rough week. First, a whistleblower explained that immediately following the election, the company eliminated its ethics team assuming that the threat was over (or at least able to rationalize the lucrative decision on this basis), resulting in Facebook being a great place for the insurrectionists to plan their attack on the capitol. The whisteblower also described how the company buried studies that show the mental harm Instagram does to users, particularly teen girls. If all that wasn’t bad enough, Monday morning Facebook and Instagram went down and were completely unavailable for hours, costing Zuck billions. Speculation was rampant, and those most active on these platforms were in full panic mode. Others smirked and said they never liked these platforms anyway, or as my son put it, Facebook is where old people go to be old. The real winners were places like Twitter and Reddit which have their own distinct ways to achieve status.
I just got back from a fantastic month in Greece, learning about Greek history, eating Greek food, and watching incredibly vain men and women hogging the primo picture-taking spots with their manufactured Instagram photo-taking. Whenever we saw a woman who was completely overdressed for the activity, like a walk up a tall hill to a windy outlook while wearing a sequined gown or huge wide-brimmed straw hat that was never going to stay on in all that wind, inevitably she and her photographing partner would take up residence in the one perfect spot in front of the iconic building / landscape / sunset, and then take 10 or 15 minutes worth of photos, oblivious to the other tourists waiting to take a photo. In one place, a couple was doing a “spontaneous” romantic photo shoot in front of a Church. They didn’t notice the sign right next to where they were standing that said “This is a holy place. Please act accordingly.” And for those who want a Mormon version of this, we were hiking to Donut Falls last weekend in Salt Lake City, and at the top of the falls was a young man ostentatiously praying for 15 full minutes, literally ruining the photo opp at the end of the hike for dozens of hikers. Even Enos wouldn’t have squatted in the one place people had just hiked 45 minutes to take a picture of. That’s just manners.
I was recently listening to a Vox podcast conversation about status. As primates, we can’t help but be concerned about our social status. It’s hard-wired into us, and yet it’s the exact thing that Jesus taught we needed to curb. Even Pres. Benson in his talk about Pride (that he plagiarized from C.S. Lewis) taught that comparing ourselves to others, whether we’re a top or a bottom is problematic and leads to all sorts of mischief.
Status is more important to us than money because money only matters in that it indicates our status. As the Vox conversation pointed out, there are those who acquire status by being against too much money, those who show that they are better than their materialistic cohorts. In the 70s, there was a rising trend in fashion called “Shabby Chic” as explained in these lyrics Billy Joel penned:
Where have you been hidin’ out lately, honey?Billy Joel, It’s Still Rock and Roll To Me
You can’t dress trashy till you spend a lot of money.
Claiming that you don’t care about status can be a form of status-seeking. Whenever we tear down a form of status that others seek, rest assured, there’s a different group that will laud our rejection of that specific type of status. Not caring about something others care too much about is the very definition of being cool. It confers status.
Moving around as much as I did as a child, I was able to see local status systems as an outsider. Sometimes they were the same as the last place I had lived, but sometimes they were a change. The locals valued something that the locals in my last locale had not. This gave me a sense that these status systems are flimsy, transitory, provincial, not something to get hung up about on any deep level.
The Vox conversation pointed out that while social media has democratized status seeking and given us another way (non-monetary) to measure our status (through friends, likes, comments, follows, etc.) on a daily basis, as primates we will find the status systems around us regardless. Status systems are what hold communities together. We don’t need social media to do that. It comes naturally. They mentioned that churches are very effective status systems, which is ironic in a way because that’s the opposite of what Jesus taught. Jesus said to sit with the people who are unpopular (the prostitutes and tax collectors), and that if we do things to be “seen of men” we have our reward. Churches, like all status systems, rely on a shared story about what’s important. As with our eventual religious rewards, we’ve all agreed that a specific set of actions, a way of talking, a dress code, the people we admire, all confer status.
One’s status at Church could be related to the type of calling you or your spouse have, the status of your children, how many children or grandchildren you have, what types of clothing you wear, where your kids go to school, material things like your house or car, how “spiritual” you are perceived to be, how many people tell you they liked your talk, how well you sing the hymns or other musical talents, your comments in class, the lessons you give, which general authorities you quote, etc.
But your status can also be about the ways in which you don’t conform to these. You can attain status among a subset of Church members if your political views are different, if you wear a blue shirt instead of white, if you sport facial hair, tats or multiple piercings, if you quote rock lyrics instead of General Authorities. Here are a few things I do that I know make me different, and that mark me out as not that type of Mormon, but this other type of Mormon:
- I say Mormon.
- I don’t use middle initials for Church leaders.
- I wear an RBG mask at Church.
- I say what I really think about things others fall all over themselves to praise: garments, temples, church activities, etc.
The thing is, I do enough of these things that I rarely code as Mormon to most insiders. That might be going too far with the anti-status, or maybe the trick is I just don’t like the things most Mormons do and don’t want to be a part of their weird little club. What about you?
- What types of status reinforcement do you see at Church?
- What things give you status at Church?
- What types of Mormon status signalling do you avoid?
 Because patriarchy.
 What a shame.
 Our least favorite of these photos is always the “back of my head while I look at something.”
Mormonism is very uniform, so it is fun sometimes to buck the trend and have a foot outside of the box.
The dropping of initials with authorities jars people in a humorous way.
Asking someone to catch up for a coffee at lunch, or a beera if meeting up in the evening. Common work vernacular, but outside of the Mormon paradigm.
A fun floral shirt on Sunday. Girls get all the fun for Sunday attire. But nothing says male outsider like a colourful shirt, no tie.
Absence of a calling.
The nice thing about being outside the standard church experience though, is that you have stacks of time to focus on your kids, on people and to help where you see the need.
The AC in our building has had a few hiccups recently (in central Arizona….). After two weeks in a row where it shut off during sacrament meeting and wouldn’t come back on, I wore a loose shirt and tie the next week. Made sure to tell the bishop and missionaries who were at the door that I was playing strip poker against church facilities, and would be coming with less and less clothing on every week until the AC was fixed. The bishop laughed but one of the elders was horrified.
On a serious note, I dress like a TBM with a suit every week. People are surprised when they find out that I didn’t go on a mission. I’ve had a number of leadership callings (ward level) in wards that are full of TBM RMs. This all leads people into thinking I’m a regular TBM. Until I give a talk, lesson or make a comment in class. Until I speak up when someone is praising Trump at an activity or in a lesson. Until I inadvertently swear at an activity or service project. Until someone from the Ward sees me out running with a tank top or (gasp) no shirt.
I join hawk girl in condemning modern social media. It has created several younger generations of status seekers with insatiable appetites for fame.
Unfortunately, this status seeking on social media goes beyond just pride. Facebook in particular has been used by countless individuals to facilitate illicit affairs with high school flames. Morality and family unity is suffering.
When young people hog access to historic sites so they can act like randy Russian princesses, our whole society suffers. Piety and humility get thrown out the window like yesterday’s Irish nachos.
Oh, there are status seekers at church all right. The new “status” is to show superiority in following the prophet by wearing a mask. The new method of virtue signaling has truly arrived.
Knowing how to speak during testimonies or during particularly spiritual moments – ie a kind of husky voice or crying a lot can make you seem very spiritual. Calling every president of every organization “president” seems to be in vogue right now and seems to be an effective way to suck up.
As a former bishop who now is on the high council my situation may be somewhat unique but ways that I show my status as an “outsider” is to wear a shirt and tie without a suit coat to all meetings. I’ve always thought wearing a jacket in Arizona in the summer was especially pointless unless you’re trying to demonstrate holiness. I try to call almost everyone by their first name except for a very few people like the bishop or stake president. I got a tattoo this summer which I really hope will help keep me from further callings. I try with determination to not cry and to keep my talks real and am pretty vocal
About supporting LGBT and women’s participation. Recently I referred to the recent boundary realignment as gerrymandering and got some comments about that . When I play the organ I play it with some flare (being a trained organist) but I suspect this works both ways. I use the word Mormon in talks.
One of my concerns is that I’m just fringe enough to be different or “quirky” but almost by definition I’m still an insider because I’ve paid my dues.
@toad, the “call everyone President” trend is generally about elevating women’s status – not sounding trendy. If you call the Bishop and stake President their titles but not a primary or relief society President, some may perceive that as antithetical to your attempts at elevating women’s voices. (I don’t think that’s intentional on your part – just sayin’.)
Angela I think it’s a funny point about how both the thing and the opposite of the thing gives status … and the extreme thing and the extreme opposite takes it away.
Being *too* Mormony is weird and not-cool. Being *too* not Mormony is weird and not-cool. People seem to like being just off to one side or the other. As much as I’m reluctant to quote Benson on this one, I think this has a lot to do with the attitude behind it. Are you a guy wearing a colored shirt and no tie to church because that’s what you like to wear but you really don’t care what anyone else is doing? Ok. Are you a guy wearing a colored shirt and no tie to church because you think Mormons who wear white shirts are lame and uncool and you are not a lame, uncool Mormon and want to make sure everyone sees that? That’s annoying.
This is sort of an aside and not about status, but a crazy cultural quirk that just happened to a family member this morning: her (totally Mormon) neighborhood text thread just got a text in from someone asking if anyone had a Valium they could have. Dead serious, not a joke. And people are chiming in trying to help this woman get a Valium. Can you imagine if instead someone asked for coffee? Coffee would be a scandal but Valium is ok? That’s so weird. And I guess ties to status in that WoW is this narrowly-defined thing but it’s OK to do all sorts of other unhealthy (illegal!) things.
@ernesto, that’s right! That’s why I’ve been wearing a mask throughout the entire pandemic, including long before the prophet asked people to. And it’s why I continue to do so at church activities when I am literally the only one doing so and people look at me like I am a paranoid freak. It’s because I want them to see what how righteous I am at following … the CDC. Trust me, it’s not cool or status-conferring to wear a mask in my area so stop managing your own insecurity about it by projecting that motive onto mask-wearers. That has *literally* nothing to do with why I wear a mask.
“I wear an RBG mask at Church.”
Love it. Stay notorious, RBG.
Elisa is wrong. The CDC, and President Biden by the way, previously said that those who are vaccinated do not need to wear masks. Period. Now, they want mask wearing. How can anyone say that it is scientifically useful for a vaccinated person to wear a mask in church?
Elisa’s “better than thou” attitude is hateful. Plenty of people have been vaccinated and realize that the science shows that they have a higher chance of being killed in a traffic accident than they do of dying from Covid. Shoving mask wearing in the face of other church attendees is the ultimate status seeking act of “look at me.”
@ernesto, I shouldn’t even respond, and I won’t again, except to say it’s hilarious you think I am wearing a mask at church in order to say “look at me”. I’m actually pretty self-conscious about it since no one else is (after sacrament meeting – a good chunk of my ward wears during sacrament meeting but none after and none at mid-week activities) and I don’t love sticking out.
I already stick out enough for speaking up for LGBTQ folks and other things that identify me as a potential apostate (also super uncomfortable for me as an inherent people-pleaser who doesn’t like standing out! But the right thing to do so I do my best!) so wearing a mask is definitely not designed to establish follow-the-prophet cred.
I’m sure you don’t believe me since you’ve already accused me of being “hateful” for … wearing a mask … but thanks for the amusing complete misinterpretation and miscontruction if my actual motives and lived experience. Cool buddy. You do you!
Meanwhile, you’re right, I’m not going to die of covid. Sadly, many in my ward aren’t vaccinated, so would rather not give it to them and wearing a mask – other than, as I mentioned, being a little embarrassing since I don’t like being “different” and in my ward I think masking is perceived as nerdy – is a relatively minor thing I can do to protect my ward members who either can’t or won’t get vaccinated. But you already know that’s the reason vaccinated people wear masks and just refuse to acknowledge it, and it’s getting so, so, so, so old to hear the same willfully ignorant arguments.
Same goes for your argument @wayne. We’ve heard it. If you don’t want to wear a mask and you’re vaccinated, honestly, I don’t care. I’m vaccinated. You not wearing a mask doesn’t really impact me. But give the rest of us a break. Seriously.
Ok really done talking about masks on every. Single. Post. Ever. Please stop trotting out the same arguments. Please. It’s so boring. No one is changing anyone’s mind. But for the love of all that is holy at least don’t call me hateful for wearing a freaking mask to church.
@Elisa. Thank you for calling me out, I’ll think about this a little more carefully.
My decision to not call every single person with a president calling was based on two things 1. its virtually impossible to remember who has what calling, including youth classes and their counselors (because after all counselors to stake presidents, branch presidents, first presidency, etc are also called “President”). 2. A few years who there were talks and direction given that men with keys were to be called presidents which caused all kinds of confusion. When a deacon president was addressed as President Jones people didn’t know if it was him or his Dad the EQ president. We then started calling the Patriarch and by his title and (btw Patriarch Smith just sounds culty) even Matriarch for temple president wives, etc.
Elisa: you’re probably overdoing the mask thing since the CDC says you don’t need to if you’ve been vaccinated. But that’s your choice.
Ernesto: There’s nothing “hateful” about Elisa wearing a mask. It’s her simple choice to do so. And it’s your choice not to.
Everyone: As a fully active TBM until very recently, I just have to say that my life is so much easier now that I do not have to worry at all about my status at church. One of the things I detested about my Church community (ward) along the eastern part of the Wasatch front was how strongly the prosperity gospel mentality prevailed. You would literally hear members of the ward attribute their prosperity to their righteousness. I’m so happy to be away from that Mormon rat race which was all about financial status mixed with “spiritual” status.
The new status symbol has become refusing to use the word “Mormon” and pointing the refusal out to other members at every opportunity.
I don’t think anyone was saying that it is hateful to wear a mask. I think they were saying that it is hateful to accuse everyone who views the science differently of being an idiot.
Mormonism already creates enough shame, guilt, and bad hygiene through unbreathable garments, long sleeve shirt/tie, and suit jackets with a broken ward building A/C.
The last thing any of us itty bitty humans on this large overheating planet need is to seek status through the eyes of church participation.
I often laugh at the irony of Mormon culture hating on the unshaven. Jesus himself has a beard in every church painting, picture, and primary coloring page. Brigham Young wouldn’t pass the honor code if he even attended the nursing school.
Testimony meetings have become travel logs mixed with humble bragging and status seeking.
General conference has become a form of verbal regurgitation mingled with name dropping. As if President Nelson, sitting three chairs away, has to be quoted from last conference since it’s only been six months!
Mormon culture loves the status seeker. It’s fundamentally built into our three degrees of Heaven! It’s built into our work ethic while a missionary. It’s baked into the foundations of the church, even down to the ward building cleaning process. The semi-inactive family that’s always late for everything gets to clean the bathroom!
Even in these comments, there’s a strong undercurrent tone of “I’m not as crazy as most Mormons…”
I guess in the end, we are hard wired for destruction. Whether it be through social media, excessive church participation, or cancer. We will all die leaving our funerals to be our last presentation of our accumulated status here on earth.
But wait, there’s more! I’ll make it to the celestial kingdom because I wore dry silk undergarments, attended the temple weekly, baked cakes for the neighbors, taught gospel doctrine, paid my tithing, did my home teaching and ministering, walked the dog, wore a nice suit, drove an Escalade, took the YM water skiing in my new boat, did 72 hours of service (just yesterday alone), and know a President Nelson’s grandson who is married to my former classmate from the second grade!
@Josh, CDC guidelines still recommend that fully-vaccinated people wear a mask in public indoor settings in areas of substantial or high transmission. That’s my county, my school district (absolutely raging), and my ward! I def don’t wear masks everywhere but in crowded spaces where distancing isn’t possible and there are lots of unvaccinated people (like Church or my kids’ schools), I still do. I don’t outdoors, or in my workspace, which is now requiring vaccine verifications and isn’t super crowded, or in stores where I can keep some distance. It just depends. Like I said – not personally worried. Just trying to do my part to say “science matters, experts matter, and I’ll try not to get you sick neighbor.” Maybe that’s a status move on my part to show that I believe science but it’s not winning me any friends in my corner of the universe, I promise. I certainly don’t judge vaccinated people for not wearing masks. I save all my judgment for eligible people who refuse the vaccine ;-).
Also, you’re right that we very, very strongly correlate financial / professional / personal success with righteousness. Other prosperity-gospel Christians do this too, but we tend to act like we’re better than them because we’re a little less overt about it. Underneath it’s really the same mentality.
@Wayne, I think a lot of this has to do with the fact that we usually hear scientists (including the CDC, and by extension government officials who are informed by science) only talk about subjects with decades’ worth of research and a strong consensus behind them. Now, when it comes to COVID safety/vaccination, we have less than a year’s worth of reliable data, and even less solid analysis. Yes, the guidance keeps changing. And it’s because scientists are still investigating this illness. We get the updates faster than ever before. For a minute, the best science suggested that after vaccination, masks weren’t important. When the pathogen evolved, so did the science and the recommendation.
I think in some places mask wearing can be virtue-signaling, and in some places it’s not. Context makes a big difference.
I’m a cisgender man, and I prefer to wear my hair and beard pretty long. I try to keep it well groomed, not messy (though I’ve slipped a bit in the pandemic!). I see this as an “alternate rebellion” (a la DBT for anyone into psychology), where I am rebelling without sinning against God, my neighbor, or my own morals. I think that is something of a status identifier. I also usually wear a colorful shirt (usually a single solid color) to church, and haven’t worn a tie since the pandemic started… at first it was a practical thing (tie + mask + a mild medical thing = difficulty breathing, but remove one factor and I’m fine), but I imagine I won’t want to wear a tie later.
A while back I sort of set myself up as the sound guy for ward activities. I have the equipment and I know how to rig it and run it. I think that is sort of a role/status that I hold.
For me, a lot of this is not intended as a status indicator—it’s more about comfort or quality in the experience or… well, comfort. And I can definitely see how these things (plus others I didn’t mention or some I don’t notice yet) can illustrate status at church. Good illustration of how intent =/= result.
I felt weird about wearing a mask at a funeral this last weekend because I’ve been fully vaccinated since spring. (The deceased died of Covid). In the days since the funeral, six people have tested positive, some of them fully vaccinated, including two people I spent a ton of time with. In retrospect, I’m glad I wore a mask, even though almost nobody there did and the social pressure ran the opposite direction.
Hey guys, all this talk and related argument about masks while linked to status is getting old and far from the subject at hand. A good thing would be to reread the original post and respond to the core message. All the banter in some of these comments does not really contribute to a meaningful discussion.
From KSL today:
“ COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. are coming down again, hospitalizations are dropping, and new cases per day are about to dip below 100,000 for the first time in two months — all signs that the summer surge is waning.”
“ The decreases have been especially sharp in several Deep South states, where cases have gone down more than twice as fast as they have nationwide. Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas all saw their case numbers cut in half over the past two weeks.”
I feel like it should be pointed out that this is another case where the Church is spot on in decrying the problems with social media, the dangers of it, particularly to young people (YW especially), yet not copping to the exact same harms caused by status-seeking and other social pressures within the Church culture. Yes, we now know that Facebook knowingly causes eating disorders in teen girls. You know what else does that? Patriarchal Church culture that focuses young women to be commodities based on their beauty and fertility and Church leaders who feel compelled to comment on women’s appearance. We heard about the problems of divisiveness in GC (well, those who listened did), but we also have Church leaders being so obviously and openly partisan right-wing extremists or creating weapons out of things like the Church’s name. We have people who are encouraged to tattle on other members, we’ve elevated disagreement with temporary policies to “apostasy.” Who is it that’s creating divisiveness again? Let’s get real. Some people say they don’t want divisiveness, but what they actually want is autocratic thought leadership. That creates unity, but with a rising body count.
I say Mormon.
DBT skills for the win!
For a long time I have worn a necktie to church without buttoning the top button, more of the relaxed approach. COVID has given me courage to go seven months at a time without a haircut. Any virtuous signalling I ever did went out the window when I realized Pres Monson was just a chipper fella who liked pigeons and recycling his old stories. Nelson’s COJCOLDS obsession didn’t help either, especially because Wendy said Russell became a man unleashed in January of 2018.
A few months later I had a child in drug rehab and my Sunday visits became the most spiritual part of my week.
CDC Covid data Tracker has Utah ranked #13 in the U.S. highest Covid case numbers for the past 7 days.
Idaho is near the top.
@ivy I’ve been thinking about the “Mormon” thing. I think a lot of people are just sincerely trying to be obedient and it’s not about status – just obedience. Which is super sad because it’s such a ridiculous thing to be so sincere and concerned about. What was it elder maxwell said about getting caught up in the thick of thin things? Maybe RMN could give that a think.
There is def some virtue signaling going on but I mostly see sincere people trying to obey. Again, drives me nuts, but it’s sincere.
@gerry I agree and hereby repent of engaging with the mask trolls and commit to ignore them forevermore, amen.
Status implies a ranking of sorts relative to others within a group. In order to have any status within a group you first need to belong to the group.
I beleive much of the LDS virtue signaling is less about jockeying for status, but rather to prove that you belong or are loyal to the group. For many, if not most Mormons, that means following behavioral norms to prove loyalty to the church as a organization. The organizational imperative is a big driver of belonging and status
This conflict between loyalty to “the church” and true discipleship of Jesus has always been there. Luke/Acts seems to lean heavily on the importance of the orginization, while John seems to focus more on the value of individual discipleship.
With the assumption that human beings are able to accomplish more when they work together, there is value in the church as an means to organize people do good in the world. As with most things in the world, balance is key.
I have multiple loyalties to different people and organizations. When there is a conflict between my loyalties, I prioritize them in the following order: spouse, children, parents and siblings, extended family, close friends, church, nation, work, causual friends, everyone else. The status to which I place the most importance is that of a loving supporter of the people closest to me. If if ever comes to a conflict between my loved ones and the church, well… the church looses. And I beleive that is how the Lord wants it.
I wear a mask at church, which puts me in a definite minority.
During the last couple of years I was active, I would speak in stake conference twice a year. During that time and for each of those “talks,” I never quoted LDS general authorities except for the occasional President Uchtdorf reference (whom I loved!). Rather, I would find the most interesting things to discuss coming from the New York Times, the writings of Tim Keller, and a host of other progressive voices. In most any other way (my appearance, the way I lived my life, my friends, etc), I was down-the-plate Mormon (sorry, I know I shouldn’t say that). I’m even from Utah and still have that Intermountain West accent although I’ve lived outside of Utah my entire adult life. But since I didn’t quote the “prophets,” people knew something was off about me. I did get some nice feedback on the points I raised and discussed by certain members, but no… the visiting general authorities didn’t give me any pats on the back like they did the other speakers.
I’ve always felt status-challenged, as far back as I can remember. There are good reasons for this in our family dynamic with many children. I spent a lot of time myopically focused on my own plight. But inevitably I witnessed the startling scenario of someone, who appeared to me to have stellar privilege and status, reveal their status insecurity. So many times. Enough times. Now that I’m older and have done a lot of recovery work, I can more readily see behaviors that are rooted in insecurity, sometimes even in myself.
One example: I have a younger relative who is the personification of the blonde, smart, beautiful, righteous, former championship cheerleader, modern, all-American Mormon woman, who has 5 kids under the age of 10, a career, and a thriving side hustle. Also a handsome sweet hubby who works hard and adores taking care of the kids. (I forgot to list rich and blessed) On social media, her persona is obsessively fit and svelte, exercising daily for her followers, and dispensing life advice. (Sometimes it’s sound advice too.) It’s quite different from who she is in real life, and yet this aspect is really her too. I worry about her mental health a little. I recognize that glazed look in her eye. And I know that all this spent energy has its origin, at least in part, in the insecurity that plagues all of us. Who woulda thunk that privileged wyt rich folks would be riddled with insecurities?
Or maybe as hawk pointed out, we’re human and just hardwired to seek status, any way that works. Anti-status, hyper-embracing or -rejection of group norms, & etc, I think it’s an underlying factor in almost everything we think, say, and do. Smart people with PhDs, training, and experience advance our study and understanding of this. And social media is like crack.
Except we’re not all using crack, amirite? We’re more complicated than predictable automatons; we can develop our empathy, critical thinking, and intentionality; we can mitigate the worst excesses and urges, and some of us do that well. Which confers a certain status.
It hurts my brain. Forget I brought all this up. I only came here to refute the notion that fizzbork is where old people go to be old. I follow many Fb and IG accounts who use it as their primary marketing tool, to put food and fuel into their families. After Monday’s outage, coincidentally occurring during the whistleblower’s testimony before Congress, I witnessed some panic, then relief, then some folks got busy diversifying their connections with their customers.
Hawkgirl, you have my empathy and admiration for your continued engagement with the church, but your weariness is showing
when you use invectives like ‘weird little club’ and harshly describing our gentle folk who just wanna be like Jesus.
Except when you’re talking sexism and Patriarchy. I love your scissor-handing of that shiz. Yer not too harsh for that.
The Facebook case is interesting for another reason. It’s all about what gets amplified, not about what exists. That’s also the problem in the Church. There will always be terrible Christians and good ones. MDearest is right that I am weary of certain people in the Church, wearier all the time, but I disagree that the ones who wear me down are the ones who wanna be like Jesus. If that’s what they want, boy are they doing a crappy job of it. I’m tired of the ones who milk the Church culture for all the status they can get by turning Jesus into a gun-toting, welfare-hating Republican. Who don’t think twice about some of the cultural things that are harmful, but instead conform and judge those who don’t. Who make it impossible for people who affirm LGBT people or women or science. I am tired of the worst impulses in the Church (control, judgmentalism, perfectionism, leader worship, tattling, outward “righteousness,” status of callings, wealth) functioning as a substitute for Jesus’ actual teachings.
As careful as I try to be writing comments, maybe I communicated poorly here. I should’ve inserted a sarcasm emoji, or maybe put “our “gentle” folk who just wanna be “like Jesus” in irony-laden scare quotes. Any better?
Because I agree with Hawkgrrrl’s last comment, that there’s a problem in church with people who can skillfully detect everyone’s motes but completely miss their own beams. And then escape the consequences because our culture allows privilege where it isn’t merited.
And it’s not irony or sarcasm, but just straight up admiration when I offer my empathy for your continued church engagement despite the weariness. I can’t do it, at times I wish I could, and I know some of those conflicted feelings. But I keep them at a distance so I can muster perhaps more tolerance than is deserved, and not so acutely feel the sting of futility.
Another thing I can’t do easily is to clearly and succinctly call out the bullcrap. But I recognize it when someone puts those skills to good use. Brava! Well done. Your status in that is wholly merited.