July 05, 2021
“Rev Karla, why do you have to be so rude? She’s just sharing her opinion.”
I must admit, the first time someone said something like that to me, it gave me pause. I hadn’t expected that a follower would suggest my comments were “rude.” There are days when being on the receiving end of relentless vitriol takes its toll, but I don’t think anything I’ve ever said could be described as rude.
For perspective, and perhaps a little entertainment, let’s begin with the definition of rude:
discourteous or impolite, especially in a deliberate way: a rude reply.
without culture, learning, or refinement: rude, illiterate peasants.
rough in manners or behavior; unmannerly; uncouth. rough, harsh, or ungentle: rude hands.
This may seem like a detour from today’s topic, but it isn’t. What I think this person’s comment reflects is a conditioned response to conflict -- one that most likely originated from familial or religious values. That type of conditioning taught many of us to be blindly obedient to someone’s judgment of us if they spoke from a place of authority, lest we be viewed as disrespectful…
This is true for me as well. It took me years to deconstruct from religious indoctrination that taught me that silence, no matter how you were being treated, was saint-like submissiveness and exemplified your faithful obedience to God. Convince the masses of that, and the perpetuation of a religious institution was guaranteed.
Except it isn’t anymore.
Why? Because we know that more Americans now identify with being spiritual but not religious, or unchurched, than ever before. You heard that right. America is no longer not only a religious nation, but no longer a Christian nation.
This means that the majority of us now reject teachings that seek to control people through religious indoctrination, choosing instead to use our voices for the common good, work for social justice and equity, and find our spiritual paths through inner soul work.
For the individual who rejects religion, it isn’t the end of the story. What follows is a deconstruction period that can oftentimes take years. It’s crucial for those who want to untangle their personal narratives from toxic belief systems. The very same ones that created the filter through which our life experiences pass, often leaving us to wallow in guilt, berate others for “living in sin,” or conclude that someone’s pushback on judgement is rude.
There is so much to understand and unpack here that this blog is simply an introduction for what I will fully explore in my podcast related to this topic.
For our time here however, I leave you with this thought: rude has varied definitions -- none of which, appropriately defines my responses to commenters. Any discomfort around what I have to say, especially when I’m amplifying the voices of the marginalized, is more of a reflection of an inability to step out of a comfort zone, indoctrination into silent obedience silence and a willingness -- or lack thereof -- to understand that our voices must be loud and our words clear in order to be a part of the healing this world so desperately needs.
That isn’t being rude.
That is being an activist.
And an activist’s work is sacred and Holy.
Change does not live in our comfort zone.
It lives on the outer edges.
That is where you will find me.
Will you join me there?
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The 60’s were a dichotomy. They held great tension as people risked their lives to free themselves from the oppression their ancestors had endured. Even brutal winters did not deter activists from marching in frigid temps to stand together and fight for their rights.