It’s pretty much been a month since I last wrote here. No good reason exists for this, really, aside from sometimes I feel like I’m about to pop and need to step back from a number of things. As much as I enjoy having a presence here, and as much as I enjoy hearing from you all on here, bloggering is currently an easy thing to step back from. So, with that said, please excuse my distance and my silence, and thanks for continuing to read my words.
The saying, “Neti, Neti” means essentially, “Not this, not that” and is employed be jnanis, among others, in the process of discerning Brahman’s nature and attributes. Because of the absoluteness of Brahman, a truer and truthfully more accurate way of knowing Truth is often found in knowing what Truth is not, thus, Neti-Neti. I sometimes use this when asked where I want to eat for dinner. I might not know what I’m in the mood for, but I can usually tell you what I’m not in the mood for, and so the process of refinement begins as to where dinner will be served.
I feel this concept applies to each of us as we’re on our journey toward Self-Realization, toward our real Nature which is Brahman. Obviously, because of our egos and individual experiences and individual karmas, the most base application of Neti-Neti is as it pertains to our minute, personal, human experience.
In that context, as far as my personal experience of Brahman in my life, I tend to view the episodes in my life as part of this process of elimination/refinement. I have an experience. Does it point to Truth or doesn’t it? Hinting at Truth is something everything everywhere does, so that doesn’t count. But does an experience, or a person, or dogma, or anything…does it definitively point to Truth? If not, learn from it and move on. Such is the case, in my life, for Christianity.
A co-worker, as part of our discussion today, stated that Mormonism is an un-Christian cult. I suppose if I looked more into it I might could agree with this, but that would be irrelevant. For the sake of balance, I responded that in it’s beginning what we now call Christianity was viewed as no different by folks who weren’t Christians. They were indeed, a small dissenting group of people who wandered around claiming their leader is God. Mormons were never fed to lions by the Romans for entertainment, but otherwise there are actually quite a number of parallels between the Mormons and the rest of Christianity. My co-worker didn’t care for these remarks and the conversation ended quickly. Apparently what’s good for the goose isn’t good for the… goose.
I’m currently taking a humanities class in which, as part of a recent assignment, I’m basically being asked to pretend I’m either Christian or Jewish. I’ll spare you the details, but suffice to say I’m not happy. The concept is just fuzzy enough that the school can get away with it, but the work is still clear. I think part of what’s so vile about this assignment, beyond pretending to be something I’m not, is that I have to pretend to promote and condone what I don’t agree with. Sugar on top? One of my co-students and team mate on this project is a middle-aged woman who is unapologetically Christian and when we were hashing out responsibilities for this project she was quick to point out that not only is Christianity the only religion on the planet that encompasses all others, but that the cross is the only religious symbol which is found in all other religions.
Jesus-Fucking-Christ… this is what I’m dealing with. Before this class is over, there may well be a scene because after allowing my toes to be stepped on a few times by the school’s curriculum and classmates’ remarks, I’m actually quite liable to tell a bitch to go to hell and slide her some hand-written directions.
So, the convsersation today… class work from last week… Now let’s back up quite a bit. Let’s revisit my teen years briefly.
For a short time, during my teens, I was the only Christian in my family. To say I was a monster for Jesus would probably be something of an understatement. My intentions were as noble as they come, but that doesn’t mean they weren’t also vile at their source. I’ll spare most of the details, because they amount to this: I was about as typical as it could get for being a zealous Christian teen. The only way it would have been worse is if my parents were Christian, too.
This business lasted a few years until I was around 17 or close to 18. It was just before 18 that I began makng it known to my church youth group that I found a lot of evidence that the Bible/Jesus/God didn’t condemn gays. I was doing this rather gently and secretly because I intended to work my way into a position to come out to them. However, the youth pastor decided to nip the whole thing in the bud(butt?) and called me to his home one evening.
Sitting in his library, he said it’d been brought to his attention that I was spreading “false doctrine.” I explained, as best I could for being neither an adult nor a Bible scholar, that I didn’t believe Christianity condemned gays. His next move was to asked, “Do you consider yourself a homosexual?” I answered in the affirmative. Upon receiving that answer, he assured me, “There’s no place in the youth group, or anywhere else in the church, for someone like you.”
Sitting on his couch alone, and virtually defenseless, I could do nothing by look toward my feet and begin to sob. In the years leading up to this moment, I had actually done more than plenty to distance myself from my family-for the sake of Jesus. And here, an actual man of god was dismissing me entirely. The following months brought the best that church could offer in “therapy,” which amount to nothing. I had already cried myself to sleep numerous nights because I didn’t understand why I am gay. I sought out hetero porn, thinking it might “stick” and change my inclinations. I had girlfriends. I prayed at home, hidden in my bedroom’s closet (irony, no!?!?), the most private place I knew… and I’d prayed down front at my church’s altar. Nothing-which I’m so very thankful for.
I know many good people. Very very dear people to me, who happen to be Christians. Many of these folks would claim people like those others “aren’t real Christians.” That’s simply not true, though. These Christians who are dear to me, I think exhibit the purest Christianity, but chances are great that the vast majority of all the other fellow Christians on this planet still say my old church is correct. In fact I know this to be true, even in my life today. It wasn’t enough that I was literally kicked out as a teen (I had to sign some paper, too, after being asked “one last time”), but now as an adult Christians are the leading reason for why I’m unable to marry the man I’ve dedicated the biggest chunk of my adult life to.
As disappointing as this is going to sound, and forgive me for sounding jaded/hurt/judgemental, I’m convinced that nearly everything Abrahamic is violent and destructive. Throughout world history, into today, and in many places in my own life this has been the truth of experience. When I consciously and conscientiously seek Brahman, and encounter most things Abrahamic, the “still small voice” within invariably chants, “Neti, Neti.”
pardon me for focusing on one detail of your posting which is so wide in scope, but I am really interested in hearing more about how the Crucifix plays into “all other religions” according to your colleague. Also, I wonder if she understands the concept of “Sanatana Dharma”. Though you gotta be careful with that one because I read an evangelical Christian site point out how Sanatana includes the letters S-A-T-A-N.
Very well said over all, and your point about Mormonism vs. original Christianity is very strong. Funny how some refuse to even listen to that which confronts their world-view face to face.
The classmate in question wasn’t meaning the Crucifix… just the cross, as a symbol. 🙂 Either way, I’m sure she’s quite mistaken.
As far as the mystical spelling parallels you said that Christian site mentioned, I’ve heard similar news in regard to why Santa is evil.
Haha! yes I was going to go on a tangent about how that would make all the saints evil in Spanish, but…you know, we could do this all day…
Namaste<3 and a big giant hug for your situation. This is why moms like me with 8 children will sit down and explain over and over again how important it is for all to have a right to get married. My children are my legacy to this realm…they are being raised to know that all people should be given the same opportunities. You know, that whole moment where that jerk told you to get out of their church is such a wonderful moment if you think about it! He liberated you from that ridiculous dogma without you even lifting a finger. It was Divine Internvetion for sure<3
Sometimes we can not see the blessing behind such a sad event till much later when we go…WHEW! I just dodge a big bullet!:P
Thank you for this! I’ll take hugs, giant or otherwise, any time. 🙂
I’m no parentting authority, but I find it impressive that you “indoctrinate” your many children thusly. Surely, with as many as you have, the concept of diversity runs strong in your family.
And you’re right about my being booted to the curb being a mixed blessing. As angry or hurt as this post may have sounded, I’ve never actually been angry at them for what they did. I disagree with their actions and their convictions whole-heartedly, but I see a great example in how they knew what they believe and stuck to it. Indeed, I had already begun to liberate myself from that ridiculous dogma, but he certainly helped cut the strings!
Thank you, again. Om Hari Om
So true, you have an awesome attitude! It did not sound angry at all. I think it is important to speak out about such experiences for young men and women all over this world still struggle very hard with the same problems. I read as a girl that one in 10 are not heterosexual. I have six boys, two girls. My oldest son came out in March. It is stories on blogs and forums around the world making his life far easier than the ones who came before him. I have a dream that in his generation we will finally see fairness, equality…equal rights for every person. A sincere thank you for being so wonderfully able to share this with us<3