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I wish I could remember better, what it was like when I was a kid. I would want to remember if this city, Tulsa, was always so full of fundies. Is it just now, with nearly every car sporting multiple magnetic ribbons, Jesus fish, "I love Jesus" and Bush-Cheney stickers and people peppering their conversations with "I've been blessed" or has it always been this way? Or is it that I've become oversensitive to it all now that I've staked out my own political identity?
Try to imagine living in a city where every car has one of those "Starfleet Academy" stickers in the back window? You would feel like you've been transported to the surface of an alien planet.
I view fundies the same way I view trekkies. I can see the appeal and I don't care what you do with your own personal life. If you have a passion for building models out of popsicle sticks, or if you're trying to form a nude basketball league, I care not. I can choose not to participate. That's all that matters to me. Personally I would rather watch an episode of Star Trek than go to church.
What I'm trying to convey to overtly religious people is this: imagine how you would feel if a normal looking person walked up to you one day and started trying to get you to watch Star Trek, when you've already seen the show and decided that its of no interest to you. This person insists that you join them at the next convention, loaning you a copy of the original series on DVD and then starts telling you about how life is so much better with Star Trek in their lives?
You would be amused, maybe even slightly annoyed. You would appreciate this person's passion for Star Trek, but you would try to find a polite way of letting them know that you're just not that interested.
Now imagine that a Trek convention came to town and this happened nearly every day.
Then imagine that they built a real Starfleet Academy in your hometown and Trekkies from all over the country came there to live and study Star Trek; stores started stocking shelves with trek merchandise and advertising themselves as "trek friendly". People in coffee shops would be carrying around copies of trek literature. The people sitting in the corner would be debating the latest plotline of Enterprise.
No matter how ambivalent you felt about the show, you might start to feel a little annoyed by the constant barrage of people telling you how great it is.
Here in Tulsa we have at least two first-rate fundie magnets; Oral Robert's University and Rhema Bible College, plus a network of associated businesses and individuals. If you desire, you can get fundie plumbing, fundie pizza, fundie art supplies, and for your fundie shopping needs, there's Wal-Mart. At almost any given time you can look around and and see a fish on either a sign, a passing truck or a person.
I normally try to avoid any conversations about religion by avoiding the topic altogether. So when someone starts telling me how "Jesus loves me" I just turn the topic back around to something else. Like the other day, when a customer reffered to herself as "being blessed" to explain how they could spend $7,000 on a trip to Disneyworld, I kept quiet when I would have rather asked them why they didn't think of using that money to help poor people or needy kids. But I doubt even Jesus' own words, the Beatitudes, would have helped. Its gone far beyond Jesus, the person, or his words. He's just a brand, a personality that justifies a philosophy that revolves around self glorification.
The important part is that he "died for them".
People accuse secularism of being too focused on the material and self-gratification. But I wonder if those accusers have ever seen the fundies in their SUVs, with DVD's playing in the back seats for the kids, as they speed their fat asses down to 71st street to pack the restaraunts. For this particular strain of fundie religion, its all about the glorification of self. Jesus sacrificed himself for them. The wealth of the world is here for their amusement and power. They've turned the teachings of Jesus around and have used his image to construct a worldview of self-glorification.
And I seem to live right in the middle of it.
Love what you had to say----so accurate. I know a Tulsa Fundie that stayed here in Massachuestts. briefly, who tried to "save me" because we are waaaaaaaaaaay to liberal here in Mass. and do not fully realize that Jesus died for us and how blessed I truly am and thought I was surely going to H-E-Double Hockey Sticks because I had a glass of wine one night. Thanks for showing me that there are some sane minded people there in TulsaPost a Comment
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