Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Guest Blogging at Fractured Thoughts

.
Are all atheists immoral, godless sinners who would feed their own children to the wolves if it brought them some hedonistic pleasure? Are all Christians narrow-minded, superstitious fools with a superiority complex who wouldn’t know a fact if it slapped them in the face?

Well I daresay if we looked hard enough we could find such examples from both camps.

However, I’ve never been tempted to throw my kids to the wolves and I’ve never seen Carole write a condescending remark to anyone, either on her own blog or any other.

We may be poles apart when it comes to religion, politics and cultural upbringing, but we both see difference as part of the rich fabric of life, rather than a threat to our humanity.

However, given that Carole is married to a pastor in the heart of the American Bible Belt, when she asked if I would guest post on her blog I did begin to wonder what she was letting her regular readers into.

But divides only exist if we insist on them – they are man made constructs, nothing more - so I decided to write about how there are 2 kinds of people in this world.

Pop over, say hi, leave a comment and have a poke around Carole’s site. She is wonderfully warm, caring and interested in people, and her writing style draws you in and makes you feel like a part of her family.
.

10 comments:

Sam, Problemchildbride said...

Lovely post, Kim - I left my comment over at Carole's.

PI said...

well I guess I just have time to slip over to the States (I've just got back from Texas)before leaving the computer. See ya!

Mary Witzl said...

That was a great post, Kim. The title pulled me right in. Every time I hear people start out with that 'There are two kinds of people in this world...' cliche, I grind my teeth.

Kim Ayres said...

Sam - thank you :)

Pat - blogging must have taken so much longer in Victorian times, don't you think?

Mary - It's why I love that version of it so much :)

Ron Tipton said...

I would love to "pop over" to Carole's blog to read your post about "two kinds of people" (always a title to invite interest) but I got a message that said "for invited readers only." Oh well, rejected again. Must be an exclusive club.

Ron Tipton said...

I have a long time friend who also has a religious blog (nitewrite@blogspot.com). He too has many restrictions as to who leaves comments and whatever else he can think of to throw hurdles lest someone question his beliefs. Maybe it goes with the territory of "obeying God", or as they like to say "do not mock God." Whatever it is, it is a turnoff.

Kim Ayres said...

Ron - This blog was open and Carole was one of my favourite commenters. Unfortunately due to circumstances she stopped blogging and closed the site. I'll see if I can dig out my copy of the original post and email it to you, although it won't have the comments that were left

Ron Tipton said...

Kim,

Don't bother. I was curious to read of the "Two kinds of people." I've often thought to make a list of that subject myself.

Kim Ayres said...

For anyone else who's curious about the post no longer available at Carole's old site, here is the post I wrote, in a couple of parts:

There are 2 kinds of people in this world: those who divide the world into 2 kinds of people, and those that don’t.

I love that statement. The logic of it is impeccable and cannot be challenged, while at the same time it illustrates the ludicrous nature of its own content.

When Carole asked if I would guest post on her blog, I felt deeply honoured. This was quickly followed by abject terror as it began to sink in that the audience was likely to be quite different from the usual bunch of unpatriotic, atheistic, liberal anarchists I usually attract with my writing…

But then, upon reflection I realised that last statement was utterly untrue. I have tried to define a “type” of reader several times before and each time without success. They range in age from teenagers to grandparents; politically from the far right to the far left; I have had comments from Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Atheists, Agnostics, Pagans and Buddhists; both male and female; from those with no formal qualifications through to people who can put PhD and other letters after their name; from those who have physical or mental health issues or are the parents or carers of children or adults with disabilities, to those who aren’t touched by such things in any way; gay, straight, celibate and transsexual; some have criminal records; and of course geographically they span the world.

So how do I define the 2 kinds of people in this world? Well clearly black and white definitions are woefully inadequate. It’s not even multiple shades of grey as there are millions of variations of colour, light, texture and tone too.

So many people, often those who wish to control our lives, love to split the world into US and THEM. Does this help create confident, comfortable, loving people? Of course not. What it does is make us charge around desperately trying to convince everyone else that we are part of US, because we desperately fear that someone is going to discover we are in fact one of THEM. And so long as we live in fear, we are more easily manipulated.

But there is no US and THEM, there cannot be. We are all human. For sure we all have different beliefs, cultural, social and educational backgrounds, but we all laugh, cry, feel fear, get embarrassed, love, hate, and worry that someone will discover who we “really” are underneath the façade we have created in our desperation to feel accepted.

If I was to name one quality that lifts us above, raises us up, makes us more than, it would be empathy: the ability to feel as someone else feels, relate to them as a human being, no matter how outwardly different they seem, to accept people for who they are.

And if we can accept them, perhaps then we can truly accept ourselves.

This doesn’t necessarily mean putting up with destructive behaviour, but recognising the pain within that causes it. Once we can feel what others feel and understand their pain, we can help them to be free and to grow.

Kim Ayres said...

Part 2...

So long as they are other, then we can impose our ideas upon them, content in our superior values. But when they are not-other, when they are US in another guise, then we can empower them from within to become all they can be.

I’m reluctant to mention Jesus to what is predominantly a Christian readership, but to me he is an inspiration. He didn’t just congregate with those who were like him, or the comfortable establishment. Instead he moved among the beggars, the whores, the lepers, the outcasts – the OTHER in every sense of the word. And he didn’t condemn; rather he empowered. These people were rejected by the religious establishment, unable to attain salvation. He gave them an alternative route.

Now whether we see salvation as an entry ticket through the pearly gates, or a release from living in fear of being us, either way the combination of empathy and questioning established “truth” is an extraordinarily powerful message.

Where this moves from an interesting philosophical discussion to a hard reality lies in the fact that my daughter, and Carole’s granddaughter, are both seen as other by the vast majority of people. When people look at these young girls, they do not see the humanity, they see the Down’s Syndrome. Rather than empathise and relate to them and accept our girls as fully paid up members of the human race, they instead concentrate on the differences, and in turn, that creates fear.

One upshot of this is the appalling statistic that upwards of 90% of pregnancies diagnosed with carrying a child with DS are terminated with agreement between the parents and the medical establishment, who only feel fear and see difference as a bad thing.

But to me, Carole, and millions of other friends and relatives of people with DS, we see another aspect of the rich tapestry and variety of life. Difference is to be welcomed, not feared.

It was through this shared experience of DS that Carole and I met, but has little to do with the fact I now consider Carole to be one of my closest blogging buddies.

In a world of US and THEM, this could be seen as extremely odd. Outwardly we have very different beliefs, political views and backgrounds, but what we both share is a questioning nature, and an empathy and acceptance of difference.

I really hope I will get to meet her and her family in person one day.