Tuesday, June 21


Too cool. Billy Jack's coming back.

Seeing that got me to thinking: at what point did I turn from being the good Southern Baptist there-every-time-the church-doors-are-open fairly-popular and definitely a member of the in-crowd straight-A student Student Council member, Senior Class Treasurer, Homecoming Queen candidate, Florida Seafood Festival Princess, runner-up to Citrus Bowl Queen and Miss (My Hometown) -- to me?

It started my sophomore year in high school. I was always one of the "smartest kids in school" but I was also acknowledged as a little strange but acceptably so. Because I was a military brat, it had been considered marginally OK for me to defend civil rights in our elementary years -- after all, I'd been brainwashed by the integration in military schools; I couldn't help my early training. I added fun to the summers by writing and directing my friends in plays constructed from our favorite childhood books -- we spent one whole summer acting out "Little Women."

And because I was "smart," (read: different) it was OK for me to lead my friends in reading Mary McCarthy's daring novel "The Group" during chorus class. But when we got to high school, the cliques tightened up. I still (I'm not sure why unless everyone was just used to my mild nonconformity by then) was afforded a certain amount of leeway. My parents were comforted by the fact of my obviously sincere Christian faith and thought that would keep me from plunging over the edge of rebellion. My girlfriends took a kind of voyeuristic pleasure in my "eccentric" musings and experiences, which, looking back, are so patently innocent: worrying about trying to marry my Christian beliefs with our Southern way of life, in particular being deliberately, and publicly, color-blind; being friends with the geeky smart crowd (all boys at that time; I was their sometimes girl companion); my earnest desire to "live large" beyond our Southern beachtown; my devotion to the writings of Dylan Thomas, Ted Hughes, and Robert Heinlein; my honest and tormenting inner conflict between loyalty to my military family and the Americanism I was taught (oh yeah, another milestone in my life: winning the DAR "Americanism" Award) versus the politics of the Vietnam War I was witness to -- the girls in our popular crowd would never think of expressing such sentiments themselves, but appreciated being able to live vicariously through me. I'll never forget the time when the prettiest girl in town (later a First-runner-up to Miss Florida; I only made it to the finals) asked me privately for advice because she was enamored with a black Air Force cadet we'd met -- she'd never have dared to tell anyone else.

What got me even that far? I don't know for sure, but I suspect it has at least a lot to do with my Christian beliefs. Perhaps that's why I react so strongly, and negatively, to the actions of the "Christian right" today. Their assertion of spiritual and moral superiority while, to me, acting in a contrarian fashion to the very Word of God we both purportedly ascribe to, strikes me as not just frightening but contra-Christ, or in other, more damning, words, evil.

"But the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some in the Church will turn away from Christ and become eager followers of teachers with devil-inspired ideas. These teachers will tell lies and do it so often that their consciences will not even bother them." {1 Timothy 4:1-2}.


Blogger Jo said...

Great post.

7:48 PM  

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