Sunday in Outer Blogness: Variations on the Theme of Difference!
Wow, what a week! Chock-full of discussions revolving around the theme of differences among people. First, conformity within the community, defining it. Check out this Mormon Matters discussion on the doctrine of wearing a white shirt to church — (maybe I’m being insensitive so say this, but) the passionate debate over it is hilarious! It reminded my of what a terrible job I’m doing of conforming to exmo grooming standards — I just have the traditional one-piercing-per-earlobe, and no other piercings or tattoos. The thing is, though, that I was born in 1971, and tatts and multiple piercings weren’t in style when I was forming my aesthetic preferences, so they don’t really look that attractive to me. But I get that it’s different for other people, and that’s A-OK!
(On a related note, my parents are visiting, and one of the only appropriate English speaking churches my dad could find to attend this morning was a “Gen-X” church. He described it to my mom as a “youth” church. Then I had to laugh and explain that “Gen-X” is not “youth” — it’s old fogies like me and my husband 😉 .)
Anyway, where was I? Oh, yeah, naturally I’m jealous that the discussion on Mormon Matters is generally so much more lively than here at Main Street Plaza (no matter how many times I try to convince people to write us some interesting new articles — thanks Alan for helping). But nobody is under pressure to conform, and no matter how many times we disagree with the conceit that you have to pay tithing to earn the right to criticize Mormonism, or with that “you can leave the church but you can’t leave it alone” thing — the thing is that most former Mormons really do start angry, then kind of get bored of talking about Mormonism and wander off to smell the roses. Maybe they swing by occasionally to contemplate their Mormon background (or for fun), but it’s not the same as the motivation to contemplate Mormonism that comes from 20 hours a week of meetings and callings….
Of course, there are more ways to be different than just wearing a colored shirt. You could be handicapped. Or gay. You may have heard about the recent tragedy. Some are making a connection with the politics of prop 8 and the (intentionally?) ironic NOM. The Swearing Elders argue that the CoJCoL-dS is not doing its image a favor. However, TGD points us to the controversy (over questionable taste and who’s the drama queen…?).
Then there’s the friction between different groups! Curtis asks the far right about their policies towards immigrants. And continuing our discussion of one group trying to speak for another, check out this eye-popping tea-party letter “from a colored person”! Or this proto-tea-party editorial. Then there’s Christian privilege vs. Islam. Just read this interview with the Christian pastor behind “International Burn-a-Koran Day.” But the question starts getting a little more complicated when we ask if it’s reasonable to ban the Burka. (For some fascinating perspectives on it, listen to this Ireland Newstalk Radio panel including Maryam Namazie. Personally, while I consider her work valuable, I didn’t totally agree with her reasoning; OTOH, the lady explaining why she chooses to wear a Niquab came off as completely insane…). On a much lighter note, check out what happens when Fred Phelps congregation meets Comic Con!
In other religious-right-politics, Sarah Palin made an amusing gaffe, but she was totally overshadowed by the star power of Glenn Beck! Sunstone has a two part “Rough Stone Roaring” series on him. And Mormon Coffee argues that Beck’s theology is more Christian than Mormon.
Lastly, I’d like to highlight some of the discussion of what is (IMHO) one of the most amusing points about Mormonism of late: The Gospel Principles manual taking the traditional boring meetings to a whole new level of boring — previously thought impossible! Look at the intriguing symbolism in LDS architecture! Watch the faithful try to correct, justify, or even make heads or tails of the situation. Watch the exmos try to help. Sort of.
Whew, that should be plenty to chew on! Happy Sunday!
I just have to say that you have a talent for weaving all of these links into a coherent commentary. Well Done!
I’m so bummed to be missing Sunstone this year. As it turns out, I’m passing through Salt Lake this evening on the way to Seattle. Maybe next year. Looking forward to reading about everyone’s exploits. FWIW, IMHO, the articles here at MSP have been plenty interesting lately.
Andrew — thanks!!
Chino — That would be so cool if you’d attend Sunstone! I had a great time last year, and I’d love to hear your reaction to it! 😀
I was quite pleased with the discussion this past week, but I was a little disappointed to see nothing between the previous two SiOBs. So I got my butt in gear and wrote something this week, as did some others! 😀
BTW, my post on MM about the white shirt has absolutely nothing to do with the doctrine of anything.
Jeff — Obviously it’s not a doctrine. I meant that as a joke, based on the extensive debate over whether or not it’s reasonable to promote the symbolic-of-temple-covenants justification of the white-shirt-at-church cultural practice.
Sorry for the confusion. I know that if you have to explain a joke, it probably wasn’t very funny to begin with… 😉
#4 reminded me of the comment I meant to leave under profxm’s latest post: social contact theory is of no use to the Mormon project so long as individual Mormon behavior continues to be consistent with prevailing stereotypes.
p.s. Check out this fantastic explanation of the boring meetings.
The debate over the boringness of meetings continues! Look, they’re up to the it’s not the church, it’s you point. Good times! 😉