Thursday, August 10, 2006

Islandic Introspection

It's one of those days.

I feel like a lonely little island in a big sea. I know I'm not really alone, but I'm feeling that way today. The bloggernacle can be a frustrating place.

I participate in discussions about issues (like feminism, for example) not because I struggle with them myself, but because I like to understand those who do struggle, and I like to share what it is that grounds me and brings me peace. I also like to think through and articulate my thoughts because they become more clear within my own mind and heart. I've had some wonderful 'a-ha's while pondering a post or writing a response. I treasure those moments.

I yearn for my brothers and sisters to find peace with these issues -- not only for themselves, but for all of us. Focusing on and fuming over controversial issues divides us. Zion cannot be built when we are more concerned about the issues that define Babylon. We should not be divided along lines of political leanings, or philosophical concerns, or ideologies. We should be focused on the doctrine of Christ. Of one heart. Of one mind. Of one doctrine. With no "-ites."

But controversy breeds conversation in the 'nacle. And when "orthodoxy" (yet another label I don't like to use, but will to make my point) meets controversy, it's often not a pretty sight. My personal experience (as I share my "mainstream" feelings) has been to be misunderstood, misjudged, misrepresented--and even mistreated. I'm close to giving up commenting on others' blogs altogether. Just when I think I am part of a community, the reality hits that I'm often (usually) speaking to myself. If I were to run statistics on my comments, I am confident I would find that the majority are ignored. Many of the rest are attacked. (There are those who really do open their hearts to me, and for that I am grateful.) But, most of the time, there is a feeling of "me" and "them." Lonely indeed.

What would be the difference if I stopped vacationing on those islands, anyway? If my gut is right and most of the time my thoughts and feelings are ignored or dismissed or criticized, what's the point of staying? I realize that some of the problem is that I still have to learn how best to share my thoughts without coming across too strong. I need to "seek to understand" more before jumping straight to "being understood." But do I not deserve respect and patience as well? I am still relatively new to this blogging world and all the rules of engagement.

Then again, it seems the rules of engagement are usually for one purpose: to create a "safe place" for controversy. The thing is, the unwritten way to enforce those rules is to make sure that much of the 'nacle is not a safe place for people like me. (Sadly, however, this feeling is usually perpetrated by an intolerant few; I am grateful to those who would disagree agreeably. However, it only takes a few big waves to make the island feel unsafe.)

So, perhaps it's time to retreat and regroup and refocus my energies on those few little islands where I, myself, can feel safe.


Anonymous said...

I hope you won't stop commenting in the Bloggernacle, Mulling & Musing. I am new to the Bloggernacle. I stumbled upon it when I was looking for the answer to a specific question: can a person know about Mormonism's "issues" (I'm not sure what to call them, but they're hashed and rehashed in the Bloggernacle all the time) and still have a testimony, still stay active, still be happy in the Church?

I have to admit, that the first few times I read your comments, I was annoyed by them. I thought you were just another cookie cutter Mormon looking down on me because of my doubts and calling me to repentance.* But over time, I came to realize that YOU are the answer to my question above. It finally dawned on me that obviously, you're familiar with all the issues, and yet you've still maintained a strong testimony.

So, I appreciate your presence in the Bloggernacle, even if I don't always agree with you, because you remind me that it is possible to get past all those "issues."


* I also realized that you weren't really calling me to repentance :)

Bradley said...

M&M, I just came across your blog for the first time today. (You need to send a note to MA to get included!) Just yesterday (honest!) I was talking to a friend about you and the way you comment on blogs. I noted that I'll read someone make a silly point and I'll get all frustrated. I'll be tempted to write a frustrated comment. (I usually don't comment at all because I read the conversations after they are mostly over.) I'll continue reading down the thread, and there will be a comment from M&M, making exactly the point I wanted to make in the nicest and most polite way imaginable. I hope you continue to comment around the blogs. You are a great influence for good.