17 Mar 2014

Genuine Community

This is gona be a hard post. It's darn (wanted to use damn there... whew) touchy subject matter. It's about community and I'm going to the church to help me explain.

I'm not expressing any faith, but faith is a facet of what I'm gona go on about. What I want to go on about is Genuine Community. Churches, Temples, Shrines - any place of faith requires of that person, a genuine feeling. I believe that faith requires more of the believer than a believer is capable of giving, the faith fills that gap. Faith is a one way street and no matter what faith I may or may not have I think I can still talk about faith.

For those who have a faith, the following statement is not a cop-out on my own beliefs. You are a special group that has the ability to reach out beyond your own understanding and accept something simply as true. You have my respect. I may not agree with you, I may not share your belief but I do respect that aspect of you that is honest unfearing faith.

Not that faith that is used as an excuse to exclude others, heaping shame on them for what they are or what they believe in. Not that faith that justifies violence or hate in the name of something else. Not that faith the promotes fear in each other and secludes one person from another.

No, I respect that honest faith, the one that falls out of a person from that soul center of their being without the restrictions of their own mortal or human issues.

When I was at the sermon below with my wife and her parents. I was surprised that past all the dogma and religious content there was a solid message of community needing to be genuine. Take a look or look up the video at the parts where I time check.

This sermon made me take notes. I'm not a member of the Life Center but their head pastor said some bright things. See you after the break.

(15:14) "Gained power from not who was included but from who was excluded." - wow that's a clear thought.

I grew up in a church and it wasn't all bad no matter what teen Dozer may have thought. I was quite the little shit and my desire to sort out my issues with the greater things that reside in my existence is an ongoing issue still today.

My issues with my religious upbringing was some of the ingenuine presentation of some of the folks that celebrated faith alongside my family and my friends. It's actually a common topic between myself and my wife. We talk about our experiences in churches (both mine and hers were very different) and our issues with folks in those churches that were less than genuine... it may have soured our various beliefs.

We want folks to be genuine.

I have a co-worker who acts as a spare at my current low wage employment who spends his lunchtime studying the bible. Had you never seen him at lunch you'd never know the guy was a Christian. Yet if you bring up his lunchtime studies he'll look at you for a second to understand the actual question.

He always answers the same - "I go to church."

If you ask more questions in earnest to discover more about his faith you'll always hear him say - "It (my faith) is my mana." This low wage nightwalking sucker, just like me, is completely genuine. He understands the guy eating Kosher food next to him many not believe the same thing or the Muslim co-worker excusing himself for prayer follows not his faith.

Yet this guy I work with doesn't care because he's got enough to worry about with his own faith. He's willing to talk about it and talking bluntly about it but he is still sensitive to the others around him. He does not elevate his faith through the rubble he creates when he debases another. He instead goes on about what he feels and what he struggles with.

This guy, this coworker I respect. I respected his faith but I also respect the person because he is genuine.

This guy is not better because he's excluded the other two believers at the table. Nope they have nothing to do with his faith outside of history. He's a Christian, simple.

(22:00) "Exclusive is being hard on others when they break the rules you have mastered."


Outside of faith this is easy for a guy who sits at a table (when I have time) with a couple of other folks and play games. Trapped in limited environments with rules on activities within the environment we get some folks at the table who give way to much guff to the new guy or when a player treats the rest of the group like criminals for failing to honestly follow a rule.

When I see a middle aged man scream at the top of his lungs at a kid just entering the delight of their teens over a card game rule. That guy needs a time out. When that guy starts crossing the sportsman line with words that include fucker and little shit. I get the store manager (who in many cases I know by first name) and help the manager pitch that ignorant fucker from their store. I've been told by some of my old co-workers and the wife, that I can put on the scary pretty good - in those cases, I'm not putting it on.

I am scary.

When I was growing up, I moved around a bucket load and my games were ways I got to meet new folks and maybe make a friend or two.

Tzar my cuz moved to Stratford (home of the Bieber... gah) and it took him quite some time to meet folks who played Warhammer 40k. Once he did so he started to meet a slew of people. A new friend of mine became a closer friend when he showed me some of his cards and out popped a 1995 deck of Magic the Gathering. He got back into the game and last time he was over we spent quite a bit of time playing. In December he moved out to BC with his fiance and in an effort to meet new folks he signed up for a tournament. He's making friends.

I want this... damn it!
Today while pre-paying for my softcover copy of Warmachine: Vengence (yeah!) I and the wife picked up a few magic cards. Out of the blue some young woman asked if we wanted in to help her and a few others at the nearby table to fill out a game of Magic with the new two player set (Jace vs Vraska)

I am not the most socially skilled bloke in the room and this young woman was sure brave to ask a pair of strangers about jumping in with her and he mates for a game of Magic.

Last weekend, out came some games at Rocko's cottage and vola. People were making friends and were getting to know each other.

When I hear that old fucker mouth off in that way to a kid... I see myself. Young, scared and nervous. Trying to find a place and maybe meet someone who speaks my language or would be willing to smile at me from across the table. I grew up on the road because Papa Bear had to save the world. I wanted to make friends and I played games to help that along. That kid did not deserve this over a bloody game.

So fuck that guy. Fuck that person who acts ingeniously towards their neighbour. We live with folks, and around folks. We teach young folks and learn from older folks. We are all part of a community, only the madman who lives alone in that cabin in the woods is not.

(25:01) "You can disagree with someone and still walk in honor with them."

I disagree with plenty of folks. My experiences and my values are different. My realities are not the same as someone elses. My sexuallity or my faith may not be the same.

If you are gay, s'kewl, I don't care who you fuck unless you're not being Safe, Sane and Consensual.

If I don't believe like you, put away the torches and pitchforks.

If you vote differently than me, it's ok at least you made your opinion clear within the realms of our community's governance.

My time at my old job forces people to do things they may not like. I was forced to work with people who I may not agree with. Yet we kept each other safe. We covered each other.

I disagree with my brothers (blood and non-related) but we get over our shit or come to terms with our differences in our community and we walk next to each other.

I've lost brothers, those who no longer care to make efforts towards another. I've lost brothers, those who decided they had moved on from where the rest of us were. I've lost brothers, simply because time and space changed...

If I argue with my Brother Bear you better understand that if you become a greater threat than our spat, you will not be dealing with one Bear - you've got both of us. If I'm wrong or if my Brother is wrong, don't matter if you come a knocking. You got both of our attention. It's happened once... it'll happen again.

(33:16) "... makes those outside never feel enough."

I may not adhere to the gospel but I've been excluded and I've been part of communities that fail to be genuine.

Drop all the faith from the video above. Just listen to what this man says when it comes to community. You may not agree with him on a ton of levels, hell I don't, but what he says about community has a few loudly ringing truths.

Some of the folks that have been part of a church, temple, shrine, etc... may take a bit more.

On that day Sunday 30 of September, I had faith... maybe a bit towards churches, a bit towards a christian life but I had a lot of faith in my fellow human beings.

When a right wing conservative religious leader and man of faith can inspire me, I feel it's enough to share.

We need more messages like this.