Friday, July 28, 2006

THE FACES OF TOLERANCE

It's been awhile since I've put a personal opinion piece up on this blog. I had kinda backed off from it, since there was such a glut of news, information and interviews to give you, but I had some things I just wanted to get off my chest, and now seems like the best time to do it.

I'm not really disappointed at the responses left on the recent Heather Cox interview, because I know that the people who leave these sorts of comments are just people who can't find any other way to get a piece of the pie, and so they try to get noticed by picking fights with people. Granted, I find it hard to believe that they'd pick on someone as sweet and gentle as Heather, but they showed enough of their true colors through their hiding in anonymity and posting useless and pointless insults to discredit them altogether.

That's negativity, and that's not what I'm here to focus about. So you comment kiddies who expected a big rant about what you posted can go ahead and sign off now.

What I'm focusing on today is those of you who are good friends to this blog, and while we differ on so many things, we've come together to make a wonderful community. It's a community that I didn't know was out there waiting for me, a community that I'd never have imagined existed at my fingertips. It has been a place where people who would ordinarily have never interacted get the chance to meet and enjoy each other. Even the occasional celebrity flits through, and we get to enjoy that.

No two of us believe the exact same things on any level, be it political, social, religious, or even in choice of favorite sports teams. Yet over the past year, I have found in this community a group of friends whose conversations mean so much to me, and whose writing has challenged me. Their posts have both educated me, uplifted me, and caused me to think. The beauty of the blog is that it takes away the barriers like race, gender, etc. and allows us to exchange ideas with unprecedented freedom. And there's a place in the blogosphere for all of it, be it religious fundamentalism, socialism, anarchism, pescatism, you name the -ism and there's a place for it.

The people who have contributed to this blog's community are male, female, white, black, Filipino, Indonesian, Asian, South American, Native American, straight, gay, bisexual, single, married, widowed, mothers, fathers, bachelors, prudes, sluts, givers, takers, outlaws, in-laws, girlfriends, boyfriends, friends, neighbors, strangers, fat, skinny, average, pretty, ugly, tall, short and all walks of life. And yet, I read them all. I don't agree with everything they say, or maybe even most of it, but I still look for that one thing that I can glean from it to make me a better person, and I hope that they can do the same from me.

You won't find two people on this earth with more different philosophies and world views than me and Kristin. We talk differently, we write differently, we think differently, and...we're just plain different. But we're both huge fans of each other. How does that work? A willingness to overlook certain things and concentrate on getting to know the person themselves. An understanding that though Kristin might say things with a bit more spice than I might that she occasionally has a good point (and also makes me laugh from time to time at her escapades.)

Kieran and I are polar opposites. He's gay. I'm straight. But you would be hard pressed to find two people who challenged each other's writing more than the two of us during American Idol. He writes his a lot different (a bit more blue) than mine, but there are some things he does with words that I only wish I could do. He's done more for my writing than he knows.

Stacy, you and I could go round and round about birth control and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy all day long, but I am so glad to have met you and to be able to enjoy watching your blog (as well as your family) grow!

These are just a few examples.

So, if we accept all those things about each other, and strive to learn from each other and make this a better world, it should be of relative inconsequence what someone like Heather feels about her religion. It certainly shouldn't threaten us, annoy us, or sicken us, because we're a community open to the free exchange of ideas, without bias and without fear of reprisal from each other. To this day, I think we've achieved that, despite the drive-by commenters.

In closing this post, I'd like to thank each and every one of you who visit and read here for helping me understand just a little more about the world. I especially appreciate those of you who post comments and allow me to read your writing, both here and on your own blogs. But I also want to thank those of you who read and never once post a comment, because you still add to the community. I hope I get a chance to hear from you guys too, and if you haven't yet, I'd love for you to drop me an email and let me meet you. I thank you for your friendship, and I hope we'll all go forward with the intent to learn more about each other and not to judge and tear each other down.

26 Comments:

At 12:34 AM, Anonymous Jordan said...

As an occasional commenter here, I just wanted to say a friendly hello, and in no way did I want to flame you or your interview subjects, for now I fear your wrath.

 
At 5:49 AM, Blogger Lian said...

Hi JD! It's been a long time, but I'm here. I enjoyed reading your recent entries. ^_^ Wish I could have the same experience of having the chance of meeting people like you do. Someday. ^_^ For now, I hope you're doing great and enjoying work.

Oh, and don't let anyone rain on your parade! Keep smiling. ^_^

 
At 7:07 AM, Anonymous Lorraine said...

Dude! I'm sorry some loser decided to go all "Flame on!" on your interview w. Heather...

I love reading your blog... one of the many I have in my RSS feed... *S* Keep it up!

 
At 7:55 AM, Blogger J.D. said...

LOL, Jordan, FEAR the wrath and tell ten friends about it :)

 
At 8:57 AM, Anonymous Lisa said...

JD, I love ya, but I have to disagree here. The poster said that Heather made a few too many refs to God, and she/he kind of didn't get behind that. That's their opinion, so what? It got escalated by name calling. You should have ignored it. That's the way to deal.

 
At 10:03 AM, Blogger Georgia Writer said...

JD I've known you for...um, 12 years and trust me, I know how hot you are :) Kudos for again reminding everyone that reading your blog is an option--not a requirement. I read it everyday almost because you're funny, you ask good questions, and hey, maybe I like you just a little bit ;) This is one reader who will never call you names.

 
At 2:58 PM, Blogger Spike speaks said...

Hmmm! I guess I'll have to go back and read the comments left on your interview with Heather Cox....just keep up the *good work* JD :-)
Spike

 
At 4:23 PM, Anonymous MaggieMay said...

Uh, I hate to say this - I feel bad - but I think you might have been a little out of line too, JD. I don't think that first comment deserved being called atheist or Christian hater. I think the poster was just trying to be funny. (I read that long piece, and I agree with it. I'm Jewish and I hate when people tell me to find Jesus. It really makes me crazy. ) Next time someone writes something you don't like, don't get mad. That makes it worse. Heather seems very sweet, though. I hope she isn't troubled by the fray.

 
At 5:11 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

On the other hand, it is my blog, and I'll pretty much say what I want to say, which was pretty much the point of this whole post, in case you missed it. And nobody will tell me to do otherwise. And as long as nobody tells me to do otherwise, I won't tell anybody else what to say. Is that more clear now? Or do you need this explained for the 4 millionth time?

It's getting a little tiresome to have random drive-by anonymous people telling me I have to say this or I can't say that. Nope, sorry. You don't like, you're free to move on. However, if your can be secure in your own beliefs and can handle other people freely expressing ideas that you don't necessarily agree with, then by all means, stick around and let's get to know each other.

Open minds, people. Open minds.

 
At 6:17 PM, Anonymous maggiemay said...

That was unkind, JD. It's uncalled for. I'm surprised at how quickly you fly off the handle. I've been reading this blog awhile, and I enjoy it. I'm not telling you what to do. I'm just saying if you ask for comments then people are going to write annoying stuff sometimes and if you don't ignore it - it gets ugly. If someone says they have different beliefs, or makes a disparaging comment about too much "God" talk, and then you call them names, it's you who might have the closed mind. That's just my opinion. If you want to say something mean in response, go ahead. :)

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Right, because people who criticize people's beliefs or expressions about God are completely open-minded. Is that what you're saying? Tell ya what, how about cutting the disingenuous, holier-than-thou, "i'm so shocked at the way he reacted" bull crap and just admit that your small world view can't allow for people who have religious beliefs to have a differing opinion from you.

Amazing...so now I'm not supposed to respond or state my opinion on my own blog. Because I might hurt Little Anonymous or Maggie May's feeeeeeelings. Excuse me. I think I may go cry.

Not buying the long-time reader thing either. Please, I invite you, go back and read throughout the post archives, and you'll find that not only are there differening opinions freely allowed throughout, but there are also no posts censored (with the exception of the removal of spam ads in the comments.) Do your research before you speak, otherwise you end up looking like a fool.

If you want to be a flamer, you'd probably be better served on a much more controversial blog or forum than this. Like I said, if you can't handle how I am, then don't let the door hit you on the way out. Your opinion is welcome here, but telling me what I can and cannot say on my own forum won't fly.

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Now, since this post was meant to be positive and encouraging to everybody else, let's refocus and enjoy each other and forget the insignificant ones who only desire to wreck the peace.

 
At 8:21 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

JD - ohhhhhh, JD.

They just don't get it do they?

Blogs are different for different people. THIS BLOG is one for fun and opinions and if there are differing opinions in the comments section than what the author agrees with then THE AUTHOR IS FREE TO REPLY! Also, non-moderated comments, like JDs, will also bring in many differing comments from different bloggers.

Now, for people LIKE ME on blogs where I am a regular commenter... It's VERY hard for me to stay quiet when someone says something WRONG about God. I'm not going to argue with someone who says, "Purple is my favorite color" and I'm not going to go argue with an atheist on his own blog, but someone who says they are a "bible-believing Christian" and then goes on to state the comments that were stated in a previous section..., that's a topic I am not going to sit by and watch happen. I'm not determined to change someone's mind about something but I'm going to state truth and if that truth is to state that a person is wrong, then so be it :)

When it comes to OPINIONS, I'm totally cool with people having different ones. But when it comes to the truth of God (and so many people don't even believe there IS a truth) I want to make sure the correct record is at least stated.

A person can be a believer of "flat-earth" but if I'm a believer of TRUTH I will say, "no, the earth is round." I will not feel compelled to PROVE this (unless asked) or change this person's mind, but I'm NOT going to just sit back and let the person not hear the truth, if I can help it.

Now, if my 'truth' sounded harsh in the last commentary, I guess I should apologize for sounding harsh. However, there is nothing un-true. The fact is that the Word (bible) is true and anyone who states something contradictory to it, is wrong.

In "real life," confrontations like this are handled MUCH differently. I don't know why that is SO true but it is. In the blog world, things are stated QUICKLY because quite often, long-term relationships aren't built and points are made fast (especially with drop-in anonymous commenters). Realistically I understand that I would have spoken with anon much differently but his harsh and fictional statements brought out harsh truth from me. Again, I guess I should apologize for anything harsh.

In closing.....GO JD :)

 
At 10:12 PM, Blogger Georgia Writer said...

I'm with Stacy. Blogs are for opinions, but when those opinions get personal and people insult the person writing the blog, well, then you have a right to respond however you want. I'm always behind you 100% JD.

 
At 10:54 AM, Anonymous Mitchell D. said...

Well, my opinion is that you're definitely overreacting, JD. I went back and read ALL the posts, and it was ridiculous that you all jumped on that poor guy! And the other poster was just pointing out that by responding you MAKE IT WORSE. (Do I need to say this another 4 million times? hehe) This is a music blog for most readers, not a Christian blog. You all need to chill. Not everyone believes the word is truth, Stacey. It's fine with me that YOU do, but it's not "truth." It's faith. that's different. Okay, go ahead. Aim your rockets. I could care less.

 
At 1:04 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

This blog is whatever I want for it to be. Not what you want it to be. Live with it, or move on.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger Stacy said...

Mitchell, that was my point exactly. Obviously not everyone believes God's word is truth. Thankfully, TRUTH WILL WIN IN THE END and time will definitely tell.

But just because many (most on a global scale) do not BELIEVE the truth doesn't make it fiction. But only the faithful will have knowledge of the complete truth of God (and we won't fully gain that knowledge until we are with Him). THAT is why I pointed out the fact that the original "anonymous" a couple of posts ago, was NOT one of the faithful as he claimed to be. The TRUE believers do not believe as he does.

Mitchell, it does START with faith but as we learn in 2 Peter, faith leads to knowing God better and knowing God better leads to patient endurance. And the book goes on to list continuing benefits of this faith and knowledge. And with this knowledge I have gained confidence in what, most definitely is TRUTH.

And I thank you, JD for allowing me the freedom to state my "opinions" here on this blog :)

 
At 3:01 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

You're welcome :)

 
At 5:35 PM, Anonymous Mitchell D. said...

Man, this is so funny. If JD agrees with someone, it's all cool. If he doesn't, they get hot tar and ashes. Then he posts about how we should all respect different opinions. Lord have mercy. Dude. news flash. YOU don't respect other opinions. True, it's your blog. And I don't frankly give a rat's ass. But come off it. Admit you chose to berate someone for having a different opinion about God or God's truth or what have you. You practically called the poor dude a Christ killer. That's just freakin' ridiculous.

Whatever. It's your blog. Nough said. I'm not bothering to read this one anymore, so don't bother tarring and feathering me. (Although I suspect you enjoy it, so go the f**k ahead.) I thought it was all about the music, but guess I'm wrong. Kinda sad. Good luck and see ya!

(Stacey, I respect and even envy you your faith. But there are millions of people who worship in other ways. Christianity and Jesus is NOT the only path to heaven. I hope you can see that, too.)

 
At 7:59 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Aww, you're not coming back? I think I might cry. Whatever will I waste my time with now?

Buh-bye.

 
At 3:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Um. I read this blog occasionally and like the content typically. Without getting into the fray, I just wanted to say that Heather seemed to be a very sincere and sweet person on the show and that interview only confirmed my suspicions. I wish her the best of luck in the future!

 
At 9:46 PM, Blogger Lisa said...

Wow. I leave town for 8 days and things go nuts at Musical Ramblings. I have a lot of thoughts on the current discussion, but you won't see me stepping into this one. And even though I'm literally twitching to throw my thoughts out there, I know better than to try and discuss something like this through writing. There's just no good way for it to go, as evidenced by the comments from the last couple entries.

 
At 11:02 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

LOL, hopefully it's died down now. If it's me you're mad at, though, you can always shoot me an email! :)

 
At 8:08 AM, Blogger Lisa said...

Oh, I'm not "mad" at anyone and I'm not about to tell anyone, anywhere that they're "wrong" about what they believe when it comes to faith, just as I don't expect anyone to tell me that I'm "wrong" when it comes to my beliefs.

 
At 12:41 PM, Anonymous Kelly said...

I've read this through a couple of times, and I don't think that anyone was telling anyone anything. The post that started the whole thing just said that the Lord was mentioned too much for HIM or HER. Maybe I'm reading it wrong, but it didn't seem to decry anyone's faith or worship nor did it seem like it was atheist or agnostic. I think it kind of spun out of control a little bit - there was no reason to get personal about JD. But I guess it happens when you mention politics or religion. Maybe that's the lesson. I'm steering clear of that myself. I hope just my saying this won't piss anyone off, because I don't intend to. Just my two cents.

 
At 2:19 PM, Blogger J.D. said...

Thanks, Kelly and Lisa :) Glad you girls have stuck around.

 

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