For the Ones Who Never Wanted a Fight

I’m a rare presence around these here parts.  But I guess I’ve been thinking a lot about something particular for a few months now–enough that I thought perhaps I could write something little (and by little I mean personal and rambling) about it.

The thing is that, well, I’m a person with some pretty solid beliefs and standards, but I’m not a fighter.  And I never have been a fighter.  Mostly, I just want to live a quiet, peaceful, content life away from fights of any kind if I can help it.

So, if someone comes at me wanting a fight, I’ll probably panic a bit, shake a little, attempt a response, most likely do some kind of cry session at some point, but ultimately, I will simply walk away and do everything in my power to never encounter that person or thing or place again.

I’ve rarely witnessed a fight where one or both parties actually changed their minds or apologized so, sometimes I just think, “Why?”  Why do that and feel like crap when I could be talking with nice people or making a pie or kayaking or giving a hug or…practically anything else?

I know, I know.  You want to tell me things like, “Some things are worth fighting for!”  and “If you don’t fight for x, then who will?” or “We need people like you in the church!” or “Stay.  Stay and make change happen.”

But…you see…I can’t make change happen.  I thought, once upon a time, that I might, that I could.  But, no.  Maybe someone else can….  But not me.  And the only thing that my tiny, microscopic attempts have gotten me…are fights.  Fights and judgement and anger and vitriol and self-righteousness and denials and a more intense, deep, visceral pain than I have ever known in my life.

And what is the point of wasting so much precious time in my short, small life… on that?

This is the voice of the silent ones who leave.  The ones who don’t want to tell anyone else that they know better (we don’t claim to, really)…  But, from their side, see a disintegrating community with no options.  With no one listening.  With no one even caring.  And still…we don’t want to make anyone feel too bad about it.  We can’t assume we know what other people need, after all.

We just don’t want a fight.  We just want to live a couple Sundays (or all the rest of our Sundays) without getting slapped across the face.

And we disappear.  So many of us are disappearing.  And do you even notice?  Do you?  I’m not really sure, but maybe it doesn’t matter to us anymore.   And sometimes that makes us sad.  Because we miss our old sense of belonging to a community that once existed in our hopes.  But we’ve discovered, miraculously, that when we walked away, we didn’t have to fight anymore.

And it was okay. And joyful.  And right.

Because there’s no time for meanness and fighting.  Not in our short, small, beautiful lives.  No time at all.

Pet Peeve

Unintentional sexism/homophobia/racism is still sexism/homophobia/racism.

Well-meaning sexism/homophobia/racism is still sexism/homophobia/racism.

Misguided sexism/homophobia/racism is still sexism/homophobia/racism.

Ignorant sexism/homophobia/racism is still sexism/homophobia/racism


Just because something is unintentional, well-meaning, misguided, or stemming from ignorance doesn’t mean that it’s okay.

Coercion: Stop it

One of my first posts at ZD was about what I called my “feminist awakening.”  I pinpointed it to a particular summer, the first of my graduate studies.  But, I don’t think it really explained the bigger picture of what really was happening.  That summer wasn’t the beginning of my discomfort with gender inequality, it was just the first time I named it.  And, it was the first time I really dealt with something I came to term “gender coercion.”  And by gender coercion, I mean:

The forcing of another party to act out gendered expectations in an involuntary manner (whether through action or inaction) by use of threats, intimidation, or some other form of pressure or force. Read More

Going Ex-Pat: One Year In, Part I

A little over a year ago, I wrote a post about my hopes and fears surrounding an upcoming move to Germany and how that would affect my general craving for more spiritual authenticity.

I was thinking a bit about that post today and realized that I had some things to say about what I’ve learned, different perspectives I’ve been given, and, perhaps most importantly, the new sense of empowerment I feel like I’m just beginning to grasp.

So, for what it’s worth, here’s a brief review of my ex-pat church experiences and mini-year-long faith journey, in parts.

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Living Authentically and the Mormon Child Bride

I had the opportunity (and the very narrow window of time) a few weeks ago to drop in on exactly one session of the Salt Lake City Mormon Stories Conference.  I was pleasantly surprised there when I got the chance to meet and listen to one of my blogging crushes–the “Mormon Child Bride.” 

Her reflections about faith transitions, navigating family and cultural expectations, authentic living, and experiences with doubt and belief were so perfectly done, so wonderfully vivid, and so refreshingly well-composed (as only a teacher of English could do) that I asked if I could share her latest here.  

Graciously she agreed, and so, without further ado, I give you the words and the faith journey of the very much admired MCB.

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I find this problematic…but should I?

E-mail received today: 

Bishop ***** and I both endorse an effort of the ******* Catholic Church to bring  to light religious freedoms being encroached upon by our government,  and encourage all Latter Day Saints to participate in an open invitation to all Christian congregations to attend an Interdenominational prayer service for religious liberty on Saturday June 16th @ 7:00 PM at **********.

 Let’s support our Christian Brothers in something we can agree on! 

Note (added after publishing):  Some have (I can now see, understandably) assumed that this e-mail was sent by the Bishop’s wife.  However, it was actually sent by a bishop who is just referring to a neighboring ward’s bishop who is in agreement.  So, there was no “pulling rank” from a wife going on or anything strange like that.


I wrote this two years ago and just happened to come across it today.  

My senior year at BYU was pretty darn lame.  But, you know, it was only lame because I made it lame with my panic.  You see, it was the first time I actually realized that I was going to be graduating…with a humanities degree…and I was still single…

The irony of the whole thing was that I was totally blindsided.  I was that girl who would shake her head sadly at those other girls in MFHD/ElementaryEd** who came to college to “get married.”

“You go to college to…GO TO COLLEGE,” I would intone philosophically at BBQ’s.

But, ya know what?  Come September 2005, I was in full scale panic. Read More

Tithing Workaround

I love the idea of tithing.  It reminds me that money is just money–and if I can’t give it away then I don’t own it, it owns me.  It’s a wonderful reminder to set aside a percentage of my income to help those around me who are in a rough patch.  It makes me a better person to think outside of myself and fight any latent financial greediness that might creep up on me in the long term.

At the same time, I’ve had a complex relationship with tithing the past three years.   Read More

Patriarchy = Communism

{{Oh snap!  What a hot-button title!  Don’t let it throw you off from actually reading the post!}}

I currently live in a city that used to be deep in former East Germany.  I’ve seen pictures of rows on rows of historic buildings painted grey and brown, falling down in the 1980s.  I’ve walked through the huge residential communist/brutalist-style neo-villages on the outskirts.  And, I’ve made a few friends who grew up in the DDR and have a lot to say about what it was like then, now, and during the difficult transition.

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Lifestyle Blogging, Guilt, and Me

When I walk home from the grocery store, the first thing I see as I exit those automatic doors is the towering gorgeousness of a 13th century church just inside a 12th century city wall.  And every time I see it, I think, “I need to blog about that.”

This is, I’m starting to suspect, a symptom of a nascent “lifestyle blogger”–someone who blogs frequently, using usually instagramed or picniked photos, about everything from their breakfast to the way their shoes look against the pavement.  Heavy on the color saturation, easy on the text.  Usually with an underlying thesis of something like, “I love my freakin’ life!” Read More

Going ExPat

I hope anyone who reads this can do it with an open, nonjudgmental eye.  Like Tirzah has felt in her recent posts, I’m a little nervous to be writing this out since I’m afraid others will react with pity, condemnation, disapproval, fear, or other manifestations of guilt-inducing negativityI became part of ZD because I needed a place to write my truth since I felt so completely paralyzed to do so in my “real world” life and I knew others felt just like meSo…when you comment, please just give me a little kindness if you can.  The only way to ever have a real discussion in this world is with kindness.  Plus, this is a straight-faced fact finding mission as well as a confession-post, so I really would like to hear what you know.

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I decided to accept a position to work for a couple years over in Europe.   It’s a testament to how tormented I’ve been these past few years about my church attendance since the first, numero uno, number one “pro” about moving there was, “Won’t have to go to church in a ward…or ever…if I want.”

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