Stumbling Blocks

 I remember a few years ago I went to Fremantle to do some photography. I walked around aimlessly looking for a photo. Fremantle is a beautiful city that has preserved many of her old buildings, resulting in a place with plenty of character – but the lighting was crap. It was challenging to get a good exposure with the harsh Australian sunlight and the dark shadows cast by the buildings, so I ended up looking and photographing textures. For example I  photographed the pattern on an old ceiling,  I stopped and photographed checker plate and a concrete drain cover, I photographed bricks and limestone walls. Eventually I got to a cafe and began photographing the tiles on the wall. I liked what I saw but found it hard to get a shot without harsh reflections so I stayed there awhile trying to find the right angle.

Out of the corner of my eye – I saw it! A movement that I knew was not normal. Followed by a thump and a woman laughing. I turned around to see a middle aged man lying in the gutter with his wife in hysterics. The poor guy had been watching me photographing a wall – while walking –  and was so perplexed that he ended up falling on his face. I think I was actually more embarrased than he was.

I began a series of posts with a quote from Tolstoy: “Free thinkers are those who are willing to use their minds without prejudice and without fearing to understand things that clash with their own customs, priveleges or beliefs. This state of mind is not common, but essential for right thinking; where it is absent, discussion is apt to become worse that useless.”   

This is certainly proving to be true.

In a reply to a comment I said something like … “I don’t give a shit about exegesis” The more I think about it – this was a very Jesus kinda thing to say. Jesus wasn’t interested in keeping the Sabbath when a person was involved, he broke this law on numerous occasions, everytime to heal someone. He also rebuked the teachers of the law who searched for Jesus in the scriptures but failed to see him right in front of them. I don’t think Jesus gives a shit about exegesis either. Jesus would look first and foremost at the person – in this case it is the intersex, transgender or gay person whose very existance clashes with the beliefs of the church.

Instead of stumbling on the word shit – how about looking at the person – that’s what Jesus would do.

The problem is not one of exegesis, no amount of clear argument is going to change ones mind – that is the nature of bigotry. At the end of the day a person that is unable to process information that clashes with their beliefs will say to himself – “Even instinct tells me I am right” or “I can not go against conscience” or even “I just know it to be true from the bottom of my heart” It is precisely here that I agree with Lutheran views on emotion – you can not always trust feelings. When confronted with facts, when confronted with hurting people it is time to question where these feelings come from – are they faith or are they bigotry?  And this isn’t always an easy question to answer – A person born a Lutheran finds it easy to say “here I stand” ,  equivalently a person born Muslim equivalently would stand firm and defend his beliefs. Is this faith? Or is it stuff that has been handed down to us from our fathers? The easiest way to tell is to guage your feelings/reactions when discussing issues like this one – faith is free to listen – bigotry responds with a variety of anxieties – anger, fear, defensiveness, attacks etc. It is absolutely essential to recognize the feelings associated with bigotry and understand them for what they are. Bigotry, as with any other sin is always easier to recognize in other people.

Bigotry stumbles.

Interestingly – I couldn’t find my photo of tiles in my portfolio – gone! So the featured image is a close up of a statue in Fremantle. But guess what – I found my image on this site: The green tiles are mine, taken seconds before the man fell on his face.

4 Responses to “Stumbling Blocks”
  1. askthebigot says:

    Very interesting post. And lovely tiles!

  2. lcamyopinion says:

    *in this case it is the intersex, transgender or gay person whose very existance clashes with the beliefs of the church*.

    faith is free to listen – bigotry responds with a variety of anxieties – anger, fear, defensiveness, attacks etc.

    Thats such a challenging statements!

    Thanks for this.

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