On Prejudice and Principles by Mary Magdalene (re blogged)

Blog post by Mary Magdalene, published in February 2021. Original Post From Notes Along the Way link here.


On Prejudice and Principles (full text)

I believe that speaking plainly about the real matters at hand, discussing principles, and rooting out causes of disharmony and unhappiness are all worthwhile and reasonable pursuits. I often feel naive because I tend to assume that other people would share this opinion. It seems logical to me.

To my mind, when problems arise, if we can’t discuss:

  1. ethical principles pertaining to the events or actions in question, and,
  2. the underlying motivations and intentions that drive personal actions, systems, and events

then what on earth are we even talking about and how can a problem ever be resolved? This doesn’t have to be a war and peace length discussion either. In my experience, interactions become far more streamlined when people are honest and focused on the points I mention above.

I have always felt this way and I know that at times in my professional life I was a headache for my managers because I always wanted to address the elephants in the room and I could never play institutional politics.

But I observe that most people choose an alternative to “solving problems” which involves one or more of the following:

  • Silence, avoidance, denial that an issue exists
  • Game playing, and social and political politics
    For example “I’ll say something to get what I want from you. You give me what I  want. I praise you for doing it and we’ll both tell ourselves problem solved!” In other words – manipulation for personal gain
  • Using faces of politeness and pseudo concern to mask self interest and selfishness
    In other words, the issue is addressed with polite words or in calm tones but under the surface a mass of other angry or entitled feelings drive the exchange

None of these methods solve the problem. And even though, on some level, I understand what motivates people to act in these ways, some innocent child in me is still shocked and sad when attempting the alternative, a discussion of motivations and principles, apparently causes so much offense. So many people react as if it is UNREASONABLE to want resolution based on truth and real change.

Which brings me to something I have been pondering about lately.

Prejudice.

Prejudice. I mean, it’s a big topic and I am concerned that I won’t be able to do it justice and express everything I feel about it in one go (I definitely won’t). But here are some things.

The dictionary defines prejudice as:

noun: prejudice; plural noun: prejudices

1
2
1.
preconceived opinion that is not based on reason or actual experience

Prejudice exists so widely on Earth. I think about people who are instantly judged based on the colour of their skin, an illness, their beliefs, the way they dress or speak.

It is heartbreaking.

I’ve always felt this and I have always wanted to change it.

In my work with people with disabilities, people with a mental illness, with refugees, and in general health settings, the desire and autonomy of the individual were my focus and to speak up against systems and decisions based on prejudice were always important to me. (Although I didn’t really think about this at the time, it is only on reflection that I see the values I held. And indeed, on reflection, I see how I could have done better and how humility to some emotions at the time would have made me way, way better at loving and removed prejudices of my own).

And in reference to my previous points about motivations and principles, I have always known that anyone’s propensity towards prejudice of a certain (or any) type comes from unresolved and/or unloving desires within that person. Uninformed bias or preconception so often has roots in locked up pain from a person’s past or in investments in the emotional “rewards” granted to that person by significant others when they retain their prejudice.

I believe that I have always had compassion on some level for groups and individuals who encounter hate and prejudice as a part of their day to day lives.

But something I have avoided giving sincere consideration to is how these desires of mine apply to Jesus and I. How does prejudice relate to us and indeed towards the people who love us?

Julie, a friend, recently sent me a text:

(excerpt)
I've been going through people's judgement of me (behind my back) that's there from some of the people I know in the community who I have contact with as being a 'Jesus Person'. I had no idea it was happening and how much its around. Sharing time with you and my friends and knowing how much you both have given to all of us. I'm angry that people are judgemental of you both without knowing you. This comment is such a put down. It's like I've been 'blind sided', thinking I'm just Jules without the added 'label'.

Jesus has been doing some interviews lately and when he spoke up about some of the ways he was treated, it was obvious, due to his identity claims, that the people involved didn’t believe he deserved the respect afforded to others.

After the interview was edited it was sent to him for a response before publication. Jesus raised that music had been used to add dramatic effect and that religious statues had been placed around his image. As he said (and I paraphrase here), his claims are sensational enough without having to add such features that make fun of him and/or heighten emotion in viewers. He also said that there had been a lack of regard for our time (we were given the impression that further interviews would take place and set aside time for that) and that one interviewer had placed words in Jesus’ mouth (notably stating that Jesus supports Mormonism). While these issues were not major in and of themselves, the motivations that drove them are important and would continue to play out and worsen in future interviews if not addressed. He received a “polite” reply which dismissed his latter concerns as not having occurred and the former issues about making fun were promised to be removed.

When Jesus responded stating that the important issue was not the removal of the music and images but to address the motivations that drove their placement in the first place, he was branded a bully. Two out of three of the interviewers commenced a campaign of ridicule and derision against him online and now have plans to film a specific attack video about him for their channel.

Again, my child-like heart was shocked. Why don’t people want to talk plainly about their true motives? Why don’t principles matter to others? Why are “polite” words which avoid the real issues taken to be a kind response?

Of course the adult, largely cynical, Mary knows the reasons why and my desire to remain innocent to these matters is only a futile attempt to shield me from my fear and grief about the real motives that always existed in these people had I been willing to feel and notice them. (Jesus warned me about their intentions before the first interview took place).

I wrote to the interviewers:

Hi Derek, Dave and Dr Price,

I’m writing as you directly as you invited me to be involved in an interview with you and Jesus.

I was considering your request but first took the opportunity to see how you treated Jesus in the prior interview and then how you, Dave and Derek, ‘promoted’ the video and how you have been responding to commenters on both Reddit and YouTube.

Since I now have plain evidence for the derision you have for us (that was obviously always underlying what you called a ‘respectful interaction’ during the interview), of course I don’t want to be involved with you guys. I find it strange that you would think that I would.

In my opinion there is always room for love and respect for every person, no matter what your personal beliefs and opinions are. Derek and Dave, I watched as you both told Jesus how kind and loving you are as people. But in reality you are clearly more interested in creating a channel and revenue than you are in those most core human values.

I have nothing to hide and I’m not a brain-washed, manipulated bimbo as many people would like to believe. But you guys already don’t seem to be interested in displaying me or Jesus as we are, so talking with you would do nothing but play into your unkind agenda.

Because I believe so strongly in those values of respect and care for all humans, I am always open to the possibility of those values existing in the people who want to interview us. However time and again I find, as in this case with you both, that derision, ridicule and calling us ‘insane’ is something people find acceptable towards us. To me, if I were you, I would question why you actually think that we somehow deserve what you say that others don’t. And how that fits with your view that you are kind people.

Cheers,
Mary

In their responses to me both Dave and Derek stated that I was wrong and that they are actually kind men. But to watch their recent online comments and responses shows me that they lack the integrity and common regard for humans they profess.

My values of love and respect apply to all people, no matter the condition, intention or actions of the people I am dealing with. I hold these towards Derek and David still. I can’t say the same of them towards us.

In this instance I observed Jesus, with his kind heart and passion for truthfulness, ethics and principles, sincerely try to resolve an issue of prejudice towards himself. The more he tried to do this, in clear and respectful terms, the more he was labelled as anal, unreasonable, OCD, a bully and badly in need of psychological help (none of this was stated in an attempt to sincerely help him but rather to put him down).

I think of other people who experience far worse prejudice daily. Too many people are refused service and basic human necessities on the basis of a single feature about themselves.

Gender, race, age, sexuality, wealth, religion, belief, ability, disability and so many other factors – these have all be weaponized. I think about how societies as a whole don’t want their prejudices exposed and how they often attack those who they harm for speaking up about it. We fight coming to terms with our judgements and hate because we fight the knowledge of our own unjust, unloving, selfish and entitled motivations that drive them.

In my reply to Jules I wrote:

I've been thinking about prejudice more lately. Like you, I tend to skip over it, try to placate it (by trying to show I am 'normal') or I just withdraw from interactions with most people not associated with Divine Truth so I don't have to feel sad or afraid. I want to write about it because, as you say, it isn't just Jesus and I who experience this, it is almost everyone who chooses to be open about listening to us. There is grief to be felt but also the opportunity to challenge the unloving judgements in others. I think about people who are judged for the colour of their skin or for a disfigurement or disability, how difficult it must be for them.  If I don't challenge prejudice wherever I find it, even when it is against me, then how can I say I love?

I don’t spend enough time dwelling on others’ judgements about us because I still resist the grief that the full recognition of our rejection would expose. And I do things to help me avoid this grief. At times, in some sneaky corner of my soul, or sometimes right out in the open, I rationalize and make excuses for people’s unkind treatment of us.

For example, I often feel that it would be weird for people to have someone show up and say that he is Jesus – that it scares them or angers them based on issues in their past, or on what other people have done in the name of ‘spirituality’ and ‘God’. Sometimes I brace because I know that others will find our focus on principles and motivations “too much”. I wonder, are we just “too much” for people to handle or like?

I feel that as Mary Magdalene others must find me disappointing, I often feel disappointed in myself. (I don’t feel that way about Jesus. That man has the heart of a giant loving lion, he walks his talk and he knows God). But I catch myself making excuses for people’s difficulties with us. It hurts that our intentions are continually judged incorrectly but to speak up against it – to address the attack – often leads to more attack. So I shy away. To do otherwise would be to feel more injustice, and pain.*

But by denying the truth and my emotional experience of what is happening, I realise now that I am acting in direct contradiction to some of my core values. I wouldn’t stand for this towards others but I allow it when it is towards Jesus and myself.

What I haven’t wanted to recognise is that by making excuses for people who attack me I become complicit in the prejudice against us. When I don’t grieve, I play games with myself instead, trying to rationalise another person’s hate or judgement. In doing this, I don’t confront their lack of love and I tacitly support that person in something that harms them** as well as me and others.

When I comply with prejudice in any form, even if only towards myself, I contribute to prejudice in all its other forms wherever it exists. What I mean is, whenever my heart says it is OK to make even one exception, I am in fact saying to other hearts that their ‘one exception’, whatever that is, is OK too.

Photo by Ian Turnell on Pexels.com

Footnotes:

* As an aside, most people (not just me) rationalise judgement and attack of Jesus.
The rationale is often “Well, if you are going to say you are Jesus then you have to expect you’ll be {insert horrible treatment here}” . To some degree I could understand if the statement was “If you are going to be a greedy, selfish, arrogant mongrel then you can’t expect to be treated well”. That at least relates to a person’s character and conduct. But Jesus is most often treated worse than others based on his claim alone, not on his character. Of course, that fact that he speaks up about matters of love and truth just adds to the desire most people have to attack him after they interact with him for a while.

** People who hold and express feelings of judgment and hatred harm three sets of people:
1. those people they direct their judgement and hatred towards
2. those people that they influence and interact with
3. they themselves

Notes Along The Way

I believe that speaking plainly about the real matters at hand, discussing principles, and rooting out causes of disharmony and unhappiness are all worthwhile and reasonable pursuits. I often feel naive because I tend to assume that other people would share this opinion. It seems logical to me.

To my mind, when problems arise, if we can’t discuss:

  1. ethical principles pertaining to the events or actions in question, and,
  2. the underlying motivations and intentions that drive personal actions, systems, and events

then what on earth are we even talking about and how can a problem ever be resolved? This doesn’t have to be a war and peace length discussion either. In my experience, interactions become far more streamlined when people are honest and focused on the points I mention above.

I have always felt this way and I know that at times in my professional life I was a headache…

View original post 2,380 more words

Dear God… Blog URL Change

Hi Everyone,

I have made some changes to my blog recently.

The change that will affect you the most is that I have changed the URL to the Dear God… site.

The new URL for Dear God… is: eloisalh.com or eloisalh.wordpress.com

If you type in the above url you will be directed to the same content via a different address.

If you have any links on websites or blogs to the Dear God… blog, the change I made will mean that the link is now broken. If you want to update the link, please use the new url as specified in this post, eloisalh.com.

If you link to my website, thank you. And my sincere apologies for any inconvenience it may cause you to update the link/s.

This is a one off change and will not happen again as I realised the implications after I had pressed the change button (it means any time the site was linked anywhere on the internet, every link would need to be updated. That is a lot of time and effort to do so and my sincere apologise for this).

Best wishes,

Eloisa