In a book entitled a Generous Orthodoxy, Brian D. McLaren describes himself as a missional + evangelical + post-protestant + liberal-conservative +mystical + poet + biblical +charismatic-contemplative +fundamentalist-Calvinist +anabaptist-Anglican + Methodist + catholic + green + incarnational + depressed-yet-hopeful + emergent + unfinished Christian.
I so identify with this method of describing one’s self as I am all of the above plus a Middle-class, educated, African American, heterosexual, Interdenominational, liberal, female, that’s overweight by most standards, and a senior citizen according to the majority. Think about it. We’re all multifaceted, convoluted, mixtures of race, beliefs and practices. This is what makes the world an interesting place to be. Our differences are what keeps life interesting. Yet, for some, our differences fuel fear and drive us into a whirlwind of isms that destroys the beauty of our distinctions.
Maybe this fear is an attempt at perfectionism but, the stoicism creates a stigmatism that points to the truism that a form of parasitism maybe in play. Acceptance is one key that could release us from the egotism that keeps fanning the flames of racism, sexism, agism, sizeism, and classism. Or maybe people like me have mannerisms that are causing skepticism regarding the unintentional symbolism created by being our true selves. And, let me add, that some of what we do is easily construed as careerism as we fully embrace the laws that attempt to reverse past favoritism of the majority.
Anti-Semitist and anti-feminist must try to understand that their cynicism comes off as witticism as their romanticism astound many. Their agnosticism is a denial of my ableism which makes it problematic to practice altruism as the entire matter makes me want to turn to alcoholism. However, I am against vandalism even against oneself, so I guess with that I might be practicing pacifism.
If we as Americans are to embody nationalism and avoid nihilism, then being careful of the criticisms made daily will slowly eradicate pessimism as we teach the next generation not to criminalize the belief systems of others. My practice of Buddhism while believing in creationism does not dismiss the empiricism life has graced me with. Although, I traveled the path of materialism and it led me through workaholism, I must admit that it was a frail attempt to fight the oppression I encountered as ism after ism was hurled at me.
I have found peace in the realization that I will not be a part of the dominant, privileged, majority here in America during my lifetime. Everything that makes me the interestingly unique person I am offends some and scares others. However, this realization will not smother the optimism I have that justice will eventually prevail and most of our isms will be on the positive end of the scale.