People keep asking, “Did you ever hear back from Lynn Beisner?” Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. Yesterday.
If you’re just joining us, Beisner wrote an article at Role/Reboot this summer, entitled “I Wish My Mother Had Aborted Me.” The article went viral, and I responded to it in a post entitled “Lynn Beisner, I’m Glad You’re Alive.” Beisner ran across my post, and responded in a comment on my About page:
I could not find a place on the article that you wrote about me to comment. So, I came over to this page just to say thank you. You are one of the few religious people who did not tell me to go abort myself. Your thoughtfulness and kindness is very much appreciated and it reaffirms my faith.
I was sad, and disgusted, at the hateful reaction she’d gotten from “religious people.” I wasn’t terribly surprised, though. And that made me sad, too. But the two of us seemed to be communicating a bit, and that’s generally a good thing, so I wrote her again: “Lynn Beisner, Can We Talk?”
Yesterday this appeared in the comments on my About page:
Once again, I stumbled on your work after the comments had closed. Thanks for explaining why I couldn’t comment. I was feeling a bit like the little geek that couldn’t.
I am sorry that I did not check back. A friend of mine had tried to get in touch with you to reprint your article, and when she didn’t hear back from you I made an assumption. I know how hard it can be to be the reasonable Christian, the one who wants to have a reasonable discussion and the one who talks to the “sinners” as people not as objects for conversion. (http://goodmenproject.com/good-feed-blog/was-brian-presley-actually-trying-to-convert-melissa-stetten/) Given the fact that you were treating me as a human being, I thought that you would get a lot of pressure and need to distance yourself. I didn’t blame you, but I was sad for you.
I like the idea of a public conversation. I think that we need to recover the ability to have a dialogue about meaningful things. Three things we will need to consider: I am a contributing writer at Role/Reboot, so I will need to run our plan by them to be sure that there is no conflict. Second: I do work a lot, so I am not sure how often I could contribute. Third: I assume that by a public space you mean online in some sort of open forum. I don’t do public appearances or compromise my identity. This is not because of cowardice. Well, actually it is. When it comes to danger to my family I am a coward. The last time I spoke my truth in a public way, a nice Christian man took it upon himself to defend God by threatening to put his gun (can’t remember if it was a riffle [sic] or a shot-gun) into my daughter’s vagina and blow her butt into her brains. I was a bit confused by his take on anatomy, but the threat frightened me enough to stop leaving a trail back to my family.
I am glad that you liked the article about parenting while introverted. I got in some trouble for that one. Evidently, if I were just a better mother…blah, blah, blah.
You are right. I am looking for ways to understand conservatives. My comment about conservatives in the Maddow article (another one that got me in trouble) was based on some research which seems to indicate that conservatives are less bothered by social injustice. The theory is that they believe God has a plan for each person’s life that includes only good things (Jer. 29:11), and that if they are experiencing social injustice (poverty, false imprisonment etc.) they are either “not right with God” or it is all a part of God’s plan to “work things together for good” (Rom. 8:28). As for the comments about you, I would have to go back and find the specific passages. I will if you really want me to. Or, we can just move on and talk about healthcare and other issues of social justice.
So, I accept your offer in the same spirit of kindness and humility with which you extended it to me.
Thank you, Lynn. And there’s totally no need for you to go back hunting the context of old Facebook comments. Life is too short!
To answer your three considerations:
- Yes, I meant online. You live somewhere east of the Mississippi and I live somewhere west of pretty much the entire country–so online is definitely the way to go here!
- I can’t manage anything other than a slo-o-o-ow conversation either.
- I’ll just wait to hear back from you about permission from Role/Reboot.
I’ll message you again on Facebook, to try to ensure you see this. (I did that last time, too, actually, but my message seems to have evaporated into the ether, along with your friend’s attempt to reach me.) And my email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Let’s see what we can work out.
Oh, and about your link, “Was Brian Presley Actually Trying to Convert Melissa Stetten?” I thought your analysis was spot-on: “witnessing” and flirting do often use the same social muscles. And have the same means-to-an-end/you-are-a-project quality to them. But I just wanted to reassure you: I’m way too Presbyterian in my theology to think I could convert you. And I promise I’m not trying to hit on you.
So, Lynn Beisner, let’s talk!