November 3rd, 2019

flamebusy

The Wolf You Feed, and other Evangelical claptrap.

I saw "The Wolf You Feed" listed as the topic of today's sermon, and I had a little twinge of apprehension. Was I really going to be subjected to a sermon based off of fricking Billy Graham? Surely not here! Surely none of the so-far excellent pastors I've heard thus far would do such a thing. And yet even if you don't buy into the Evangelical worldview, a lot of people do still like that reductionist, simplistic "parable", and they have talked about emotional management here before, and I've heard some non-Christian hippie types really go for stories like this, and maybe...

Then the pastor said something to the effect of "Well, for starters this 'old Cherokee tale' is neither old nor Cherokee" and I knew I was in good hands.

:D

Since I know not everybody comes from the same background as I do and may not have heard the story, it goes like this:

An old Cherokee is teaching his grandson about life. "A fight is going on inside me," he says. "It is a terrible fight and it is between two wolves. One is evil – he is anger, envy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority, and ego. The other is good – he is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion, and faith. The same fight is going on inside you – and inside every other person, too." The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather, "Which wolf will win?" The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one you feed.”

It sounds very deep and pithy. Nurture the "good" in you, starve the "evil", in the end good will win. Great idea.

Except it's absolute horseshit on every possible level.

First of all, it's horseshit for the attempt to frame it as universal wisdom that all cultures would accept, because gee, golly, look at these Red Indians, believing the same things as us Christians about good and evil and what constitutes each, just saying it in their quaint, all-stories-are-animals way. Wow! (Gods, I hope I don't have to say all that was delivered in a tone of biting sarcasm.) It is not a Native American story. It doesn't look or sound in any way like a Native American story. Different cultures do have different morals, tell different stories, and value different things. This is a white, western, Christian story.

Second of all, the intended reading makes it a dumb-ass metaphor. You know what starved wolves are famous for? Being ten times as vicious. Starved wolves are the ones who, in their desperation to find food, resort to robbing herds and flocks and even outright attacking humans, something normal wolves don't do. You really think that trying to "starve" all your bad impulses is going to kill them? It's not! If the "food" is attention, notice and focus, if the food is inviting them into your life to express themselves, then denying attention and space to all your so-called bad emotions only makes them seep and ooze out of every other crack, looking for the outlet you're not giving them. "Ignore them and they'll go away" is terrible advice for bullies and it's terrible advice for emotions too.

Ignoring negative feelings and experiences is the worst way to handle them. You need to sit with them, understand them, see why you feel them and how you can navigate them. Ignoring your "dark side" will at best accomplish nothing at all.

And speaking of dark, my third problem with this pile of reeking manure masquerading as wisdom is that it's literally black and white. If you see the damn thing illustrated there will always be a black wolf and a white wolf, and that's definitely the intended imagery. There is one good set of feelings and one evil set of feelings, period.

Anger is evil? Sorrow is evil? Guilt is evil? Really? (Fuck, that's not even in line with Christian teachings, you idiot.)

The pastor today said if her feelings were wolves, she has a whole pack inside her, and they work together the way a wolf pack does, dark and light ones, to navigate her life. (I loved that, that's so perfect. And very me!) There are times when you need any given one of those "evil" things. Yes even greed. Yes even envy. They are part of our human experience. There is no black and white here. Negative feelings aren't evil. Positive feelings aren't good! How many people in abusive relationships have destroyed their lives because they felt love? (Just to give one simplistic example. I could give more!) Feelings are feelings, they're morally neutral, for fuck's sake.

And then there's the utter nonsense of asking which one will "win." A child asks it in this story and it's a childish question. Even if the dark feelings were evil and even if starving them did anything useful, nobody becomes a being of perfect goodness only. Not in this life, anyway. Acting like you can "win" such a fight and become "a good person" because your "good" wolf won is just... Augh. It's setting a goal that's not only impossible, it's nonsensical. And nobody's bad wolf wins either, okay? Nobody is pure evil. Nobody is pure good.

Most of all, though, nobody experiences only positive emotions! Nobody can, and nobody should.

It's such an incredibly dumb story on pretty much every single level, and I am so glad I now belong to a congregation where that kind of useless "deep" glurge is not going to be spit out at me as profound wisdom.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1566064.html.
flamebusy

Sunday six

Soon a steaming cup—earl grey by the scent of it—was set in front of her, rousing her from her half-doze. “Thank you,” she said, lifting her head and smiling.

“You’re welcome.” Flame had a cup of his own, which he sipped slowly. Despite the myths about ponies like him, Perique knew that he ate and drank just like any other pony. He merely also required a little something extra…

The pair sipped in silence for a time. It was a comfortable silence, for they were comfortable together. That comfort was a large part of why Perique came here. Tea—and most of the other things Flame had to offer—could be had in many places. Comfort and trust were rarer commodities, though, and ones she prized highly.


It's way more than six and I'm not sure I care. :3

From another trans bingo story, using my now-well-established self-insert pony OC and my girlfriend's self-insert pony OC, who get to see each other in person more often than us "real" people do, boo. Writing for the "Cuddles and snuggles" prompt, so it will be pretty much pure fluff. Possibly with a little consensual vampire biting too, though.

This entry was originally posted at https://bladespark.dreamwidth.org/1566313.html.