"Ignorance is the state in which one lacks knowledge, is unaware of something or chooses to subjectively ignore information."
Something I hear pretty regularly from friends, colleagues and parishioners is "why do you even READ that stuff?" ... in reference to some of the "other side of the aisle" blogs, commentaries, rants and raves.
There are a couple of answers to that question:
- Sometimes it's about looking for the ways and places we can connect across differences -- the delightful "ahas!" of finding that those we disagree with on one "issue" may in fact be allies or resources on another.
- Sometimes it's about staying on top of the news cycle and checking other sites to see what link or article or feature or blog post that might have escaped my attention has captured theirs.
- Sometimes it's about getting rebuttal arguments ready for the "talking points about to come." (Understanding your opponent's rhetoric is the first step to rebuttal!)
- And sometimes it's because you find something so amazingly ignorant that it's on a silver platter labelled "Teachable Moment" ... and in that case, ignorance -- like a teachable moment -- is a terrible thing to waste. (And yes, I'm getting to my case in point!)
It comes from "Virtueonline's" latest rant -- this one aimed at the newly launched "Believe Out Loud" campaign ... a national project to encourage inclusive congregations to make their welcome to LGBT people explicit -- not just implicit. (Kind of like the "Episcopal Church Welcomes You" signs that hang out in front of so many of our churches as intentional Welcome Mats.)
It's a "same-'stuff'-different-day" rant for the site -- which is a charter member of the "Sky is Falling/World is Ending/Church is Splitting/Communion is Ending Society of Schismopalians." And I might not have even read through the whole thing if I wasn't home today killing time waiting for the next load of laundry to dry.
But I did. And I'm glad I did. Because that's when I found the "Silver-Platter/Teachable Moment/Ignorance-is-a-terrible-thing-to-waste" quote:
Gone too is the talk of "monogamous same-sex couples" to the inclusion of bisexuals who, if sexually active, can't possibly be monogamous.So here's how that logic works: if the "B" in LGBT is included then monogamy is excluded -- based on the astoundingly ignorant misapprehension that those who identify as bisexuals (in his own words) "can't possibly be monogamous."
How can a person who is bisexual be married (and monogamous)?And the answer starts with the writer's:
... definition of bisexual. For me it means that I am able to be in a sexual relationship with a person regardless of their gender identity or genitalia.
This ability however, does not equal necessity. Or even desire. It does not even mean that because I can, I should. It only means I am able. Gender, sexual organs that accompany a person, are not a factor in who I find attractive–sexually or otherwise.
Let me say this as clearly as I can: being bisexual (in and of itself) does not affect ones ability to be in a monogamous relationship.
One (being bisexual) just is, it is not a choice or preference or request. It just is.
The other (monogamy) is about a choice and commitment, fidelity and honoring an agreement.
I would contend that anyone who wants to choose monogamy, can. I did not ask, choose or request to have the capacity to love—sexually and emotionally—anyone. I do however, consider it a gift and blessing.
So there you have it. A "teachable moment" in the reflections of a woman describing her own reality as a bisexual ... not the rantings of a man dealing with his own fantasies about bisexuality.
And that's why sometimes ignorance is a terrible thing to waste -- because it can actually ask the questions that lead to knowledge.
And because the good thing about ignorance is it CAN be cured. In fact, one could think of "teachable moments" like this as a kind of reparative therapy that actually makes sense ... for ignorance that doesn't.