Susan Dohse: “Christian Bully” is Not a Cute Oxymoron
Don’t you all just love the English language? An oxymoron is a statement that is seemingly self-contradictory. Anti-missile missle, false hope, holy war, turkey ham, white chocolate, jumbo shrinp, oven fried, and harmless sin are a few you may have used or are familiar with. I have invented a new oxymoron: “Christian bully.”
I am a busy person. But aren’t we all? My weekends are precious to me. I prefer to spend time with the men in my life, my husband and teenage son. When Paul related to me some of the comments said about him, and really us, that were posted on his blog I had to stop what I was doing (trying to make my granddaughter a dress) and reply. You see, as a teacher of 39 plus years I have had the wonderful experience of watching, listening, and dealing with bullies. I dealt with bullies when I taught at Xenia Christian ( born-again bullies, is that another sanctified oxymoron?), when my sons attended Nazarene Christian, as well as when they attended public school. There are even bullies in preschool.
It came to a point while dealing with my son being bullied at his Christian School, turning the other cheek just wasn’t enough, so da mama bear had to call in the big guns, the Xenia Police. Unfortunately, the bullying took on another form, an underground, subversive form; equally as harmful and devasting to my son. So I allowed my son to learn martial arts. It took time, but because I told my son to begin defending himself, and I would defend him to the school, the bullying aimed at him stopped. Why? Because I encouraged him to stand alone on the side of right, and I would defend him as long as he did the right thing.
There are many stories of children being bullied and defending themselves, and being rebuked for it. My son was one of them. The focus was and still is on the second, defensive hit, or push, not the first strike that started it. Teachers, principals, and parents are highlighting the retaliation, not the instigation. This is how schools practice “zero tolerance” by punishing the target and not addressing the problem that made the person think he had to defend himself in the first place. I taught my son that staying neutral when he saw someone being bullied looks like you are siding with the bully. He was able to defend some student friends of his not only by “might” but by speaking out against the bullies loud enough for teachers to hear.
When adults, professing Christian adults, take on being bullies, it is rather disgusting. Especially when the “Christian bullies” use an arena that is designed for the discussing of ideas. This needs to be addressed. Remaining neutral only gives bullies pemission to continue bullying. Will it stop? Probably not. It will rear its ugly head in another form. However, this time I cannot sit back and remain neutral.
I can’t reach through the computer screeen and backfist the bully. (By the way, my sons got me interested in martial arts, and I have earned a blue belt. Not bad for a fat-assed sixty year old woman.) That parenthetical comment is the reason for my post. There are detractors who read our blog and then choose to make the most assinine comments on several kinds of social media. Recently we have been referred to as being “gluttons,” and in regard to me specifically, “stupid ” for marrying Paul. There is no room here to document all that Paul has been called on various social networks and blogs.
These Bullies (our son calls them internet trolls) pobably have never met me, have never seen a full length photograph of me, have never sat down to dine with me, taken me out to dinner, or observed my eating habits. So to accuse me of gluttony is peculiar.
Let me set the record straight. I have struggled with my weight since birth. I was a big baby, (big baby is an oxymoron), and have been through various phases of sizes over the years. I have been a member of weight loss groups such as Weight Watchers, and First Place with varying degrees of success. My doctor encouraged me to continue to eat and make healthy choices, exercise, and be happy with the progress I have made. Paul and I have been on a lifestyle change since we were married 1 year and 7 months ago. The success has been slow but we have each lost weight and are living healthier lives. When I read of my husband and I being called gluttons on various social networks, I become mad. Not just fulll of righteous indignation, but down to earth MAD! The oxymorons, (Christian bullies) and the unkind statements made need to be addressed. I will not remain neutral.
Gluttony is an overemphasis on food, excessive eating and drinking, a serious failure in self-discipline. Not all overweight people are gluttons. I have a relative who is as thin as a toothpick and can outeat a Sumo wrestler at an all you can eat buffet, but beause she is thin she is never accused of being glutton, although she truly is one. I have been a member of churches where pastors and deacons are morbidly obease and they are not publically addressed as gluttons. I have been to Contemporay Christian concerts where leading band members have a weight issue, and I have viewed internet films of Christian teachers who could stand to take off a few pounds, but, again, I do not hear these detractors communicate disgust for their messages with bully-type statements.
Now, the detractors who accused Paul of being a glutton will probably say that they didn’t call me one as well. Yes, you did. When Paul and I were married we took on a wonderful new relationship referred in Scripture as “one flesh.” The reference is engraved inside of our wedding bands, and our wedding vows reflected the desire to be a three-fold cord as a testimony to our family and friends, many of whom are unbelievers. The smartest thing I did was to marry Paul. He brought peace to a chaotic situation, the love of God’s Word to a spiritually starving home, and leadership to a floundering family. How dare you acccuse me of being mentally numb, or lacking intelligence, or as oxymorons put it, “stupid”, for marrying Paul. It does appear that you are following in the footsteps of the man you hold in high regard, John Calvin. Study his life and message and you will discover a bully that deserves a medal.
Why is it in the arena of ideas people have to resort to insults and name-calling when disagreeing? Perhaps it is because the one slinging insults and using name-calling tactics have no ideas to discuss.
Discuss, even disagree with what we write, but don’t be an oxymoron, “Christian” bully.
Susan, who is madly in love with Paul.