Two (Plus) Tangents from JOA's Thread

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Journeyofawakening's How do I even start to explain?? thread has prompted several tangents. I want to take the last two tangents and use them to start this new thread. As originator of the thread, I want to say that this thread is fair game for any further tangents anyone would like to follow. There's no off-topic topic on this thread! :) Just keep it halfway civil, that's all I ask.

I'll start by quoting the last three "tangent posts" in JOA's thread (modified to fit this thread).

---

From River:

I'm not 100% convinced by the notion of "emotional affairs" and "emotional infidelity" -- by whatever names. Nor am I even solidly 50% clear that such a construction is meaningful, valid and true.

Nor am I rabidly against the notion.

But I want to ask ... Is it okay to deeply and profoundly love others platonically? or would there be a gender barrier to whom we can love and how much, platonically?

And if the love is not purely "platonic," simply because there is a desire for physical or sexual contact -- is this desire a transgression? Or is only any acting on this desire a transgression?

I ask because I really doubt that anyone can simply decide not to have desire for physical/sexual contact ... while one CAN decide not to act upon such desire.

In any case, I'm a bit skeptical of the very notion of "emotional affairs."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_affair

The Wikipeidia article (linked above) says: "While sexual infidelity can be written off as one partner seeking physical release outside of the relationship, an emotional affair can delegitimize the emotional bonds that make up the foundation of a relationship."

Delegitimze? Really?! Umm ... how?

---

From kdt26417:

Well I tend to take a forgiving view of affairs in general, and I think you have a problem any time a spouse has a friendship with someone of the opposite sex. At what point does friendship become an emotional affair?

I didn't wanna say too much about it in JOA's thread, but let's discuss it freely now.

---

From bassman:

I am really interested in River's topic, and agree with Kev, let's get a new topic going, so that Journey can continue to get help in her thread without it going off topic. Some of you know I'm anti-church, having being on their receiving end, but I've resisted posting on JOA's thread because that was not helpful to her. There are other threads (like this one) where we can do that.

:)

---

So the two tangents we're officially starting with are,

  • what are your thoughts on emotional affairs, and,
  • are you at all anti-church, and if so, why?
... and we can take it from there. Again those are just two starter topics; feel free to introduce additional topics if this thread brings such to your mind.

For my own part, I am largely anti-church, but I will play nice with loyal churchmembers (and other pro-church types) as long as I'm in a diplomatic mood. Of course it somewhat depends on the church. I like Unitarian Universalists but I still wouldn't want to join. More "fundie" types rake on my nerves because they can't seem to live and let live (e.g. opposing SSM), and they try to obscure the truth (e.g. teaching creationism in science classes).

To speak candidly, I have to say I really struggle with beliefs in a soul and an afterlife, whether they issue from a church or an individual. If people understood the finality of mortality, we might be doing more research on life extension.

I often shake my head at astrology (but seldom admit it).

As for affairs, I'm more prone to excuse them than your average polyamorist would be. Is there such a thing as an emotional affair? Sure, I think so. Is it just as bad as a physical affair? Maybe sometimes, but more often I would consider it less abominable than a physical affair.

Is it okay to deeply and profoundly love others platonically? Absolutely. No exceptions. No gender barriers, etc.

Is mere desire a transgression? Absolutely not. The only thing I count is if/how one acts upon one's feelings.

There. Some extra material you can pounce on. Okay guys, hit it!
 

MightyMax

Banned
No, I'm not anti-church, but I'm an Atheist. I don't tolerate prejudice or hatred towards people at all. That includes Christian bashing. I think that some people need to be aware that the sort of church they were part of isn't church as many of us know it. When you make generalizations about Christianity and the church based on your experiences in a cult like environment, it can often come across as pure bigotry. It isn't "informed". It's a response formed purely from being sheltered and ignorant that the church in your hometown isn't the same as churches all over the world. Christianity is very different in Europe than it is in the US. Maybe the Christianity you were part of was harmful, abusive and oppressive, but in some parts of the world, there are gay vicars, female vicars, none of these rigid and archaic rules. I think Christian bashing is seen as enlightened amongst some people, but truthfully, it is just a display of sheer ignorance.

Next, I think if you have an agreement of monogamy, you can have feelings for someone which are outside the realm of what most monogamists would view as acceptable. You can't help your feelings. That's the issue with monogamy. However, you can choose to behave in ways which stay inside the realm of acceptable, ie not act on your feelings. However, I suspect that having the feelings at all is an issue for many monogamists.
 

Confused

New member
I think if you start lying to your partner or concealing another relationship then that can be a betrayal as big as a physical affair.

If it's honest and all are agreed it's ok then it's not an affair whether or not physical contact has happened so I'm not sure if there is lying involved why the need for physical contact to determine it was an affair.
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Re (from MightyMax):
"I don't tolerate prejudice or hatred towards people at all. That includes Christian bashing."

But Christian bashing is so fun. :D Such a large, myopic target.

Re:
"I think that some people need to be aware that the sort of church they were part of isn't church as many of us know it."

Everybody experiences a subjective reality, and sometimes I think people overlook the objective truth. To the vast majority at least in the West, Christianity is a sacred cow. And sacred cows make great hamburgers.

Re:
"When you make generalizations about Christianity and the church based on your experiences in a cult-like environment, it can often come across as pure bigotry."

I can't help how I come across, as long as I speak the truth. I've been involved in various churches, both cult-like and not-so-cult-like, and I think I understand the difference.

Re:
"Christianity is very different in Europe than it is in the United States."

I don't know, I've heard of some pretty narrow-minded stuff in Europe. JOA's church, for example. Maybe bassman also knows of an example.

So MightyMax, can I assume you've been in a cult-like church? Would you care to share your story? So far you've only made a lot of generalizations that apply to the rest of us. What firsthand experience do you speak from?

As for having nonmonogamous feelings, people have gay feelings too, and they don't have to act on those feelings. Doesn't mean they shouldn't.

@ Confused ... I appreciate your contribution here. What happens if one spouse has feelings for someone outside the marriage, but doesn't tell the other spouse about those feelings? Is that cheating?

While stirring up trouble,
Kevin T.
 

Confused

New member
For me, it's coming pretty close. I wouldn't feel good about myself if I was hiding something important from my partner. I've always found the workof living honestly to be worth it thankfully.
 

Confused

New member
That said, feelings are different from behaviour. If you have feelings for someone you are concerned your partner will be upset about them but don't act on them then you are showing some concern for your partners feelings. I'd prefer honesty along with the concern personally but it's not the same as sneaking around lying about behaviour.
 

bassman

New member
No, I'm not anti-church, but I'm an Atheist. I don't tolerate prejudice or hatred towards people at all. That includes Christian bashing. I think that some people need to be aware that the sort of church they were part of isn't church as many of us know it. When you make generalizations about Christianity and the church based on your experiences in a cult like environment, it can often come across as pure bigotry. It isn't "informed". It's a response formed purely from being sheltered and ignorant that the church in your hometown isn't the same as churches all over the world. Christianity is very different in Europe than it is in the US. Maybe the Christianity you were part of was harmful, abusive and oppressive, but in some parts of the world, there are gay vicars, female vicars, none of these rigid and archaic rules. I think Christian bashing is seen as enlightened amongst some people, but truthfully, it is just a display of sheer ignorance.

Next, I think if you have an agreement of monogamy, you can have feelings for someone which are outside the realm of what most monogamists would view as acceptable. You can't help your feelings. That's the issue with monogamy. However, you can choose to behave in ways which stay inside the realm of acceptable, ie not act on your feelings. However, I suspect that having the feelings at all is an issue for many monogamists.

Well, I bash them, having being on the receiving end. I think I am informed having attended with my ex wife for 12 years, and errr, never hearing any good advice on errr.... anything they think they have a right to advise on !!!

When they wanted to control my finances by putting themselves first, was the last day i attended.

Im in the UK, my ex wife attends "hillsong", and their hompages tells the congregation that jc comes first ( and by default, that means your spouse and your family can f off).

Yes, I bash them, but THEY attacked ME First !!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
@ Confused ... so, you mean that even if the one spouse doesn't act on the feelings (for someone outside the marriage), s/he should still tell the other spouse, is that right? Keeping it a secret just wouldn't be as big of a transgression if the feelings weren't acted on? In other words, hiding acts is worse than hiding feelings, right?

Re (from bassman):
"Well, I bash them, having being on the receiving end."

Sometimes I think they consider it okay for them to bash folks like you and me bassman, but when the shoe's on the other foot then it's not okay. "So you left the church. So get over it!" Nevermind all those threats of eternal damnation, right? "Yes of course you're going to Hell, but it's your own fault, so stop blaming the church!" I will blame the church; they're the ones that came up with all those kooky commandments.

Re:
"I think I am informed having attended with my ex wife for 12 years, and errr, never hearing any good advice on errr ... anything they think they have a right to advise on!"

Because God knows they think there's a whole lot of things on which they're supremely qualified to advise.

Re:
"I'm in the UK, my ex wife attends 'Hillsong,' and their hompage tells the congregation that J.C. comes first (and by default, that means your spouse and your family can F off)."

In my King James Bible it says,
"He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me."
-- Matthew 10:37

There you have it, J.C.'s official priorities. If you ever have to choose between J.C. and your kids ...!
 

bassman

New member
@ Confused ... so, you mean that even if the one spouse doesn't act on the feelings (for someone outside the marriage), s/he should still tell the other spouse, is that right? Keeping it a secret just wouldn't be as big of a transgression if the feelings weren't acted on? In other words, hiding acts is worse than hiding feelings, right?

Re (from bassman):


Sometimes I think they consider it okay for them to bash folks like you and me bassman, but when the shoe's on the other foot then it's not okay. "So you left the church. So get over it!" Nevermind all those threats of eternal damnation, right? "Yes of course you're going to Hell, but it's your own fault, so stop blaming the church!" I will blame the church; they're the ones that came up with all those kooky commandments.

Re:


Because God knows they think there's a whole lot of things on which they're supremely qualified to advise.

Re:


In my King James Bible it says,


There you have it, J.C.'s official priorities. If you ever have to choose between J.C. and your kids ...!

man, its screwed up. I dont understand it one bit !!
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
Maybe we're not supposed to understand it? God is smarter than us and all that? :rolleyes:
 

River

Active member
I think if you start lying to your partner or concealing another relationship then that can be a betrayal as big as a physical affair.

Lying in loving / intimate relationships (unless for a few rare exceptional reasons -- such as to protect a life. See end note.) is always hurtful and grievous. But lying is an altogether different topic from the topic of having loving feelings for another person, which ultimately what "an emotional affair" is about.

It could be said that "emotional affairs" cause the one having the affair to spend a lot of time with the other person, which could otherwise be shared with the prior relational partner. But that too is another topic altogether from the topic of caring a lot about and wanting to feel bonded and close with another. So the fault of the person who essentially abandons their partner to spend all or most of their free time with another is not that he or she is "having an emotional affair". The fault, or problem, is that he or she has basically abandoned the prior partner by not spending sufficient time with him or her. Why dress it up with a fancy quasi-clinical sounding name like "emotional affair"? Just call it being unavailable for relationship.


___________

End note:

"If, by telling a lie to some Nazi soldiers during World War II, you could have saved someone’s life, without any other additional harm being inflicted, it seems that you ought to have lied."

-- http://philosophy.about.com/od/Philosophical-Questions-Puzzle/a/The-Ethics-Of-Lying.htm
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
So, River, you feel that "emotional affair" is a made-up pair of words that doesn't really say anything? How much time is it okay to spend away from one's spouse (or similar partner/s), and does it make a difference how that time away is spent?

How involved do you have to be with "a new person" before you need to inform your spouse (or similar partner/s)? To what extent is it your duty to stay inside the bounds of what your spouse consents to?

Where do you draw the line between "emotional affair" and "physical affair?" After all, just because you touch someone doesn't mean you're having an affair. Is a kiss an affair?

Words of Jesus:
"Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery:
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart."
-- Matthew 5:27-28

He seems to be saying that not even a kiss is required. Is that true?
 

River

Active member
How much time is it okay to spend away from one's spouse (or similar partner/s), and does it make a difference how that time away is spent?

I prefer to address one question at a time, when possible.

For me the question is one of neglect. I am perfectly happy to concede that it is possible to be neglectful of a spouse or partner in terms of how much time one spends with them. I'd go further and say that such neglect can be just as harmful or hurtful if it is as a result of a woman's knitting circle or "girl's night out" ... or a men's hiking (camping, golf...) group -- or vice versa, e.g., a men's knitting circle.... (Please don't imagine me a sexist for my examples! I'm SO far from it.)

By the way, I think "workaholics" are very often neglectful of their partners with regard to how much time they alot to them. So are the guys who spend most of their off-work time at the local pub with "the boys"....

Generalizing about "how much time" is not workable or sensible, as I see it. It depends on the individuals and their needs and situation. It may also depend -- to some extent -- on how long the partners have been partnered up.

If one of the parners is desperately (or fatally) ill, that would change the whole dynamic. Or if one of the partners is needful of kind attention due to some loss or struggle, that would change the dynamic. Neglect is not measured in hours.

I do not believe everyone should have some sort of calendar in which hours are divied out proportionally each week or month accoring to the number of friends or lovers one is involved with. If this works for some folks, fine. Ultimatley, this all comes down to communication, I think. If a person feels neglected, he or she feels neglected ... and has a right to say so. "I'd like to spend more time with you". Pretty simple.
 
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kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
How does one know when one's spouse/partner is asking for too much of one's time? When is it more than they really need? Is it possible they're asking just to exert some kind of control over things?

Sorry, I know that's three questions. :)
 

MightyMax

Banned
I grew up around quite moderate Christians. The type that accepted homosexuals in their church as long as they didn't flaunt their relationship, or mention it. Everyone knew they were gay but it was not appropriate to talk about it in church. As I grew up around these types of Christians, I know that Christianity does not always involve oppression and hatred. I certainly wouldn't say it was a perfect religion by any means, but I have enough experience to say these sweeping generalizations are not accurate. It would be like me saying that all Christians are like those who I've been raised with. It's simply not the case.

To me, Jesus is saying that your intentions can overwhelm your actions. If you know someone is off limits due to their monogamous relationship, for example, and you lust after them, it's unethical. I don't just mean "find them attractive", either. More like when a person flirts with the intention of taking things further should the lustee reciprocate.

By loving Jesus/God, by obeying Him and living by His word, you will already be doing what is best for your children and family. That's the idea. If you put your family before God, you could end up not worshipping God enough AND being a bad parent/relative. If you worship God correctly, you'll still end up doing what is right for your family as a consequence of loving and obeying God's word.

I don't believe any of this stuff. This is just how it was taught to us. Other chur he's interpret things in other ways.
 

Confused

New member
@ Confused ... so, you mean that even if the one spouse doesn't act on the feelings (for someone outside the marriage), s/he should still tell the other spouse, is that right? Keeping it a secret just wouldn't be as big of a transgression if the feelings weren't acted on? In other words, hiding acts is worse than hiding feelings, right?

For me personally, yes. Some people wish not to know if their partner has feelings for someone else and that's up to them. If you are hiding something you know your partner would want to know (or if you suspect they might make different decisions about your relationship if they did know) then I don't think it's ok.

We have a lot less control over our feelings than our behaviour so the hiding of the acts is worse for me because it's a double betrayal. You chose to do this thing, then chose to hide it. But acts can involve things like secretly chatting for hours online with someone and still be betrayals. It doesn't have to be physically touching someone.

My own personal standards for my own relationships :)
 

kdt26417

Official Greeter
Staff member
@ Confused ... sounds like the best approach is to ask you spouse/partner how much s/he would want you to tell him/her. I also take it that a lot depends on how much time you spend on the outside person. Calling them once every couple of days to chat for a minute is one thing, calling them multiple times a day for hours at a time is another thing. I guess it's a balancing act, deciding how much is too much?

@ bassman ... the LDS church has told poor people that they should pay their tithing even if it means their children will go hungry. The Lord will provide and all that. How's that for putting God in front of your family? and of all things, the church spends a huge chunk of its money on a mall in Salt Lake City. :mad:

@ MightyMax ... I'm a little jealous about your upbringing, it must be nice to be around a church that treats people right. I wonder if your perspective would be somewhat different if you had been raised in the clutches of a fundamental and/or cult-like church. Quite a few Mormons say that you can leave the church, but you can't leave the church alone. I guess there's some truth to that.
 

opalescent

Active member
'Not All Christians Are Like That'

I grew up around quite moderate Christians. The type that accepted homosexuals in their church as long as they didn't flaunt their relationship, or mention it. Everyone knew they were gay but it was not appropriate to talk about it in church. As I grew up around these types of Christians, I know that Christianity does not always involve oppression and hatred. I certainly wouldn't say it was a perfect religion by any means, but I have enough experience to say these sweeping generalizations are not accurate. It would be like me saying that all Christians are like those who I've been raised with. It's simply not the case.

@ MightyMax ... I'm a little jealous about your upbringing, it must be nice to be around a church that treats people right. I wonder if your perspective would be somewhat different if you had been raised in the clutches of a fundamental and/or cult-like church. Quite a few Mormons say that you can leave the church, but you can't leave the church alone. I guess there's some truth to that.

I just want to point out that MightMax's experiences growing up are not actually a church that treats people right, to quote kdt26417. That's still expecting and pushing people into a closet. That's informally but still confidently telling gay people they are lesser than others, to not talk about their lives openly because their lives are not as good as others, to hid their truths from the people close to them. Yes it is marginally better than being told from the pulpit that one is going to burn in hell but it's just a nicer version of hate. It's just a slightly roomier closet than one in a more honestly outright bigoted church. This kind of treatment is still homophobic. It's incredibly damaging to the LGBT folks who are in that environment - that damage is done silently and is not as perhaps as obvious but it's there and it's real. I also grew up in such a church and school and while I have generally fond memories of that church and school and an overall better experience with Christians than many of my friends, it was still a damaging environment for me.

It's true that Christianity and all Christians are not full of hate - if you define that as someone who is honest and open about their hatred of LGBT folk - but it is full of people who fail at opening their hearts and minds to different sexualities and genders because they don't want to hear or learn anything that challenges them. I think this might be a failing of authoritative religions in general but it is true of Christianity. If this is what it means to be a moderate Christian, that one nicely doesn't talk about hard subjects and subtly shames people to refrain from showing their true selves openly - and talking about those truths - well, that's no badge of honor. That's an utter failure made somewhat more palatable by being slightly less egregious than the openly bigoted.

P.S. The title refers to a Dan Savage saying that he gets lots of Christians telling him 'Not all Christians are like that' when he rants about some egregiously vicious thing someone from the radical right has done. He calls them "NALTs" and challenges them to stop bothering him and telling him something he already knows but to go challenge such attitudes in their churches, in the their denominations. This link is to an organization that works to do that http://www.notalllikethat.org/
 

AphroditeGoneAwry

New member
Hi there.

Just replying to your statement that Christianity...

" is full of people who fail at opening their hearts and minds to different sexualities and genders because they don't want to hear or learn anything that challenges them. " ~Quoting Opalescent

For me, mindedness is rooted in knowing what God wants by studying His word. The Bible is very clear that many of the LGBTs tenets are sin. So for a Christian to disagree with LGBT ideology means not that they are close-minded but that they are God-minded.

There is not term for 'close-minded' or 'open-minded' in the Bible. The Bible espouses one Truth for all. To be truly Christian means adhering to this one Truth. The rest are 'fools'.

However, the Great Commandment "Love your neighbor as yourself" means that we should not judge our neighbor, but practice tolerant love toward them, even when they are sinning.

~Selah
 
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