Anyone who’s known me for any amount of time (or who’s gone back and read my life story as told by this blog here – poor fool) can attest: I’ve always been aggressively independent, and have spent a large part of my waking hours thinking about the concept of individuality. For a long time, my focus was trying to balance the animalistic urge of individuality in me, with my faith. I wanted the two to join hands. After living some life though, I came to the realization that my faith was almost 100% based in fear. And– because I know some Evangelicals are yelling at their computer screens right now– IT WAS THE BAD KIND.
I don’t know what denomination those cows are supposed to be representing, but I’m not implying any denomination or even religion is responsible for my following fear through its winding maze of piety. It was all my own doing. My mind is amazing. All of our minds are. They can convince us of literally anything we want. And I convinced myself that it was my privilege to cultivate a beautiful balance in my life– of fear (faith) and power (individuality). By “power,” I’m referring to self-control; the act of assessing your life, deciding what you want, and engaging your will to achieve those goals. It’s a fruit of the Spirit. Just sprinkle some God in there. Cue Joel Osteen.
Sorry, couldn’t help it. Have I mentioned I am Meme Queen? I don’t care if someone’s already taken the title. I am it.
Anyway.. where was I.. oh yes, Romans 14. One of the more difficult chapters in the Bible. Here is the Carla Version:
Accept the dumb people, don’t judge them. You’re smart; you’ve decided that eating meat and animal products is totally okay, and vegans are idiots because they only eat plant products. Just because you know they’re idiots doesn’t mean you’re allowed to call them that. God accepts them. You get to judge for yourself, they get to judge for themselves, and the law of nature takes care of the rest.
Some people think you should go to church on Sunday, other people are like, “You’re crazy.” The point is – everyone should be making their own decisions. If you’re into church on Sunday, own that shit! If you’re a carnivorous beast, eat like a medieval lord at a pagan holiday banquet! If you’re a cud-chewing vegan monster, eat your vegetable products and dance around like a crazy person! Because, let’s get real: nobody’s actually doing this life thing without a conscience. We all want to be “doing the right thing.” So do it. And do it until you’re dead.
This is why Jesus lived, died, and lived again: so that He could offer salvation to the brontosauruses AND the giganotosauruses.
So why are you being all pretentious? You think other people should be accountable to you? No, no. Every single one of us is accountable to God, and God only. So ffs, can we just stop judging people already? Instead, let’s think about how we can love each other more, amiright??
Okay, so for instance – God and I had a chat the other day, and I decided that it’s totally okay for me to eat meat – but my friend Billy here (I don’t really have a friend named Billy, it’s just an example) had a talk with God too, and HE decided that it was NEVER going to be okay for him to eat meat. Does this mean I get to bowl Billy over with a leg of lamb for being a dumbass? Good lord, absolutely not. That would be so rude. And above everything, God is Love, so why would I step out of love to knock my [stupid] friend Billy over?
Basically, guys, righteousness is not in the details (that’s where the devil is), but in Love. So please, for the love of God, stop judging and arguing about shit, and get after the heart of God, which is a personal experience of love, and doesn’t go around telling other people what they should be feeling or thinking or doing.
So with all of that being said, I’m going to go ahead and say it again: MY conviction is that meat is good. BUT, that’s just my conviction. What’s objectively awful is if I were to gratuitously rip hunks of steaming hot flesh off a deep-fried turkey leg, two inches from poor Billy’s weeping face. Ugh! Seriously?! No!
(These next two sentences are verse 22, verbatim:) The faith which you have, have as your own conviction before God. Happy is he who does not condemn himself in what he approves.
This is what I’m going to be doing with “Bible Schmible,” by the way – my upcoming awesome profane podcast about my incredibly weird faith journey. Sound like fun? Anyway – I hope you enjoyed my translation. Please don’t be offended, but that’s kind of the point of all of this – I don’t actually care if you’re offended [anymore]. I used to sculpt my LIFE around making sure that I didn’t offend people. I had meltdowns when I found out that I had upset, disappointed, or was misunderstood by someone. My peace was rooted in that horrible, fickle, and ever-expanding subjectivity that is Other Peoples’ Religion.
So. What does all of this have to do with “Mrs?” A little bit. It’s what jogged this whole revelation to the surface of my mind. Y’see, over the past few years, I’ve been intentionally getting involved in things that I was raised to fear (I could make a list, but I think it would derail my train of thought), and I think my subconscious knew what I would discover.. because none of it’s been that surprising. But anyway, fear is still the automatic reaction I have to literally every controversy or disagreement that occurs in my life.
When I was trying to decide whether or not to change my last name, hackles were raised by warring factions on either side of me. I was caught in the middle, and both sides were grasping for me, weighing in, swatting and snarling at the other team. Omg, I was just totally overwhelmed. “Damned if you do, damned if you don’t” was how I felt. And in the end, I had to sit in front of God and tell Him, “I’m going to change my last name, and I think I’m convinced that it’s what I need to do, but please forgive me if I’m doing the wrong thing.” Ugh. Madness!! You want to my reasoning? Like, why I decided that I wanted to change my last name? Well, tough beans. That’s not the point.
Morality. Right and wrong. It’s all subjective. I’m using “Mrs” in front of my name as a business. Mrs Carla Bryant. I could (and I think I will, as soon as I’ve made my point) go into my reasons for why I made that choice, but I’m not out to change anyone’s mind, or sock anyone in the mouth with my conservative values. EVERYONE has their own agenda, bias, and perspective on life. You’ll notice that even the Apostle Paul did (did you notice how many times he called vegans “idiots?” jeez).
Anyway, I think the point is – be convinced, act in integrity, and fight fear with love.
Are you ready for my reasoning? Oh just hold on to your butts, because this is doing to blow your mind: http://www.carlabryant.com, http://www.cbryant.com, and http://www.carlambryant.com were all already taken. And who has the kind of money to purchase domain names from private entities??
Haha. Gotcha. But it’s for real the reason. I never even gave a thought to what it could be saying politically or subliminally. But since it’s been brought to my attention that it could be taken as literally anything other than a domain name choice, allow me to assuage your offense. Except, that may have offended you even more. Sigh. Oh well. The real point to this entire blog post is:
And I’m lit about it.
Okay, so let me address then the elephant in my room. If the point is to be convinced, act accordingly, and love (ie not be a bitch about it), what if the very act of writing this blog is unloving? I mean, I’m imagining Billy, at this point, saying, “Carla! Using “Mrs” is figuratively punching me in the face, because you’re impeding the evolution of civilized humankind, and that hurts me!” And I guess this is where the rubber meets the road, because I do care, as much as I’m able, about gender equality and feminism and all that shit. But “Mrs,” to me, doesn’t go against that. And if it does for you, I’m going to have to pull a Paul here and say, Gosh, heck, dang, #sorrynotsorry. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ I’m convinced this way, you’re convinced that way, so if we’re going to get coffee, let’s focus on something else, shall we?
All right, I think my blog for this week is done.
3 thoughts on “Honorific Titles and Individuality”
I kept being afraid that you were going to say something that would hurt my feelings, but you never did. (Aside from using the 4-letter words that I did my best to discourage all my children from saying, to no avail. Oh, well.)
Almost everyone I have known who has made this change that you’re making (or has tried to make it) has communicated it in halting, ugly ways. There was the friend who got tired to always saying “yes” and who answered my innocent request to do something for me with a defiant, no-explanation-included, “No.” Ouch! That hurt.
It’s so nice to be able to make changes like you’re making and LOVE at the same time. Being secure in the rightness of what you’re doing, so that you don’t challenge Billy or your mother with words that sting. Bravo.
This is awesome. Best scriptural paraphrase ever.
Well done my most beautiful daughter-in-kaw!!! Hope we will get the opportunity to chat about your blog in the near future. You are amazing!! Love you dearly!! KB