So I’m vaguely acquainted with a very intelligent guy who works at this coffee shop and happens to be an Orthodox Christian and pretty conservative in his views. I kind of got to know him before I realized he was so conservative.
He doesn’t hate me because I’m not Christian, but I wonder, does he think I will go to Hell as he hands me my coffee?
And anyways, does it matter that he might think these things in the back of his mind and treat me with complete respect to my face. But then what does the word ‘respect’ mean?
And how much do I judge him for believing his way is the only way. But we have these amazing conversations about politics and history and I can’t just dismiss him as someone I don’t want to associate with. Even though if it came down to it, and we were in some kind of civil war between Christians and Non-Christians and they were coming after me with knives, would he hide me in his basement?
That’s the test isn’t it? That’s what happened during the Holocaust and the Partition of India and Pakistan. People were being persecuted for their religious beliefs and ‘enemies’ were hiding each other in their homes and saving each other’s lives because after all, even if you were a Christian who believed the Jews hiding in your attic were going to Hell, you knew there was something more Hellish about religious persecution.
My friend at the Coffee Shop doesn’t hate homosexuals; he just doesn’t like to think about them. He wishes his female neighbor would stop hitting on his girlfriend and telling her she’s missing out on something profound by not copulating with her.
I happen to be straight, and I don’t hate straight men but I wish many of them would stop harassing women to go to bed with them. Am I that different than this guy at the coffee shop? I don’t necessary like the idea of polygamy, but I don’t hate people who are doing it.
See I think I hate polygamy for the right reasons, because women are usually being treated badly, or so I assume, in these circumstances. But what I do I know about the love of sisterhood that these women who share a husband have? What does this guy at the café know about love between two men?
Is it better to just not think about the things that you are uncomfortable with? Or is better to confront them in your mind before you are confronted with them in life? This guy working at the Café just wishes Homosexuals would stop shoving it in his face.
I wish the conservative right would stop shoving Jesus in my face. I’m delighted when someone even knows the name of my religion, but they don’t even know that I’ve studied their Bible in school, written papers on it. Compared other texts to it, accepted that it is what this society I live is based on.
So how do we peacefully coexist with people who have different beliefs than us in times of relative peace? I guess it begs the question, what is peace? If homosexuals can’t get married in most states, is that peace? If young girls are raped and then forced into marriage in polygamous societies, is that peace? Just ‘cause this Orthodox Christian guy smiles at me politely and asks me how my day was, should I trust him to not spit in my coffee?
I think it all comes down to this strange notion of intuition. They tell women to always trust their intuition around men, and if they feel unsafe, they should trust that feeling. I think this guy who works at my hangout and once lived in a Monastery has a good heart. I feel like he’s good people.
I don’t know if he would always do the right thing when it comes to respecting those who are different than him but he has not offended me thus far. And that’s as far as I’ll go right now. I’ll converse with this complete stranger who says it’s so amazing that in coffee shops meet who would never otherwise meet. He says coffee shops should be in every neighborhood in America.
Later, we will agree to disagree.