Sometimes, Y’all it is helpful to write raw, get it down & push it out there.  Usually, when I take part in Heather of the EO’s Just Write’s it’s about the mundane of life so no one gives a flip.  Ahh, but yesterday I manage to cull together my racism, my anger towards toxic, angry white feminist, middle class women, Dave Ramsey, wealth, the poor & prolly a few other things too.

Perhaps, that post could have been sat on for a day or two.  Edited, etc.  Perhaps.  I’m torn about it because I didn’t say anything -in hind sight- that I disagree with today.  It’s that the emotions were so IN-YO-FACE it’s hard to pull out the good.

Since I am calm and cozy today with Rhysie snuggled under my arm I thought I’d give some clarifications that may be helpful…

1. Honest to blog, I didn’t know about Rachel Held Evans’ CNN post RE: Dave Ramsey until late last night when a friend texted me, “how did RHE respond to your post since she started this dialogue?”  My post was in no way a back-handed dis of RHE.  I would never do that.  I would have linked to her post if I was calling out that post, but as it stands I didn’t even know about it.

2. After my post went up Micah texted me that he reconciled with the woman on Twitter who had triggered the response in me. I was glad to hear that.  Know this though: what she did, that she later apologized for was a tip of the iceberg moment for me.  It wasn’t merely her that inspired that post –I’m not that crazy. It was all of the interactions on Twitter for the past two years that I’ve seen of angry, white, feminist, women that have appalled me.  Her one tweet simply pushed me over the edge.  I am extremely happy to know she & Micah pursued reconciliation.

3.  I am grateful for angry, white, feminist women.  They give a voice to the powerless & care for vulnerable populations which directly at the center of my core life mission & beliefs.

4. I am grateful that angry, white, feminist women have found a voice and a community through the joint mission of feminism.  That’s important & it’s key for social change.  And who doesn’t need community?  Who doesn’t need partners in crime?

5. I, Grace Biskie am NEVA EVA EVA EVA allowed to spew hate, or mean judge-y, rage-y racism without rebuke or correction.  My post was not my space to be a bitch about angry, white, feminist women. If it were, it would be unacceptable to me.  None of us who claim to follow Jesus are allowed to sit in our anger until it festers into hate and rage and demeaning actions.  No. No. No. No.

My post was -as I stated- an off the cuff hastily written diatribe about how one chick on Twitter angered me, toxic, angry Feminists anger me, Christians trying to take down Dave Ramsey angered me, racism angered me & even I, anger me.  As I stated, I keep bringing it to God & inviting Jesus into my confusion because I, Grace Biskie am not allowed to walk around as a functioning racist and feminism hater.  That makes me no sense, as a Jesus follower it stands in direct opposition to Jesus’ teachings.  Yes, the post was a challenge post, but it was also a CONFESSIONAL post.  I am screwed up, y’all.  On that issue, I’ve never claimed to be anything different.

6.  In the same way, I expect that any self-described angry, white, feminist woman who claims to follow Jesus would follow those same principles.  Yes, be angry about injustice, lies, etc. but don’t justify it with, “I’m an angry white feminist & I have a voice.”  That sentiment is what I’ve seen over and over again which has piled anger on top of anger for the past couple of years.  To be fair, I’ve seen that response in general not amongst Christian Feminists per se.

However, what’s been disheartening is seeing more and more Christian feminists take on that response, as if being a feminist gives license to be unhelpful, toxic or mean.  No.  I’m sorry.  No one who claims to follow Jesus gets to “use their voice” or platform without accountability. That’s crazy talk.  If I ever start losing my mind and being hateful to people shut my ass down.  I don’t deserve a platform if I can’t love people.  I believe Paul called that “a banging gong.”

7. OF COURSE I don’t agree with everything Dave Ramsey says, but I have also learned this secret of adulthood: EAT THE MEAT & SPIT OUT THE BONES.  Dave is doing so much good in the world for so many people I simply cannot see trying to take him down or unhelpfully compare him to prosperity preachers who are -by comparison- being SO destructive for SO many.  To my core, that comparison HURTS me so much.

Again, Dave (Biskie) & I spent YEARS working with black college students, many of which who were MARRED, BROKEN & SPIT-OUT by prosperity teachings.  If those same students had been following financial principles Dave Ramsey teaches they would have been in such a different place both financially & spiritually. Prosperity preaching is DESTRUCTIVE AND EVIL and an affront to MY GOD.  And if anyone compares Dave Ramsey to another prosperity preacher again, I will have more to say.

Check out the comment section of yesterday’s post.  My husband Dave (Davidicus) wrote a lengthy response on the difference between the teachings.  He studied the prosperity gospel in depth to be able to handle all the students we were dealing with living under the weight of it.

8. There is a big difference between the prosperity gospel and wealth teaching (ala Suze Orman, Dave Ramsey). Maybe a post for a different day.

9.  Lots of people in the world have weird and horrible ideas about the poor.  Lots of middle to upper class Americans have HORRIBLE, GOD-AWFUL ideas about the poor and why they got there.  Lots of Americans are angry about food stamps and universal health care.  Lots of Americans PISS ME OFF because of how they view the poor and why the poor stay poor, etc.

But, here’s the thing: those folks are misguided and yet do very little about it or even know poor people.  Dave Ramsey is actually trying to do EVERYTHING HE CAN to address this.  Do you seriously want to take down the man WHO IS ACTUALLY TRYING TO HELP POOR PEOPLE? That, makes NO flipping sense to me.  None.  And who can say besides Dave himself what his views on the poor are?  Even if we knew, he’s still actively working to deliver folks from the bondage of an unhealthy relationship to money.  Again, eat the meat and spit out the bones.

*****(Edited to add: PLEASE READ my friend & former InterVarsity colleague, Joshua Settles response to my response to Rachel’s response to Dave’s response to his initial article. Joshua was able to articulate what I cannot about why Dave R. empowers the poor.)*****

10.  Dave Ramsey found my post yesterday & PM’ed me that he read my blog for over an hour & to “keep writing, never stop” & that if we were ever in Nashville he’d like to meet my husband & I.  It MADE MY WHOLE DAY but not for reasons you may assume.  Yes, I was star struck.  Yes, Dave R. has helped Dave B. & I tremendously.  Obviously I respect him a great deal.

But, in part I am always grateful when any white man uses their influence or platform to encourage or lift me up.  I am keenly aware of the privilege of white men and when they use it to build up, affirm and encourage black women (or other minorities) it works.  White men, y’all really do have a lot of power, a lot of influence, a lot of ability to speak life and hope into people.  Never believe I got here (wherever “here” is) without the advocacy of white men.  It’s an ugly, hard, true truth.  The only other “celebrity” in the world that comment would have meant more coming from to me is Obama.  I digress.

11.  Sometimes a soothing, loving Vox discussion with Sarah Bessey who literally WROTE THE BOOK on Jesus Feminism soothes all things.  She gave me such wisdom on how to handle my anger, how to deal with my own emotions towards toxic, angry feminists & a myriad of other healthy, Jesus-honoring responses.  Her hope, her love, her perspective on all this is so inspiring, it is so worthy of admiration.  She consistently calls me to be better, live better, think better.  I love her.  I’m so thankful God brought her into my life through these crazy interwebs.

12.  A LOT of people -black & white- PM’ed me a lot of different responses agreeing with my post.  I only heard from two friends, privately, who took issue.  I say this to say, please leave me a comment if you disagree.  I’m not an unapproachable person. I may have communicated that. I’m sorry.  The fact is, I’d love to dialogue in a healthy way.

Yesterday was the biggest day my blog has ever had yet I had very few twitter @mentions or FB tags, which made me think there was LOTS of conversations happening behind the scenes.  I am very tempted to say, “see! see!” and make this prove a point about how I can’t  begin to trust white feminists if they are not willing to converse with me.

After I wrote a post for A Deeper Story last year about why I’m not a Feminist I snooped around and later found about 5 conversations happening on various FB blog pages without just bringing their issues to me via comments. I wasn’t angry about that as much as I was hurt.  Why not just go straight to the source & seek clarification?  In any case, this is my invitation -again- to ask your questions, don’t be afraid of me.  Don’t let the media make me into the “the angry black woman”caricature.  Just as I’m trying -TRYING- to not let a caricaturized “angry, white feminist” crystallize in my brain.

13. I still have hope for blacks & whites.

14. I still love Jesus.

15. I still believe in reconciliation.

16. I’m still here. Still willing to dialogue. Learn. Be challenged.

17.  I’m angry about injustice & mistreatment of women & the poor too.

18. I hope we can learn together how to deal with our world’s most vulnerable populations.  I hope Dave Ramsey can become a great advocate, partner & friend in that journey.

19.  I’m thankful for all of my advocates and friends.

Hope you all have a fantastic day.

Later gators,

 

 

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  • http://www.leighkramer.com/ Leigh Kramer

    This is a good follow up, Grace. I’m a firm believer that there are times we need to write the raw post and let it stand without caveats- we need people to understand and feel our emotion. And then we can take a step back and examine the response and whether we accurately conveyed what we think and feel. I’m very intrigued by the notion that there’s a difference between prosperity gospel and wealth teaching, as they pretty much look the same to me. I hope you’ll write more about that sometime.

  • http://www.seeprestonblog.com Preston Yancey

    Grace, I admit I mostly lurk on your blog. (I actually mostly lurk on all blogs this season.) I read your post yesterday and disagreed with you on some points, but I didn’t share it and I didn’t talk to anyone really about it. I just didn’t have the energy to respond.

    I was one of the people who wrote a response post and Dave even engaged me on Twitter because of it. When I asked him to press into the theology, he disengaged, and when I invited him to have a proper public discussion about it, he didn’t reply. I don’t happen to agree with a lot of his financial perspective, frankly, but I was careful to address specifically the theological implications of what he said. That wasn’t personal attack and it wasn’t character assault. It was a steady and even-handed public discourse because he had closed comments on the post and there was no other way to engage him.

    So why didn’t I share this yesterday? Because I’m tired. I don’t always have the energy to walk over and re-explain everything that happened. If you want honesty, here it is: I’ve already had to explain it to about twenty people. I just don’t give a shit anymore. I’m done explaining it. I count you as a friend, but I didn’t have the emotional or mental space to rewrite another explanation about disagreeing with theology is not the same as disagreeing with a person fundamentally.

    I’m not sure about a lot of the other stuff you mention, because I’m not exactly convinced the two are related. I don’t think of myself as angry. I have moments, but on the whole not. I am wary of calling myself a feminist outright, but I do believe in Jesus Feminism, for sure, and don’t struggle with that. Relating that to the Dave Ramsey thing, though, felt like a stretch. There were a lot of emotions in your post–which is fine, of course–but it meant that I felt like I could just talk about Ramsey because it was all tangled with everything else that had happened, a lot of which I had no knowledge of.

    I appreciate that Dave has been significant to you, but my own critique was about the flippancy he expressed using statistics that are clearly unfounded by a guy who only “surveyed” 128 people. I don’t struggle with hard words, but I struggle with flippant hard words. His were. And his response was impressibly without grace.

    I didn’t reply yesterday because it feels like some of this conversation has gone on too long and that he has no interested in engaging people who take his words seriously enough to push back. It feels like we’re doing a lot of talking around him, not to him, and so I’ve pretty much disengaged altogether. So I didn’t reply. I didn’t feel I had anything constructive to say, outside of re-explaining everything that had happened, and that felt belittling to your real concerns.

    • abbyannette

      Preston – what a tiny tiny world. I’ve been reading Grace and others posts lurking myself, saw your comment and then saw you work with Clark Lowenfield – the pastor of my parents and my childhood. Please tell him hello for me (Abby Wambaugh)!

      My advice, if I can give any, take a little break if you’re tired, but come back. The internet, and all of us, need voices. Voices seeking truth.

    • pastordt

      Thank you, Preston, for saying what I felt as I read this yesterday. I felt overwhelmed by the overlay, all.the.things. And I felt like there was no room to disagree with you about Ramsey (which I do) or to disagree with you about the Jesus version of feminism (which yesterday’s words felt like and today’s make me wonder). I am grateful for your voice, Grace. But yesterday’s anger was a bit scary to me. I am white. I am female. I am upper middle class, and though I don’t use the term ‘feminist’ often, I am grateful for what that movement , in its historic context , has accomplished, and I am most definitely a Jesus feminist. And I did not talk about this with a soul – so please don’t assume that was happening, okay?

  • mindylou213

    Thanks for writing Grace. And not just this post or yesterday’s, but for writing in general. I so appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. I appreciate that you realize you don’t have it all together, but you’re willing to get out there and say things–always open to dialogue, criticism (when it’s helpful and constructive) and correction. I am passionate about a lot of things, and have a desire to have passionate, respectful, real conversation with people who agree or disagree with me. I haven’t yet figured out how to do anything with all that passion and that particular desire, but you’re an inspiration for me to keep trying to figure it out.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Thank you for seeing that & acknowledging and hearing me and affirming and being here and being a friend. Basically, thank you for ALL THE THINGS. =)

  • http://somuchshoutingsomuchlaughter.com/ suzannah | the smitten word

    i’ll bite. i found your post yesterday to be profoundly frustrating. i appreciate and share your desire for accountability and for treating each other with love. but i’m confused, too, because it seemed like you were saying that a few good white guys were somehow exempt from accountability, and you unloaded a whole load of anger yourself to indict other women for theirs.

    i think it’s hard because perception is always in the eye of the beholder, and our own experiences, relationships, and personalities frequently color whether we read someone as passionate or toxic, strong or strident. all i know is that i try to play fair and follow jesus, and i still sometimes get read as a bitch for being direct or having an opinion.

  • http://rachelheldevans.com Rachel Held Evans

    Thanks for writing this, Grace. I was super confused yesterday because, though I’d written a response to Ramsey on CNN, I was totally out of the loop on the drama around Micah, so I was like, “Wait. Did I do something mean to Micah?!” Ha! So confusing. I think this is why it actually helps to be specific when offering pushback. Sure, it will be construed by some as an “attack,” but it helps cut down on generalizations, straw-men, confusion, and passive-aggressiveness.

    I have no doubt Dave Ramsey helps a lot of people. As I said in my article, he’s helped many of my friends. I just think some of his statements about poverty and the Bible are inaccurate generalities that are common enough to address and offer an alternative. My biggest concerns were with his specific (and quoted) statement that 1) systemic inequities are only present in the “third world” and do not affect poverty in the U.S., 2) that the wealth in the U.S. is a direct result of it being founded on “biblical principles,” and 3) that “there is a direct correlation between your character in Christ…and your propensity to build wealth.” I just don’t see these statements fitting with my understanding of Jesus’ teachings on wealth and on what we know about poverty – which is far too complex to boil down to total personal responsibility on the one hand or total systemic injustice on the other.

    It’s been a little frustrating to see these critiques, which I think are fair, be entirely dismissed by Ramsey supporters who interpret them as a personal attack.

    I just think we have to be very careful of assuming that wealth is God’s reward for good behavior.

  • http://www.bethanysuckrow.com/ Bethany Suckrow

    Thanks for this follow up response, Grace. I did not realize Davidicus was your hubs when we were commenting back and forth to each other yesterday – *waves hi enthusiastically to my fellow Charlotte, MI homie!*

    Annnnnyway, I do want to say what I didn’t really yesterday, that while we may disagree on this issue, I still love how you put your heart out here in the internets for us, how you deal with your ideas and rage and passion out in the open when so many others (myself included) try to deal with it where people can’t see it or judge it or comment on it or engage it. It’s so challenging to me. I love you for that.

    But to go back to my comments yesterday, and to Leigh Kramer’s comment on this post, it would be really helpful for you to elaborate more on the difference between prosperity gospel and wealth teachings. I think you make a great point about eating the meat and spitting the bones, but honestly, with everything Dave Ramsey has said and done recently, I can’t tell the difference anymore. I think our critiques deserve valid, in-depth engagement, but every conversation I’ve had about it leads to the same thing with.out.fail. Most of my friends and family who have been helped by Ramsey’s FPU defend him voraciously, even his original post about rich vs. poor (with the woefully under-researched stats, as Preston pointed out). And every time, their defenses always lead to the same narrative of disdain for the poor and middle class “pulled myself up by my bootstraps” triumph. Ramsey’s following is vast and loyal, and when he posts things like this, people in my very own circles are using it to validate their uncharitable, often classist and racist attitudes towards the poor. They make comments about people that live on welfare and food stamps.

    Obviously, I understand that you’re not trying to do that here. You believe the opposite! It’s what you’re building your life and your ministry on! But when I engage the issue and get angry about this whole Dave Ramsey thing, it’s because this is the circular, harmful reasoning that is happening in my (mostly white, middle class, conservative evangelical) community – in my family, in my church, in my workplace, in my circle of friends. They believe that Dave Ramsey is saying that the poor are the authors of their own misfortunes, and that they themselves are somehow more Christlike for their middle class prosperity. It’s a total cop-out for them to ignore the rest of Scripture. I HAVE to critically engage that, sometimes with anger and frustration.

  • h00die_R

    Hi Grace!

    Thank you for commenting on my post yesterday. Honestly, I believe in everyone’s right to be angry, cuz that’s just how I roll, so I really don’t judge posts/articles by their tone. Stepping aside the Dave Ramsey portion, I disagreed with your post yesterday when it came to white feminists who “can get away with saying/doing” what they want bit. Sure, I’m a black male, and into race critiques, but I have noticed the backlash by men mostly when feminists try to attempt anything positive/constructive. One example is the story of Anita Saarkeesian, a very recent story, who was going to do a series on Tropes v Women in video games, and she ended up being harassed, having threats of rape vs. her, etc. That’s just one of a number of examples.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Yeah, there’s def push back in all sorts of ways, and I agree with you as well. I HATE when men get all snarky when women or feminists try to attempt constructive and positive conversation and change. What I don’t like is when *anyone* says they can or should be able to get away with hate in the name of Feminism (or ____ or _____ or being black, poor, or whatever). There’s no excuse for that….as those who claim to follow Jesus who is all about reconciliation between ALL things. I don’t let myself get away with that ish. That doesn’t mean I don’t get angry, but I don’t justify it underneath my complexities. Anyway, I hear you though… and thanks for being and giving words of wisdom on the interwebs. Your words/thoughts are much appreciated.

  • Lola

    Honestly, I was most offended by your repeated use of the N word. It was jarring. I’m a black female so I get the black people can use it thing. The added point that you were using it to defend a white guy was just too much. Can white people use it if they’re talking about loyalty too? Good grief. I get that you were angry, but geez. You’re talking about God, Jesus, Dave Ramsey, Joel Osteen, and niggas. I have no way of knowing this, maybe you don’t either, but is the readership of your blog majority white? Just wondering. Anyway, you asked for comments. so here’s mine. I agreed mostly with the posts disagreeing Dave Ramsey although I’m sure he’s helped people. I think his ideologies about the poor and people in dire financial straits are simplistic. My family was comfortably middle class, had savings, saved money, etc. After a series of unfortunate events, we found ourselves eligible for government assistance. The savings that we dutifuly had was depleted. The savings served its purpose, it was the rainy day fund. However our drought lasted much longer than the fund. For a serious length of time, we did not have health insurance because my father did not have continuous employment. I watched him apply for all kinds of job. He couldn’t get hired at the grocery store because he was overqualified. You can’t hire cashiers with masters degrees. Anyway, I have strong words for people who don’t think everyone should have health insurance. That’s another post. But we all know how Dave Ramsey feels about Obamacare. I started reading you recently. I appreciate your posts, but this one was a bit much for me.

    • http://www.gracebiskie.com/ Grace Biskie

      Lola, thank you for your honest feedback. It was a lot… and I think it’s entirely normal and okay that blacks across the U.S. (and globally) feel really differently about the word, nigga. I’m okaying to agree to disagree on it’s use. Because I used to work for a National ministry serving black college students many of the staff from across the U.S. & some islands had amazingly good convo’s / debates about it’s use… ultimately, I’ve chosen to use it, albeit sparingly, but occasionally. Whether or not it’s appropriate for whites to say at all if ever is an entirely different issue. // I hear you on your Dave R. issues… some of his views are hard, very tough to swallow…I would still like to give him adequate respect for all that’s done for folks financially even though his views are far from ideal, he still has done a lot of good. I guess I’m just afraid all of that will be thrown out by a few bloggers angry enough to publicly malign him. Yet, I realize this is all very complex. Underneath my angry anger fest was someone desperately wanting to see the poor cared for in every way through folks like Dave Ramsey and Obamacare and gov.’t services, etc. Anyway, thank you so much for leaving your opinion. I truly do value it!

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