Let’s play “Gee, Ain’t It Awful!” — It’s US vs. THEM!

“Gee, Ain’t It Awful” is one of the games listed by Eric Berne in his book, The Games People Play (1964).  The version I’ve seen most goes like this:

 Isn’t it just awful! The divorce rate is 50%!

Oh, just look at that outfit!!!It’s just awful the way those people dress. They must just TRY to be ugly.

Well, you know how those Catholics are….they live like hell all week and confess on Sunday! It’s just awful.

Well, you know how those AG and Foursquare people are….they wave their arms, and dance and carry on like Fiji Islanders!  Just awful.

Well, you know how LUKEWARM all those mainstream church people are.  JESUS says that’s just awful.

Those Muslims are ALL a bunch of murderous fanatics….just awful!

Those awful atheists! It’s just awful how they complain about God.

I think it’s awful how Pastor has switched from the Hymnal to a PROJECTOR!!!

Isn’t it AWFUL how those UNBELIEVERS just REFUSE to accept God and His Word! And how they say RELIGION is a dirty word! Awful!

It’s US vs. THEM.

Which makes it important to be RIGHT (sing…My God is better than your God, my view is better than yours!)

Which makes US better than THEM (more knowledgeable, insightful, CLOSER TO GOD!)

Which becomes US bearing TRUTH that we must impart to THEM.

Which creates DOGMATISM and CONTROL.



If you want to get really judgmental…..it is sin.

I am really, REALLY, R E A L L Y tired of some Christians, with wide gaping mouths, who speak absolute trash as if they were the Oracles of God. Not because it is my right to return their “righteous indignation.” Because it HURTS PEOPLE. It pushes them farther from faith in a God they can trust to love them, care for them, be patient with them while they deal with the suffering of life, and who might even SAVE them. It ADDS to suffering, and isolation, and FEAR. It is love of DRAMA, not love of God or of people. It is defense of ego, at the expense of unity.

I know they have their own hurts and illusions which motivate this behavior. I’ve done it too. But PLEASE, let’s educate and support one another so we can do much better! Christian or non-Christian, there is no law against learning to be more effective AND more kind.

Sounds kind of like I’m trying to persuade you to switch to MY team, doesn’t it?  (I have to laugh!)

We hang with others “of our own kind” for a variety of reasons, among which are comfort and support, as in “fellowship of believers.” But when we only hear one another’s voices, opinions, testimonies, life experiences – all through the same filter or paradigm, our thoughts become inbred, probably magnifying the strengths we cultivate, but also weaknesses we don’t.  We are protected from negative thoughts (theoretically) but also from really good information from others. We reinforce each other’s errors in logic; we play the game.

What I advocate is refusing to play.

So I’m listening to different “kinds”. And the “some Christians” a few paragraphs above? The ones with the “gaping mouths.” Sorry, I have to laugh again – at myself.  I hearby renounce my intensity and reaffirm my respect.

I’m not an US or a THEM, if I can help it. I’m just ME. And I’m listening for God/the universe. And for the first time in decades I can accept that maybe I don’t  have to reconcile the “merciful, but JUST…REALLY JUST, potentially angry and punishing” God I have perceived Him to be. Maybe I don’t have to reconcile confusing scriptures. Maybe I can BE, be open, and learn something new from the One Who knows.

A couple of refreshing posts by Judy whose blog is Connecting Dots….to God:

http://wp.me/p1xX5U-1cm  Would You Vote for Jesus?

http://wp.me/p1xX5U-1cL   Would You Still Vote for Jesus?

I welcome your comments.


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17 thoughts on “Let’s play “Gee, Ain’t It Awful!” — It’s US vs. THEM!

  1. Lady Quixote December 30, 2012 at 8:27 pm Reply

    Well…. I am….. feeling like I have been rocked to the very core of my being. “Meeting” Denise Hisey and her amazing blog, and now you and your blog, all on the same day! Amazing.

    Your heart’s cry was my heart’s cry, for so many long, hard, confusing, and lonely years. And I have also said, a number of times in the past, that I am not a bigot — except against bigots. How magnanimous, indeed.

    The road you are on can be very hard and scary, but also very exciting. Seek, and you shall find. And, what you find… that is to say, what I have found, and what I am continuing to find, is just truly mind-blowing.

    Today I’ve been reading a book called WHEN LIFE ISN’T FAIR, by Joel Freeman. Yesterday I finished reading a book called A MILLION MILES IN A THOUSAND YEARS, by Donald Miller. I have loved to read since I was a little girl, but lately, within the past couple of months or so, I have been almost speed-reading my way through scores of books in a quest for greater healing and deeper truths, for my family and myself. Don Miller’s “Million Miles” book is a new favorite. I want to read it like a bedtime story to my adult children and my granddaughters, one who is in her second year of college, and the other who is expecting my first great-grandchild in less than 2 months.

    Freeman’s book about Life not being Fair that I’m reading now, is excellent, too. He writes as a Christian Pastor who almost lost his faith due to life’s “unfairness,” and the many questions we have along the lines of: How can a good, loving, all-powerful, and all-knowing Creator God allow This, and This, and This, terrible “unfair” thing. Yes, it’s an honest and enlightening book, what I’ve read of it so far, that is.

    Of the many literally hundreds of books I’ve read in my life time, probably my very favorite is MAN’S SEARCH FOR MEANING, written by Nazi Concentration Camp survivor Viktor E. Frankl, MD, PhD. And then there is another new all-time favorite book of mine, which gets right to the very meat of the questions you pose in this post, regarding the Us vs Them mentality that we are all prey to, in one form or another. That brilliant book is entitled MISTAKES WERE MADE (but Not by me). The authors are 2 brilliant social psychologists, Carol Tavris, and Elliiot Aronson. Their book explains everything, about everyone. I’m serious. I really wish it were required reading for every student, every job applicant, for anyone who applies for a marriage license or a driver’s license or any other kind of a license, certainly every politician needs to read it ASAP, and definitely every parent or parent-to-be — it’s that good, in my opinion.

    My dad was a minister of a small non-denominational Pentecostal \-Fundamentalist-type church. Very anti-Catholic, he was, very anti-everyone and everything who did not believe and behave like him. But when I was 12 my father had a terrifying violent breakdown, was arrested, hospitalized, and then diagnosed with schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder. The stranger who resided in my dad’s skin after that left our family, left the ministry, and became a Buddhist. When he died 22 years later, he was in the process of becoming a Catholic.

    So, my faith and spiritual beliefs have also taken quite a beating in life. I had the greatest faith as a child, then I lost my faith when my parents lost theirs, I found it again when I was going through a very hard trial in my early 20s and needed to believe in God again. But then I married the guy the church elders told me it was God’s will for me to marry, and wow what a nightmare from hell that marriage was. Meanwhile, I got a job working in a lowly capacity in the Pat Robertson-700 Club ministry in the 1980s, shortly before Mr. Robertson made the sudden decision to run for President. He announced this at our staff meeting, before announcing it to the world. He said that God had told him to run. Then he asked if anyone had any questions, and one brave soul asked whether God had told him if he would win or not? Said Pat, “Well let me put it this way, God does not back losers.:

    Ahem. And while Pat was making his bid for the white house, the Jim and Tammy Faye Baker PTL thing blew up, then the Jimmy Swaggart TV ministry bit the dust, then the money from our supporters dried up, and more than half of us were laid off, amid much crying and gnashing of teeth, and THEN our beleaguered department head told us to lie. That’s right, to lie. And when I said we needed to keep our act clean and trust God more than ever through the trials, she invited me to quit, and so I did.

    And right after that was when my dad died, and my marriage went completely to pieces, and my then-13-year-old daughter witnessed a murder and was threatened by the killer and…. I gave up on God for years. For decades. One reason being, that I had been diligently reading through the Bible from cover to cover, reading it to my children, I read it that way about 5 or more times straight through, and the more, I read the more perplexed I became. I was in my mid-30s, then, ripe for a doozy of a midlife crises.

    After a long hard rocky road living proclaiming myself to be an agnostic and living my life according to what “seemed right in my own eyes,” I was brought to the end of my rope again, and then, through a series of events that I now believe were God-directed, I once again became a Christian believer in March 2003, a few weeks before my big 5-0 birthday. Now, in the blink of an eye, here I am almost 10 years later, looking at turning 60, and my first great grandchild is due in February, yet I still feel like a very young girl on the inside — and my spiritual journey is still by no means not a “normal” one, if there is such a thing! But WOW, it is amazing! Today, I believe far more than I doubt. Today, I am grateful far more than I am discontented. Today, despite all of the problems and ups and downs and craziness of my life, I would not trade my life for that of anyone else in the world.

    Today, I believe that God is, that God is Love, and that Love is Kind and Good. Today, that’s enough for me to know. I don’t need to know anything else, but Christ, and Him crucified, for it to be well with my soul.

    Lady Q

    • ranthegauntlet December 30, 2012 at 10:36 pm Reply

      Lady Q:

      Wow…what a comment! You have seen it all from every angle and up close! And to have seen all the hypocrisy and abuse, and had your faith crises and to have such joy and faith now is so inspiring. I want to know how you think about this so that you have found this peace after all that. I’ll be reading.



    • ranthegauntlet January 6, 2013 at 7:51 pm Reply

      Lady Q –
      I just read through all of this again. Whew! I will read the books you suggested…like you, I am absorbing all I can. Your life story. I have no words, but a million questions. Like your father’s path with respect to his mental illness and how he went from narrow fundamentalist to Buddhist to Catholic. I suspect my daughters lost their faith when I did – like you did when your parents lost theirs. I’m glad you had the chutzpah to not lie when asked. ARrrrgh! I so understand the reading the Bible over and over and becoming more perplexed. The series of events that led you back to faith and re-conversion!

      But the hope you express!! That you feel like a girl on the inside, experience gratitude and more faith than doubt. That you wouldn’t trade your life for anyone else’s. Oh, I want that. Thank you again for your marvelous comment. I have to come back to it a few times – there is so much there. Feel free to e-mail me: ranthegauntlet@gmail.com.


    • ranthegauntlet January 7, 2013 at 8:58 am Reply

      Thanks! Hope the move goes well!!

  2. Denise Hisey December 30, 2012 at 1:25 pm Reply

    As always, Diane, you make me think outside the box!
    Thank you for that!

    • ranthegauntlet December 30, 2012 at 5:12 pm Reply

      Thank you, Denise.

      Blessings, blessings!!


  3. Planting Potatoes December 29, 2012 at 8:26 am Reply

    Well written……! Your words convict me….I am beginning to see that God didn’t send any of us into this world so that we may compete with anyone else and that he also sent into this world. I guess that’s why he told us to love our enemies and why Jesus hugged lepers before he healed them….there is not one person in this world that doesn’t need forgiveness…but that doesn’t make any of us better than others…no matter how much forgiveness they may need..comparing ourselves to others or this world only takes us farther away from the only one who can save us! thank you so much for sharing!

    • ranthegauntlet December 29, 2012 at 12:08 pm Reply

      Hello, P.P. (is it Mark?):

      Thank you commenting – I enjoyed visiting your blog as well. Bless you for being open to other’s words, and adding kind words of your own. If you think of it, the first thing Adam and Eve did when they first sinned was to feel inadequate and find a way to cover it up, which may be the part of why we (people in general) tend to negative competion. I never thought of Jesus hugging lepers, but what a great example. Nothing to fear, and if there is, the love is more important.



      • Planting Potatoes December 29, 2012 at 6:41 pm Reply

        Exactly…! I love the comparison to Adam and Eve….! Perhaps the first example of negative competition came when Cain killed Able because he felt inadequate….looking forward to more reading at your blog!

  4. Darius December 26, 2012 at 11:45 am Reply

    It is impossible to be in any religion, even in one of your own construction and not have something you believe in. Many people these days believe in acceptance of others opinions so they are against people who believe in what they believe in to the rejection of all other beliefs. Coincidentally this is the view Christ had.

    He said, I am THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE… that’s one of the main reasons they crucified Him. He would not go along with the religious order of the day. He in fact decried them and labeled them as hypocrites.

    Yet, no one was more loving or compassionate than Jesus, who forgave those who put on the cross and those who yet mocked and jeered at Him saying, “Father forgive them for they know not what they do.”

    No one is more loving of compassionate than God, who sent His only begotten Son into a world of cruel sinners to minister to them, to heal them, to feed them, and teach them, to love them like a mother does her own child and yet then to have them reject him, spit on him, slap him, beat him, crucify him on a cruel cross on Calvary’s hill all so that the full price of your redemption would be paid.

    Yet sympathizers now have all but defaced Christ, and made mockery of His sacrifice. We look at our lives and what we must or have suffered most often as a result of decisions we made. all the while God is waiting, begging, pleading with us for a chance to be a part of our lives.

    Or sometimes we get caught up with the modern day Pharisees, who say you can’t help but sin while at the same time condemning every sinner they don’t like.

    Yet there is God… waiting patiently… wanting so desperately to be a part of your life. It’s not about what others are doing or what others are saying, it’s not about what has happened or what may happen, its about now. It’s about giving your life to God. It’s about recognizing who you are in the eyes of God and who you are and coming to His reasoning table.

    “Come let us reason together saith the Lord” ref. Isaiah 1:18. Don’t wait to know God, get to know God today… now is the accepted time, today is the day of salvation! (ref. 2 Corinthians 6:2).

    • ranthegauntlet December 26, 2012 at 4:52 pm Reply

      Darius, hello!
      Oh, I love the way you think. Your first paragraph is so right – and applied to what I wrote…well, even not playing the game is making a stand against those who do in some sense, isn’t it? And yes, the Jesus you describe here is the one I see in scripture. The compassion and the rejection of religiousity.

      I hear the kindness in your words, and I am not arguing with you here, but these are my questions – sincerely, heartfelt, without trying to make a point: I have such a hard time feeling loved by a God whose only solution to sin and separation is torture and death of an innocent. When I challenged myself to stay and take the high road in my marriage (i.e. when in doubt about interpretation, taking a more demanding and conservative view of scripture) – to suffer if that is what God wanted – even to consider leaving my kids out there for the same – in the name of the Lord….I became afraid of what God would demand of me. Or that I might be wrong – no inner “knowing.”

      Yes, my suffering was nothing compared to Christ’s or the absolutely grueling agonies of millions every day (which was not comforting, since it was obvious there was much more pain to be had out there). If God was begging and pleading with me for a chance to be a part of my life, I was also begging and pleading with Him to enable me to do so, to communicate, to make it real on my level. Just a little of the “peace that passes understanding” or a whisper of a “still small voice” would have helped so much. I don’t know where the disconnect happened, but I have wanted to connect with God my entire life, and I am so disappointed. At least I no longer have expectations. Sorry if I sound like a whiner. It is what it is. I quit trying for a long time, but this blog, I guess, proves I’m still seeking on some level.

      I’ve done my share of condemning others. I used to say – I’m not bigoted, just bigoted against bigots. How magnanimous, right? LOL

      I so hope for me, and for others, that we would be able to, as you say, ignore others’ doing and saying, chuck our Pharisee-ism, not worry about what has or will happen, and recognize Who He is now. I would love that! HOWEVER, it seems like it is up to HIM to enable me to know Him. I can’t conjure it, or discern who He is, or what He wants through the maze of paradoxes I see in scripture. And I certainly don’t perceive that most Christians know Him either, which raises more questions about why we seek Him in faith and still don’t get it. Seems to me all I can do is be willing and open. I can’t leap in faith any more. I’m listening for God and to SOME others, tentatively. Perhaps I will be able to construct a picture that I may have the comfort of believing wholeheartedly. OR maybe God will show me the real deal.

      Do you blog, Darius? if so, what is your site – I don’t see it in your info.

      Thank you for conversing. I hope you weigh in again, as I think what you have to say will be edifying.


      • Darius December 27, 2012 at 11:33 am Reply

        I do have a blog, I’m kind of just expressing on right now called conqueringand2.wordpress.com, but I hadn’t added it because I have a more extensive outreach work I’m working on also. Yet be free to visit the site and you can rant at me and let me know what’s wrong with it… Yet start with… nevermind let the Lord direct you through it.

        • ranthegauntlet January 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm Reply

          Darius – another response caught in spam. I need to adjust settings. My apologies!!! I will visit!


      • Darius December 27, 2012 at 12:37 pm Reply

        I commented here just a second ago I thought… I left my blog name and everything… I even updated my gravatar, but nothing was there when I looked back around… maybe its awaiting approval, but just in case I unreplied you might find my blog at conqueringand2.wordpress.com.

        Additionally, the scriptures are not going to all make sense to you if you’re not also Getting God’s interpretation. Get saved… yet there must be inspiration. You must hear the voice of God speaking to you in a real way… I recommend http://wp.me/p2WGF0-2I

        • ranthegauntlet January 10, 2013 at 11:17 pm Reply

          Hi, Darius:

          Somehow your response ended up in my spam folder…just found it. I will check out your blog and recommended http. Thanks!


  5. joepote01 December 19, 2012 at 12:25 pm Reply

    What a refreshing post, Diane!

    This, in particular, stood out to me:

    “We reinforce each other’s errors in logic; we play the game.”

    I have become increasingly convinced that this is a major issue in many curches, today. We become so accustomed to a certain understanding of scripture that it becomes almost impossible to learn new truths from God’s word. Rather than changing our perspective to align with new biblical insights, too often we intepret scripture to match our predetermined undertstanding and refuse to listen to differing views.

    Thanks for sharing a fresh perspective!

    • ranthegauntlet December 19, 2012 at 3:01 pm Reply

      Thank you, Joe! For visiting my blog, for writing as you do (refreshing is the word I would use also), and for your comment.

      I agree, a huge issue. I think the resistance you speak of has a lot to do with fear – of blasphemy, being deluded by false doctrine, needing to be right (therefore “safe”), feeling confused (cognitive dissonance), and offending the belief community (cultural security).

      Which implies deeper fear – of not really knowing God and His will (that’s me), and not trusting Him (that’s me, too), or fearing loss of faith if our underlying belief structures are challenged (not me – I’m all ears!).

      But a psychological hypothetical “why” doesn’t mean much. What does mean everything is “how” we begin and continue to interact with God as He intended.

      Thanks for your perspective as well!



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