- You don’t have to like me and I don’t have to change myself for you. My worth isn’t up to you (or your god(s)). The same counts the other way around. Respect diversity as long as it doesn’t mean you are an accomplice in letting neglect and abuse happen against others.
- Take responsibility for your own emotions. Your emotions aren’t my responsibility, even if they arise while you are reading something I have written. You are always free to choose to read something else or read what I have written at a slower pace while noticing your emotions and considering if you agree with them. I can’t tell my story from my angle and write about how I see the world, without it feeling uncomfortable for some and others being offended. I don’t have to change my story or views, or perform other forms of self-censorship, because they make you feel uncomfortable. It isn’t my job to get all the people in the world to like me.
- It may feel safer to follow the majority, but just because you are a part of the majority or another form of supremacy, it doesn’t automatically mean that you are good, right or doesn’t harm others. Way too often, on the contrary. Therefore, learn to think for yourself, to think critically and from different angles, as well as to question everything, especially within your own faith and culture.
- Accept an answer the first time. A rejection is never an invitation for you to now try to get / press / manipulate that person to withdraw the rejection. Not wanting to take a no for an answer is almost always a violation of other people and isn’t okay, unless it is to save lives, or as part of a fight against abuse, oppression, racism or other forms of social injustice.
- Don’t blindly trust pastors and other religious and spiritual leaders. Don’t blindly trust their threats about thinks like original sin, demons and hell, or their sweet seductive words about a god who loves you. Don’t support religious institutions and denominations unless you agree with them in their ideology, theology, and creeds (which is often written down). Make an active and informed choice based on your own beliefs and convictions. This also applies in relation to the Church of Denmark1. The Church of Denmark isn’t just a cultural service institution. The Evangelical Lutheran Church, which in several respects has always been and is a fundamentalist religion, is the Church of Denmark2. The Evangelical Lutheran Church (Church of Denmark) is just one of many different Christian denominations. If you say yes to the Church of Denmark, then on paper you have said yes to condemnation of all other belief systems (including a number of other versions of Christianity – perhaps including your own) and on several points, oppression and fundamentalism.3.
- I’m not your mission field and you aren’t mine. Have enough respect for other people to let them follow their own conscience, values, convictions and faith – as long as they don’t harm others or deprive others of their fundamental freedoms.
- Just as you shouldn’t follow other people blindly, neither should you follow and believe me blindly. I’m a human being like you and can be wrong. My privileges, traumas and the way I experience the world can make me blind to what it’s like to be you and/or that I have crossed some of your boundaries. We may have conflicting experiences of the same situation. That’s ok – none of us need to change our stories, emotions and the way we experience the world, if we don’t want to. But at the same time, just as you want your fundamental freedoms to be respected, also have respect for other people and their fundamental freedoms.
Assume nothing, especially about other human beings. Question everything, especially within your own faith and culture. Think for yourself and think critically. Take responsibility for your own emotions and be open to change, especially if something in your behavior harms others or infringes on the fundamental freedoms of others. But at the same time, have respect and understanding for yourself. If you don’t have respect, compassion and understanding for yourself, then everything will be terrible, because you are the only one you will never be able to escape being together with. Be on your own side, for you are your own!4 – and allow others to do the same.
- See The Constitutional Act of Denmark (link almost at the bottom of the page), see section 4
- See the Augsburg Confession and Luther’s Small Catechism. Follow the things I post under the category Toxic Faith.
If you read in Danish: Se folkekirkens trosbekendelser (Især Den augsburgske Bekendelse og Luthers lille Katekismus). For den mørke del af historien bag evangelisk-luthersk kristendom og folkekirken her i Danmark, se Jens-André P. Herbeners bog Luther – Antidemokrat og Statsidol.
- This phrase is also the title of a book, written by Jamie Lee Finch (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52494101-you-are-your-own) and has also been used in other places, e.g. in connection with The Life After Podcast.
It’s a phrase that is the direct opposite of Protestant belief (incl. within the Danish National Church). A belief that for many of us who grew up in Protestant Christianity, now sits in our bodies as a form of trauma:
“Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; [emphasis added] you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, ESV