Derika & Emily

1999

Review #11:
Reviewed by: Caroline
Comments:
great story, have met many an emily and derika in my time. what would be a great follow up story would flash forward to them being adults and creating a situation where they were forced to interact and confront their adolescent feelings. i just found myself wanting to read more about them

Review #10:
Reviewed by: Someone who hates narrow-minded people
Comments:
I think I am severely disappointed at this point. The author had previously come across as a kind, understanding person and although she probably is,this story was, well, sickening, really. Not because it was "controversial", but because it practically forces the reader to sympathize with Derika (the lesbian who is incredibly mature and cosmopolitan) and hate Emily (the stupid Christian who actually has no clue and is incredibly stupid because, well, she is a Christian and thinks homosexuality is bad). And the thing is,most Christians(and people of other faiths) are not as radical and narrow-minded as you portrayed Emily.Stereotypes,see. There is always a minority of people who are just too stupid to function properly.(That includes gay people and atheists.) Anyway,ouch.Now, if only Emily and Derika had been intellectual equals and if only they had been equally mature, this might have played out differently and been interesting even.In its current state, however, I think it belongs more in the "Rants" section.

P.S.:"This story covers controversial religious topics, so people who can't keep their own beliefs out of their ability to evaluate the quality of the story tend to rate it low" ...were you being sarcastic when you wrote that? Because it would seem to me that you couldn't keep your beliefs out of your ability to tell a good story.

Review #9:
Reviewed by: Ethel
Comments:
"This story covers controversial religious topics, so people who can't keep their own beliefs out of their ability to evaluate the quality of the story tend to rate it low."

This was uncharitable. The story has a common flaw in it: It compares, as apparently equally representative individuals, people who are not equally representative (or equally mature). The Christian represented is one of the least-likeable types of Christians, the minority that is close-minded fundamentalists who do not understand their faith and believe they understand completely how God will sort us into Heaven and Hell; her faith feels immature and inconsistent. The lesbian friend is, in comparison, mature and speaks thoughtfully and is accepting of the situation. However, the justiposition of Emily and Derika implies that they are equally representative of their demographics (stright Christian and lesbian "seeker" (I've heard those still discerning their faith describe themselves this way)), and this is false.

It is not merely the story itself that is flawed, but also the fact that it is being presented in a day, age, and culture (the Internet) where Christian-bashing is accepted, and all too often takes the same form: Reduce all Christians to a stereotype of a blind-faith fundamentalist that condemns those who believe differently to Hell.

Consider, instead, if Emily had been a close-minded, fundamentalist Muslim condemning her friend for leaving the Islamic faith with equal harshness suing the strictest, most punitive interpretation of the Koran: In this age where the Islam faith is so heavily maligned and where so many Islamic people are seen through the lense of the stereotypical Islamic radical, I would hope that many of the open-minded readers would take umbrage to such blatant stereotyping! We need, as a culture, to be shown the peaceful, richer side of Islam - not to have the stereotyped negatives pressed further into our heads.

The stereotype for Christians is not so violent (thank Heavens!), but this negative stereotype is so common that it can be extremely difficult to work through or even recognize - unless you are a Christian who runs into it regularly, and is non-stereotypical, like most Christians. When my husband and I were dating, it took a lot of time for him to feel comfortable with my religion because he'd only seen the vocal Fundie minority threatening Hellfire, and heard his friends' mockery of Christianity. I started wearing a highly visible crucifix necklace around them after multiple instances where they made jokes about "stupid Christians who don't think", made jokes about all non-Christians being condemned to Hell, or mocked the Pope - only to be gracefully embarrassed when they realized that I was a devout Christian. It was the only way I could avoid this humiliating mockery that was unintentionally being directed at me by mocking my faith.

I recognize that Christians like Emily exist, just like radical Islamists exist. And for this reason, the story of Emily, on its own, is interesting. You make a real attempt to reveal a way of thinking that does exist, and on its own it could be an aid to understanding people like her. A similarly sympathetic story about a radical Islamist would also be fascinating to me (or an evangelistic Atheist - like the type vocally pushing the "Christians are stupid and don't think, what idiot believes in a myth like God?" agenda who walked around with anti-Christian signage at my university). However, as a compare-and-contrast of two people's experiences, I would be more interested in hearing a version with an equally shallow Derika, or a version where Emily's Christian worldview is as mature as Derika's non-Christian viewpoint.

As is, I found Derika's story bland and trite; there is nothing new or novel in it (which is why I've spoken mainly about Emily). I would be much more interested in hearing her response to a mature Christian who actually uses their brain. I suspect that much more richness and passion (and conflictedness) would arise were she considering the response of someone as mature as Derika is in terms of faith, but who chose a different path. I would love, for example, to hear her story if a future girlfriend of hers converted to Christianity and felt she needed to become "just friends" as a result. As is, her character seems undeveloped to me.

At the same time, I'd love to hear Emily and an evangelistic atheist (the close-minded sort of atheist) hit it off; the contrasts in flavors of stupidity would be RICH. The author is wonderful at exploring internal justifications and how people internalize their impressions of the world . . . I'm sure she could totally pull off the two different world-views. I'm a little surprised she didn't succeed in Derika and Emily.

Perhaps I'm sore in part because this kind of stereotype creates such awkwardness for me personally. I would just really like to hear a story more like what I see every day - where a devout Christian tries to draw closer to a non-Christian in the hope that seeing the joy and richness of following Christ in every aspect of our lives will eventually bring some of that same joy and richness to our non-Christian friends, and where the non-Christian recognizes their good intent and welcomes their joy - if not their beliefs. I think such stories bring much more good to Christians and non-Christians alike, but I only hear them frequently in real life - never in literature or media. Nor is this experience exclusive to Christians - the story could be told with most faiths, since any wise person realizes that the greatest way to convert someone to your way of life is to live it to the fullest in their presence.

And returning to the quote above - dismissing people's concerns as not being able to keep their beliefs out is not as effective as trying to understand the real concern underlying their complaints. My guess is that many other Christians have been hurt by the overwhelming bias towards displaying the irrational, brainless Christian currently present in our society, and this story as-is dredges up a very real wound - rather than healing it. Unintentionally, but it still hurts. I am confident the author is compassionate and has no desire to be close-minded, yet I believe that she unintentionally has acted in a close-minded fashion. I also believe that she is excellent at seeking to understand people, and will learn as much from her reader's comments as we learn from her stories :-) If I did not respect and admire the author and her ability to listen to her readers, I would not have written this lengthy comment.

Review #8:
Reviewed by: jp
Comments:
The story is a little biased, but then everyone's creative expressions are biased by their opinions. If I'd written the story it would be about 5 times more biased. As for whether the Emily character is realistic or not is kind of a hard question. I have family who are very devote episcopalians who just sigh and turn the other cheek at my (in their opinion no doubt) very unusual beleifs, my pentacles, and my near conversion to buddhism. On the otherhand, a kid who sat at my lunch table whom I barely knew once tried to convert me, trashed most of my personal views, and invited me to his church until I finally got so pissed off I left to go sit whith the stoners. But also my godmother is christian and we discuss everything from the book of genesis to paganism, so I really think it depends with the person, and probably their upbringing. It did sound like Emily came from a strict Christian household. But then so did Derika.

Review #7:
Reviewed by: Mike
Comments:
I rather enjoyed that, and envy not in the least your having to write from a "true believer's" perspective for Emily's part. It's a shame this is what many youths are still going through, thanks to the pervasiveness(and perverseness) of religious social manipulations.

Review #6:
Reviewed by: Azrael
Comments:
I think you have a rather serious misconception on Christianity. Hazarding a guess, you are a Wiccan (judging by Caridwen/fairy/magic with a 'k' references) or other pagan and have never been Christian/put much effort in to learning about Christianity.
I got the impression that Emily was a clueless, stupid, diehard fire-and-brimstone Protestant(southern Baptist comes to mind). Please bear in mind that we're not all like that. There are more arguments for our viewpoints than the simple and stereotypical "The Bible said so!"

By all means, please respond to this, as I would love to talk some of this over with you.

Hopefully I don't come across as rude! :)

Review #5:
Reviewed by: Mikey
Comments:
I like this it was very interesting the way that you were able to express each side, I my self have known quite a few people like Emily and can say she was well expressed by you and Derika story even better I love the emotions you expressed her side was so very deep and felt to me mainly about the parts of gods love and why should anyone put conditions on love. I would give this a 3 and a half star rating. and a 5 star rating just for the words crafter in Derika's story so nicely put and this is one thing that I can relate to all to well.

Review #4:
Reviewed by: Dan M.
Comments:
Here\'s my opinion...
To me this story was abolutley brilliant. It wasnt that it was a completely origional idea or anything, but for the idea being delivered, this was the full package that said it all with both sides exactly portrayed how I have seen them first hand in my own life.
I cant even begin to explain how much I relate to this story. I live this story on a daily basis.
I am from Salt Lake City Utah. Mormon capital of the world. And growing up in the church myself as a type of christain I can fully feel this whole story telling every tiny little thing I have ever wanted to say and how I feel personally.
If someone were to ask me what I beleived in as far my religion, I would tell them about a story called \

Review #3:
Reviewed by: Vania
Comments:
We all have different opinions, amazing. I am a writer myself and well, I truly believe that 'zeal without knowledge isn't good' (my opinion based on the Bible), which is what is portrayed in both parts of 'Derika and Emily'. Emily, the Christian, sounds like an idiot, simply because the author has ABSOLUTELY NO KNOWLEDGE ABOUT TRUE CHRISTIANITY. Derika, well, she is like all unbelievers (though she is not a very credible character). So that's how I saw this story, or rather, these stories. Just another one of those written with no genuine knowledge and poor quality. I do not say this just because I am a Christian, but because I feel also that if a story of any genre is to pursuade or entertain its audience, or if it is to condradict a certain issue, it should be written with with wisdom and knowledge about its topic.

Review #2:
Reviewed by: Annonymous
Comments:
'Derika and Emily' is definitely an interesting story (although some dialogue would really help) because, to me, it is unsuccessful in voicing its true purpose. In this two-part story, Emily is simply trying to live out her faith in the way she knows how, and tell her friend Derika about the joy she experiences through that faith. Because of Derika's closed-mindedness, Emily grieves for what might become of her in the future. On the other hand, as Derika is leading a new life as a lesbian, she is obviously blind to what she calls 'true love.' Emily is only sharing with her what is true love. The author makes Derika sound ignorant to who God really is when she compares Him to an irresponsible parent who allows their child to run out in the streets without supervision. Although this story could really use some polishing, it can also be a powerful witnessing tool to allow people to see what their childishness when it comes to rejecting God's prosperous plan for His children.

Review #1:
Reviewed by: The Author Herself
Comments:
"Derika and Emily" is unique in that it shows two people's opposite opinions and each character proves herself right (by her own terms, of course). Derika is convinced that there can't be only one truth and that Emily is being pigheaded, and Emily is convinced that Derika is going to Hell and that there is no room to "respect her choice of religion" if it is certain damnation for her friend. Both stories explore difficult questions about religion, both at about the level of mid to late high school. My problem with it is that Emily's arguments don't sound convincing. It is almost as if the Emily story exists to make Derika's opinion look like the "right" one even though the words themselves are arguing that Christianity is the only way to go. It certainly reveals the author's opinion way too obviously, which is why I rated it only 2 stars out of 5. I did something here that I really don't like: I used characters and situations to voice MY thoughts and spread MY message rather than their own. On the positive side, I think that people questioning a strict organized religion might find some identification with Derika's character, though it may piss off Christians by somewhat unintentionally making Emily's reasons for being Christian look stupid and unfounded. Overall, I think it's good to share, but it could have been done much better.

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