Blogs Are Stupid

Doesn't anyone believe in Dear Diary anymore? What happened to the joy of putting actual pen to paper? And why does every ordinary Jane and John think they can write well enough to burden the world with their scribblings? It’s a mystery that badly needs solving. My first entry contains my thoughts about blogging and will set your expectations. The rest will probably be stream of consciousness garbage, much like you’ll find on any other blog. Perhaps we will both come away enlightened.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Blasphemous Rumors

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think that God's got a sick sense of humor and when I die, I expect to find him laughing
.

(Lots of bloggy high fives if you get the reference)

Never mind when I die, he's laughing at me right. flippin. now. See, I think he's been reading my blog, and he's decided to mess with me a little bit. What? God can't have a sense of humor? Proof is everywhere. Male pattern baldness. Haute Couture. Penises.

Anyway, apparently, tangling with internet Christians was not enough of a lesson for me. God decided I needed a practical lesson in dealing with the recently born again.

Around here, baseball is played in the Spring and Fall, and my boys have just started their fall league. Diminutive One's Coach is new to the park. His son is only six and had previously only played in a church league. The team Mom is his wife, who immediately struck me as a very outgoing and friendly person with a good sense of humor. I liked her. Notice the past tense.

At the first practice, she asked for everyone's email address, stating that she lived and died by email. I was relieved to find that she is computer literate. I also do a great deal of my day to day business by email and it makes organization much easier for me. The first email I recieved from her had a hyperlink in the signature for a Christian Ministry website. No biggie. I was free to click or not click. I chose not to click.

Later that day Husband IM'd me from work asking if I had gone to the website. The tone of his voice told me that was something was up. He said simply, "It's interesting. You might want to take a look." Hmmm. We've been married long enough for me read between the lines pretty well and what I got from that was that these folks aren't your ordinary run of the mill Christians. I clicked.

What I found was a website chronicling years of mental illness, suicide attempts, and health crises, including many failed pregnancies. It was extremely personal and sensitive information, and not the kind of thing I would share with casual acquaintances. But, I understood that being saved helped her overcome these adversities, and she wished to reach out to others who might be stuggling with similar issues to testify to the power of faith and prayer. It's still not something I would have shared until I was better acquainted with folks, but, she is she and I am me. I didn't really think much more about it and honestly, it didn't alter my opinion of her, except maybe to give me a bit more respect for her. Her story made me see that she is a strong woman, and I dig strong women.

A week later, after having only spoken to her TWICE very briefly, I received an email at my personal email address, which I gaurd ferociously and give out to only a handful of select individuals, with spam from her ministry. The email spoke of a "new chapter" that they have added...and asked that we forward this email to everyone in our address books regardless of who they are and where they live. They also advertised their availability for public speaking engagements in the email. And the kicker is...they shared that they had found a publisher for her book, but that the exorbitant fees were beyond their means and so, they are accepting "love offerings".

I was, quite honestly, pissed off beyond all measure and I don't think I have to explain to you all the reasons why it was highly inappropriate. Still, I tried to be calm and approach the issue rationally. I told myself that she probably didn't mean to be rude or presumptuous. Some people truly have no sense of propriety. I once read that Einstein was almost inhumanly brilliant, but had to be told to change his underwear. So, I decided to just politely ask her to remove me from her ministry's mailing list and let that be the end of it. Here is what I said,

Hi Christian,

Could you please remove me from SuperDuperMinistries.com's mailing list? I wish you the best of luck with getting your book published. As always, I am happy to help with any team related issues.

Sincerely,

B.A.


I got a very terse reply almost immediately. It said simply,

NOT A PROBLEM.

I knew that those capital letteers did not bode well. I just knew it. It was quite clear that is was indeed...a problem. But I tried to shrug it off. Maybe she was trying to answer email while the pasta water was boiling over and the toddler was fingerpainting on the wainscotting with the contents of his diaper and the toilet was overflowing from having matchbox cars flushed down it. It happens.

A couple hours later another email arrived. It was addressed to only ten (me, and I assume the 9 others who asked her to remove them) of the original 23 recipients (she had either not bothered or didn't know how to blind CC) stating that she had sent the first email by using the select all option not thinking about the fact that she had not set up a separate folder for "Testimony". Alright...I suppose it's possible that she only has 23 contacts in her address book, 11 of whom were team members. It went on to say that they did not intend to offend anyone or solicit funds. I found it much harder to be charitable about that assertion, but I kept reading. It then said that they would not apologize for their faith or her mental illness. It was decidedly defensive and snippy. It was a qualified apology and I don't dig those.

I thought about it. And I thought about it. And I considered letting it go. I really did. But it pissed me off all over again because she was avoiding accountability by implying that she was being persecuted for her religious beliefs and her mental health status. It bugged me a lot because I try VERY hard to be accepting of others' beliefs. I don't always succeed and sometimes I am influenced by prejudices and preconceived ideals in regard to Christianity. But I do try.

So I talked to Husband about it. I expressed my feelings to him and I told him I didn't think I could let it go. He said that he supported me if I felt the need to pursue it.

So I emailed her back. Here is what I said:

Hi Christian,

Thanks for the explanation. I just want to clarify that neither Husband nor I were offended by your email. Though we do not share your faith, we respect and admire it, as well as your strength in overcoming such difficult issues. As I said, we both sincerely wish you continued good health and success in getting your book published.

We simply wish not to receive emails unrelated to baseball, as that is the purpose for which we provided our personal email addresses.

Thank you for your understanding. See you at the game on Saturday!

Sincerely,

B.A.


I did receive another email in reply, but it was largely incoherent, either because she was so angry she couldn't see straight to type, or because something else very wrong was going on. She did manage to convey that she "got my meaning" and that she "preferred this was the end of it." Well you know what? I "prefer" that it had never started.

The whole thing bothered me. A lot. I stewed about it for several days and Husband couldn't understand why it bothered me so much. I knew she would be distant and unfriendly now because of the incident and because I am not a Christian. I just knew it. And it bummed me out. I liked her and I had thought we could be friends. I discussed the issue with several Christian friends whose perspectives I value, and whom I can always count on to be honest. They said that I handled it well and that if she allowed the incident to color her view of me that was HER problem and that she needed to work a little harder on loving her neighbor.

Today at the game I resolved to be friendly and act as if it the whole thing was water under the bridge. There were one or two instances where she had to speak to me about team business, but it was brief and very curt. I decided to address her directly, and made a casual remark about something inconsequential. She looked away. I was very pointedly being ignored. Another parent, who was on our team last year when I was team Mom, noticed and raised her eyebrows in surprise at her rudeness. But I wasn't surprised.

I honestly don't know where to go from here. I can accept that she and I will not be friends now, and may well be enemies. We can co-exist in stony politeness, speaking only when necessary. Or I can approach her personally and express my desire to work through the issue so we can put it behind us and be, if not friends, at least understanding and respectful of one another.

I have no problem with doing that. But I wonder if it's even worth the effort. Part of me thinks yes, absolutely. It's always worth the effort to further understanding and tolerance of one another. And part of me says that I am better of without judgemental and small-minded people such as her in my life. One person isn't going to change her and sadly, because of the overwhelming prevailance of Christianity, and an abundance of individuals willing to support and even encourage her behavior, she doesn't need to change if she doesn't want to.

So. Is God punishing me for my smugness in handling that last little snafu so satisfactorily? Is he trying to bring me down a peg? Or is he just having a little fun with me? So...you think you have Christians all figured out, do you B.A.? Well...try this 'lil gal on for size!

Sing it with me....

I don't want to start any blasphemous rumors, but I think that God's got a sick sense of humor and when I die, I expect to find him laughing.

21 Comments:

  • At 8:14 PM, Blogger Arwen said…

    I love that band but I get my kicks on route 66.
    As to the crazy christian woman. I liken this to the presidency: we happen to currently have an imbecile in office but not all presidents have been imbeciles. Some were even Rhodes scholars. The crazy christian woman is crazy first and christian second. Unfortunately your child's enjoyment of the game (and your sanity) is what at risk here.

     
  • At 9:04 PM, Blogger Lisa said…

    Hiya ... I think you handled everything beautifully. You were kind, civil and decent. All "golden rule" behaviors regardless of faith or lack thereof. You should have NO regrets over your behavior.

    The same, alas, cannot be said for the other woman. Petty is the word that comes to my mind.

    If it were me, I'd continue to be civil but wouldn't go over and above with her. If this is her game, let her play it. You've got other stuff to do. :)
    (like blog about it!)

    I enjoy your writings and think you sound like a very centered and grounded person.

     
  • At 9:31 PM, Anonymous Izzy said…

    Woohooooo! I love me some Depeche Mode but I loathe people like this woman who claim to have seen the light, been saved, etc. but break go against every fricken tenet ever put forth by the big J and his merry band of followers.


    Seriously, it's people like her that give religion such a bad rap. I just cannot abide hypocrites and certainly not immature self-serving ones like this piece of work.

    But because I am a diplomat at heart, I'd suggest giving her one more chance and try to talk it out. Then you know you gave it your best shot and that the blame for any continued discomfort or tension lies squarely on her pious shoulders.

     
  • At 9:51 PM, Anonymous kellerbeller said…

    After many years going to games and supporting my kids I really think that you should do just that...go to games and support your kids. That's the purpose, not dealing with parents who use the activities of their children to promote their own agendas. Ignore the bitch and giving her less attention, not more.

     
  • At 10:29 PM, Blogger bubandpie said…

    That takes me back to grade nine! (And to my aggressively evangelistic atheist friend, Andrea, who introduced me to the song. Well, okay, it was revenge for when I played her Amy Grant, so it was actually returning good for evil...)

    I can't imagine any good coming from further discussion with this woman. You have already defused the situation and clarified your intentions, so clearly she just needs to work through her own emotional issues now. It sounds like she's channeling her embarrassment into anger at you.

     
  • At 6:49 AM, Anonymous Kvetch said…

    Since you asked, my opinion is that what this woman wants is attention. For herself, for her church and for her book. So, no, you do not give her any more attention than anyone else you barely know. If you apologize or try to "work it out" she will take it that you think you were wrong. And HOLY CHRISTMAS I don't think we want to be around when you realize that's what's going thru her mind! Well, it would prbably make for a great blog post, so maybe we do. To me (and perhaps to me only) people who profess to be "found" are more inherently "lost" than the floundering lot of the rest of us heathens. Truly! Genius as always, BA.

     
  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger Her Bad Mother said…

    I prefer my own Personal Jesus to the ones peddled so aggressively by others.

    You handled it with grace and tact and if she can't handle then, well, that's that. A shame, but no great loss from your friendship roster.

     
  • At 10:51 AM, Blogger Angela said…

    I agree so much with what's already been written and bubandpie said exactly what I was going to say. "It sounds like she's channeling her embarrassment into anger at you." I think she knows what she did was wrong and inappropriate and instead of being mature (as you CLEARLY are) she's decided to go on the defense and be rude to save face. People are people...

    Some people just like drama---you don't have to be sucked into hers because your son plays baseball and you don't care for spam.

    BTW, you're "proof" that God has a sense of humor about made me fall out of my chair. TOO funny

     
  • At 1:26 PM, Anonymous MotherPie said…

    I always appreciated your linking to me when I first started and I love reading you. You are on my blogroll...
    MotherPie's Blogroll and Blog Friends

    Cheers

     
  • At 1:30 PM, Blogger Jaelithe said…

    I think you handled this issue very politely and sensitively. This woman's attitude is patently un-Christian (and I am not a Christian, but I was partially raised as one, and I have studied the Bible, so I do know of what I speak). Her bad attitude does not stem from her so-called Christianity. Rather, her religion is a mask she employs to hide an ugly personality, and her self-righteousness, a crutch for a fragile, overblown ego.

    I have, unfortunately, met several individuals like this woman-- shallow, selfish people who use religion to justify their conviction that they are better than everyone else, and therefore somehow more deserving of attention or good fortune. People who use religion as an excuse to alienate and belittle anyone they deem to be too "different" from themselves, because that is easier for them than attempting to step outside of their own concerns long enough to try to understand the perspective of another human being.

    I have generally found that such people cannot be made to understand or even to accept the validity of views that differ from their own, because to them, trying would be a devastating open admission that the opinions they have built up as a shield against their own fear and uncertainty are questionable.

    I feel sorry for this woman for all the trauma she has endured, but I feel even sorrier that she did not see any of the tougher times in her life as an opportunity to practice humilty or compassion.

    I say, ignore her. Be polite when speaking to her is necessary, and don't rise to her obvious attempts to bait you. She is trying to turn you into the villian she wants to imagine you as, but she can't succeed if you don't give her an opportunity.


    (And yes, I know from personal experience that this is much easier said than done! Good luck.)

     
  • At 3:23 PM, Anonymous Antique Mommy said…

    I sort of resent any time any one hijacks a relationship for their own purposes -- distant cousins that you haven't seen for years call you up all friendly as though they actually care about you when they are really just trying to sell you cosmetics or want you to join their stupid pyramid scheme. It's just more deplorable (to me) when it's done in the name of Christ. As a Christian, when I hear of this kind of behaviour it makes me sad because so many people will think that we are all that way.

     
  • At 6:00 PM, Blogger Mrs. Chicky said…

    Personally, I think your best bet is to speak to her only when necessary. You said your peace, you stood up for what you believed and something tells me you're never going to get her to see your point. It sounds like she has more hangups than just her religious preference and I don't think you really want to get involved in that. Sorry this is going to be a blemish on your son's baseball season.

     
  • At 9:18 PM, Anonymous willsahna said…

    It's people like this that make me think of that saying some Christians use (usually about homosexuality- and it really annoys me), "Hate the sin not the sinner"-- well here's what I have to keep telling myself when I run into these types (and it is damn hard to remember) "hate the Christian, not the religion"!

    I realized a couple of years ago
    that I was turning away from Jesus (not that I was all that anyway) through no fault of his or even the bible or church. I was just getting so sick of it all. Especially with the whole Passion of the Christ hoopla. (don't even get me started on what I think of that-- and no I did not see it-- read the book).

    I saw an Oprah show- probably 12 years ago or so- and she was talking to Maya Angelou. Maya basically gave Oprah advice about dealing with this kind of stuff in her life. She said "It's not about you". And in your case, it's not. It's all about her and her problems.

    I have to tell my middle school students this all the time. And boy, is this woman acting middle school!! It is so hard, but since you have done nothing wrong, ignore it, her, and go on as if nothing is wrong. I bet in no time, when she gets no more from you, she will move on to the next person!

     
  • At 9:26 PM, Blogger Sarah said…

    So, when she was born again does that mean that she started over in maturity, too? Yeeeshk. I'm a Christian and am so thankful for the way you are rising above this situation -- and hope you don't associate all Christians with such immature behavior.

    Absolutely, God has a sense of humor!! I've never put penises in the category of "proof of God's sense of humor", but you may be on to something! I'm enjoying your blog!

     
  • At 11:41 PM, Blogger R.G. said…

    Awesome, one of my fave bands from the 80s and one of my favorite lyrics ever! And YES I am a Christian, so sue me!

    I think you handled the whole situation admirably -- far better than I would have probably. Small minded and petty people are everywhere, and their religion has nothing to do with it. It's when small-minded people get ahold of religion that things become scary!

    Honestly, I believe God is much happier with you and the way you handled this, than He is with Mrs. Christian and the piss-poor way she represented HIM. But that's the problem for all Christians... none of us are really "good" enough to be representatives of Christ. He had to die for us, for pete's sake.

    As a personal side note, I'm a book editor and the biggest thing that struck me in your whole post is where Mrs. Christian said she'd "found a publisher and the fees are so high..." Um, sorry to say, legitimate publishers don't charge fees. They PAY them. A "publisher" charging a fee means they're no publisher at all. They're simply printing the book. Ha ha. This is a self-publishing deal. If the book was any good, a real publisher would buy it. Not trying to be catty (now see how bad of a Christian I am?) just speaking the truth.

     
  • At 5:43 AM, Blogger Blog Antagonist said…

    I want to thank everyone who commented on this issue. The validation that I handled it appropriately helps a great deal. And, as several of you have suggested, I will let it go. I will continue to be polite and friendly and know that it's all I can do and the rest is up to her.

    And, thanks to the Christians whom I have met here online and several that I know in real life, I do realize that not all Christians are like her.

    Once I would have used her behavior to underscore my aversion to Christianity and taken it as proof positive that no good can come of being "saved". But recently I've encountered some Christians (many of whom have commented here) who have been kind, accepting, and willing to discuss rather than judge.

    Thank you.

     
  • At 9:07 AM, Blogger Ruth Dynamite said…

    Yeah - I'm late on this one, but you said your peace, eloquently and concisely. This woman has issues.

     
  • At 9:21 AM, Blogger sunshine scribe said…

    Late on this. But now I'll be humming Depeche Mode all day.

    You handled this exactly as I would have. You can't control her reaction to your rational and reasonable reponse. So I think understanding that is all you can do.

     
  • At 2:00 PM, Anonymous mothergoosemouse said…

    Of course you know I get the reference. And yeah - if there's a God, I'm another source of endless entertainment.

    BA, she's obviously still suffering from some sort of instability. I'm not trying to be snarky - it's simply the only reasonable explanation for her completely-blown-out-of-proportion responses to you.

    I had to giggle about the e-mail though. I once had some guy from a hard-core rap label add me to his distro list, which meant I ended up on several other distro lists, which meant I started receiving shitloads of publicity e-mails.

     
  • At 10:35 PM, Blogger molly said…

    It sounds like her problems have everything to do with mental illness and little to do with Christianity. You handled yourself admirably, just as any mentally stable person would do.

     
  • At 1:52 PM, Blogger Teacher lady said…

    VERY late on this, but this happens to be an issue with me lately. I think you handled it perfectly, I learned much from Rachelle about the self-publishing industry, and hell YEAH do I love me some Depeche Mode! Oh - and I want to buy this bumper sticker I saw that read, "Born right the first time!" Amen to that!

     

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