I have always struggled with social skills. Small talk was something to be looked down on, not practiced. As a result, I tend to dive into conversations on controversial subjects. I also give away too much unsolicited information.
Normally, any discovery or ‘spiritual growth’ would be the opening of a conversation.
Now being confronted with the question, “so, how’s God been working in your life today” is somewhat scary.
Do I say, “umm, god/ess has been telling me that the god I used to believe in is a figment of imagination and that the whole idea of god is much too narrow to describe The Unknown which may or may not be unknowable. I lost my religion, which I hadn’t even recognized as such and its great!”
No. Although I’d like to.
I invited a Christian friend of mine over for a play date intending to tell her a bit of my spiritual journey while our kidlets entertained themselves.
She started by describing how she finally gets that as witnesses for Christ we are called to witness- tell people of our own experience when we are asked. We are not a media campaign, defence lawyers or god’s advocates.
I refrained from mentioning that in Jewish law which the Early Church was subject to, women couldn’t be witnesses. Or that in Medieval Christian Europe, testimony was given only by those with testicles.
I decided to take her advice and wait to be asked to give testimony. But then, she didn’t even ask me about my spiritual journey!
I really have to fight the temptation to announce to the world that I have left Christianity.
I’m sure there is a balance between honesty and tact. Some things need never be revealed, but I feel dishonest when I am not giving someone personal information that could change how they view me.
I just gave my father a brief list of reasons why we left our old church. I know he took it as a personal rejection. I probably could have let it alone, but I want him to know.
My mother asked which church we are attending. When I told her we are considering the Unitarian Church she was predictably horrified. I know that she will research it for herself and that she will continue to listen to what I have to say.
Both my parents blame themselves for my defection, but it isn’t right for me to stay silent to spare them that pain. Right?
My husband’s parents? I don’t trust them not to try and ‘fix’ us first and listen later. So we stay silent. I am even learning to walk away from a conversation that starts with saying there is a lot of evidence for young earth creationism.
But it is a bitter silence.