Some family has been staying with me over the past few days.
Soccer girl, the 12 year old cousin, an aunt B and my mom. Soccer girl is homeschooled in the Southern States and is in contact with Quiverful Movement homeschoolers.
This morning, I dropped Lil’T off at preschool and was getting Minor-C down for a nap and listening to the conversations.
Aunt B: There are so many sad people in this world. Even those with lots of money are just empty in their hearts.
Soccer Girl: Thats cuz they don’t have Jesus in their hearts.
Aunt B: It is so hard to watch mom get old.
Soccer Girl: But the older you get, the closer you get to God. At least, if you’re a Christian.
Soccer Girl: I want to watch The Passion, but my parents think its not appropriate even when I turn 14.
Aunt B: But it is so important to see what actually happened, so that you really appreciate what Jesus did for us.
Baby fell asleep and I rejoined the group.
Aunt B was telling the story of her daughter’s only non-abusive boyfriend. My cousin and this man got along so well; they would talk for hours. They were best friends and he was the only guy she ever dated who really respected women.
But, he wasn’t a Christian.
So, she refused to marry him. He eventually married someone else, and she has been treated like shit by fine upstanding Christian men ever since. And she takes it, because she doesn’t think she is worthy of anything else.
I said that I would rather see her married to a man who respects her than one who doesn’t, Christian or not.
The grilling began.
A lot of non-Christians don’t think you need to be married to have sex.
I knew that.
What did I think of sex outside of marriage?
I told them.
But, what if my daughters did that? How could I watch them become sterile cesspools of venereal diseases with no committed relationship?
When I started to explain that putting a higher value on respect than church sanctioned behaviours was the opposite of condoning harmful behaviours, I was cut off.
“I follow the rules because they are God’s rules,” my mother emphatically stated. (Ok, yelled.) “What do you think of God?”
So, I started to share what I thought of god.
“No, that’s just her experience!” interrupted my mom. “That isn’t who God is! I know because I’ve experienced His love!”
Me: “No, mom, I’m telling you about the god of the bible and how its impacted me.”
Mom: “And where did you get those ideas? From Satan!”
Me: “No, from reading the bible.”
Mom: “I never taught you to read it like that! How could I have failed you?”
Me: “Umm, I learned to read. I read it. Its in there. The book that talks about dashing babies’ heads on rocks? That commands murder? That values certain lives above others? The schizophrenic god that in one place delights in killing and in others pleads for mercy for the unfortunate? I’m not making it up.”
Mom: “God isn’t schizophrenic, its our minds that are!”
Aunt B: “It talks about dashing babies’ heads against rocks?”
Me: “Psalms. Now I understand many Christians just ignore the nasty parts and focus on the loving parts, but I’m not that kind of pragmatic. I really tried to make it work.”
Mom: “I did too, and I didn’t understand. But then I realized that my mind deceives me and I just have to take things by faith.”
Aunt B: “I know what you’re going through. When I watched my husband suffer and die with cancer, I wondered where god was. But, I know that something is there. And God commanded the deaths of those other nations because he knew they would cause the Israelites to worship other gods. It was really merciful. The same with Japan.”
“Its like a parent who will let their child touch a hot stove. That is the only way they learn. To never let them do things is unloving” (Ok, killing people is loving? But letting them explore sexually is not?)
Then the ‘conversation’ went downhill. Two adults yelling at me that God is love. God loves me. We don’t understand because we’re finite. On and on. Soccer girl looked bored.
My mom had tears in her eyes. Likely for anguish over my lost soul. Or for the shame at having an apostate daughter.
When I got up, nearly 2 hours later, to get Lil’T from preschool, one of them grabbed my arm.
“Don’t you run away!”
Oh, how I wanted to! When I told my husband about it later, he asked why I didn’t just leave.
I didn’t think of it.
I cancelled a playdate with a friend in order to entertain family. Right now the value of family loyalty is not so appealing 🙂