Congratulations?

A childhood friend who used to go to the same church as I did called me up. 

“You’re going to be so excited for me!” She gushed.  “I’m called to be an evangelist!”

I didn’t know what to say.

She went on about how she had recently led a Hindi man to accept Christ and how she had gotten so many confirmations about her ‘calling’.  She described a recent trip to the States and how she went door to door.  She lamented about how “closed” the Californians were.

One of them had hurt her feelings deeply by asking if she was “one of those weird evangelist people”.  I had forgotten how sensitive she is to rejection.

Then she started talking about her new church and all the things she was learning.  Her spiritual life is growing and she is practicing her gifts.  Such as evangelism.

Then she asked me how my spiritual life was going.

Truthfully I answered that it was great.

During the conversation I was feeding the kids supper and changing poopy diapers, and I hoped my silence and lack of enthusiasm wasn’t hurting her feelings too much.

I doubt this vulnerable individual who has been abused all her life is prepared to handle the rejections, insults, and door-slamming her new calling will bring.  She is gifted when it comes to communicating with small children and non-verbal people, but does not pick up on social cues and norms of general society.  She has left a home where her mother always told her what to do and how to do it and found a church that is doing the same thing.

She craves acceptance, direction, and black and white rules.  Maybe her church is what she needs. 

I’m not looking forward to our next conversation, although it may not happen for another year or so.  Part of me really likes that she looks up to me and I know that will disappear when she finds out I’m not a Christian anymore.  It will be good for both of us not to have me idolized though.

In the meantime, I hope she is ok and I’m glad she is feeling useful.

8 thoughts on “Congratulations?

  1. Ahab says:

    “She has left a home where her mother always told her what to do and how to do it and found a church that is doing the same thing.”

    Sadly, I’ve met a few people who have sought out evangelical churches for the very same reason. They crave order and direction from superiors, even if this means they lose autonomy.

  2. D'Ma says:

    Sadly, I’ve met a few people who have sought out evangelical churches for the very same reason. They crave order and direction from superiors, even if this means they lose autonomy.

    That was me. I lost both of my parents fairly young so I was looking for direction. I completely lost myself along the way. And when/if she does wake up one day and wonder how she got where she is and where she even went she’ll need someplace to turn.

  3. “She craves acceptance, direction, and black and white rules. Maybe her church is what she needs.”

    The thought of taking control over one’s own life, creating one’s own happiness, and defining one’s own rules, is too daunting and frightening for many people. They are much more comfortable having someone else do all that for them.

  4. I remember Vic Tyler chuckling about the number of men in the ’30s when jobs were scarce, who were “called” to the ministry. They would go from town to town and always get a little money in the collection plate and free meals from some kind soul. Many of the Bible Schools in small prairie towns were started at the same time and likely for the same reason. “Callings” are great ways to squelch arguments and bolster the weak kneed. I am leery of them. More atrocities have been committed in the name of God by people “called” to do …

  5. HeIsSailing says:

    I had a recent lunchtime conversation with an Evangelical Christian friend of mine. She was an old church pal of mine, and she knows I have left the Faith. On this particular day though, she was telling me about a recent prayer meeting, and all the direction God was giving her in her life, and leading her to that man that she knew God was going to give her, etc, etc.

    It may have been a mistake, but by the end of the lunch, I told her I was happy for her life going well, and that she was dating somebody who seemed more mature than her previous love interests (whom she also said she felt God directed her to – I added in the back of my mind). But I also told her that all the talk of spiritual direction and answered prayer rang hollow for me. I apologized to her for not responding much when she talked this way, but I do not know how to respond to this anymore. She made it known to me that she always felt I would return to Christianity, and in my mind, I felt she was talking ‘Christianese’ to me, because she was testing the waters to see if that hope was coming true. In response to this feeling to her, I was extra emphatic:

    “I like hearing that your life is taking a positive turn. But when you talk about Spirituality, I cannot relate. I do not believe a god, spirits, angels or demons exist, and I just don’t know how to respond when you speak to me assuming that I do believe in these things. I accept you for who you are, but you have to accept me for who I am. I am not going to revert back to your religion. Please accept that.”

    Since then, she has been cordial, but aloof towards me. Less a friend – more a work colleague. So a mistake? Maybe. But lately, I feel I would rather be blunt if it means filtering out people who are not really my friends.

    • prairienymph says:

      Hmm. I’ve had a few aquaintences I met while a fervent christian ask my how my spiritual life is going this week. 4! This week. I really want to be blunt, but so far I’ve just evaded or hinted. Two of them have kids that play with mine and I get the impression they don’t really care about my spiritual life, but they would care about my non-belief.
      I think I’ll try your response on my mom though. She likes blunt.

  6. Lorena says:

    I find the story so sad. But I like what you did, in that you didn’t try to rescue her 🙂

    It would’ve been hard for me to let her go, knowing that she doesn’t have what it takes to succeed out there, and that her current happiness is so temporary. I’m not sure I would’ve had the strength to let her go thinking I approved. But that’s the best thing to do, to let her experience by herself the consequences of her actions. She’ll find out, sooner than later. Warning her would be counterproductive.

    • prairienymph says:

      True. And I need to remember that while she is sensitive, and while she does prefer black-and-white, she is stronger and smarter than most people (especially herself) give her credit for. I guess not rescuing her is a way of respecting her.

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