Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Darling, I love you... Now STOP trying to convert me!

I have a friend who loves Jesus.

A lot.

When we were in Middle School, she actually chose, of her own volition, to leave our public school and attend a private Christian school. While I never set foot inside those hallowed halls, I am willing to bet that it was similar to that high school in the movie "Saved."

This girl has been my friend for many years, since elementary school. I love her, I do, but in the name of all that is sacred, I really wish she would stop trying to shove Jesus down my throat.

I have a sensitive gag reflex.

I grew up in what I like to call the Bible Belt of Pennsylvania. The majority of my friends subscribe to some breed of Christianity, which is, of course, a personal choice and one that I would not impede. I may have tried, when I was younger and first discovering my own sense of the world, to entreat them to look at things from a logical (i.e., my) perspective, but I have since learned to respect their individual spiritual rights. To each her own, etc.

I wish she would do the same for me. For all of us.

Her best friend fell in love with a woman, and hid it from her for years because she was afraid of her reaction--and rightly so. When she finally told her, rather than being happy that her friend had found love, she flipped out because it was a "sin." Their friendship has since recovered, in a sort, but you'd have to be blind not to see the tension when she and the girlfriend are in the same room.

A few years ago I was going through a rough patch and I emailed my Girls--she among them--to vent about how life was shitting on my and I sincerely wished it would stop.

Her response was something along the lines of "I know you probably don't want to hear this, but there is Someone out there who will always love you, and He will always listen when you are ready to talk."

She was correct. I did not want to hear that. So why, in my time of need, rather than comfort me, did she feel this inexplicable need to say something which she knew would only piss me off? What is it about Christianity that its most ardent followers feel driven to impose their religion on everyone within ear shot?

I've never had a Jewish person knock on my door and ask if I'd like to read the Torah. Muslims don't try to flag me down in the subway and hand out leaflets. This need to convert the populace seems to me to be a strictly Christian passtime.

Perhaps you are wondering what spawned this little tirade.

A few minutes ago I received an email from this friend. It was prefaced with:

"I know some of you do and some of you don't share my beliefs, but for no matter what, this is a powerful skit!"

Right, sure it is.

As I scrolled through the email, the previous fowarders had added messages such as:

"I absolutely had to pass this on. It was preformed at our Easter service, it was so powerful and touched me deeply. Such a vivid visual of God's never ending love for us, no matter where we are, or what we may be going through. Praise and glory to God for His sweet presence and constant love for us.

This link is for the same skit preformed at another church. The awesome part of the skit is when the congregation erupts in cheers over the Lord's victory."

At this point I was fully aware that whatever followed was not something I cared to see. However, curiosity, as they say, killed the cat.

Apparently that also applies to frogs.

This is what followed.

I made it about 5 seconds in before I stopped and closed the window.

The bottom line, for me, is summed up in her initial message: "I know some of you do and some of you don't share my beliefs..."

That is correct. I do not share your beliefs. And while I wholeheartedly support your right to have those beliefs, I do not support your attempts to foist them upon me.

So please, my friend, in the name of all non-Christian-but-still-perfectly-good people out there... STOP trying to convert me. It will never work. And each attempt you make to do so only drives a deeper wedge between us.

The greatest thing you could do, as a Christian, and as my friend is stop trying to change me, and simply love me.

Isn't that what Christianity is really about?


Anonymous said...

In God's name, Amen.


Deutlich said...

Dude. I couldn't even fully read the excerpts before my stomach started to do nasty flips and my insides wanted to come out of my throat.

Extreme. I know. But.. aaaaahhhh it just BUGS ME when people do this.

Anonymous said...

I'm with Barbie on the whole Amen thing. Also, Jews for Jesus are good about handing out pamphlets. What's that all about?

Fortunately, none of my friends have ever tried to preach their religion to me, for which I am grateful, because I have very little tolerance for close-mindedness.

A Lil' Irish Lass said...

I know exactly what you're talking about. I used to get harassed by my Christian friends about "finding Jesus." I tried to point out to them that I had intentionally misplaced him. Sorry...Him.

They eventually gave up, but I know that they think I am living in sin and that all of my problems stem from a lack of Jesus in my life. It's definitely put a strain on the friendships.

Jess said...

I love this post. I am impressed that you manage to maintain your friendship. The frustration would be too much for me, I think.

Also, the line about the sensitive gag reflex is priceless.

Lpeg said...

Haha. Ok, I am Christian (Catholic at that!), but that video was absolutely hilarious!! I clicked randomly, watching a few nano-seconds of that clip.

It does drive me nuts when people do/say stuff like that though - I'm going through a little rough patch with my faith, and am having a hard time believing in anything at the moment... so when people say to me "He's watching over you" or "If you asked Him for help..."

My mum works at a church, so I hear it Alot.

Totally agree though - it makes me mad more than anything when people say that stuff.

Tina Vaziri said...

Uh, I'm so glad no one I know tries to do this to me. I probably would eventually snap and say something that would hurt their feelings and probably end our friendship.

Yoda said...

I was once stopped in my tracks by two dudes who thought that they may be able to convert me and "show me the truth in the world". I humored them let it continue till they asked me to talk about my beliefs. I told them that my spirituality wasn't as cheap as to be discussed with manwhores.

They let me go my own way.

Samantha said...

I have lost friendships over things like this. I echo exactly what Lil Irish Lass said. I'm seriously getting all riled up just thinking about it...

Kiera said...

I was nodding my head in agreement. There is one girl I know whose a Jehovah's Witness and it's not sinking in.

I was brought up in a Christian household and I identify with those beliefs. However, people are free to believe whatever they want. I have friends with beliefs in different religion and it's all good.

Stephanie said...

Sadly enough, my mom subscribes to this form of Christianity and for years I had to deal with having it shoved down my throat. Now she's realized that I'm not going to change and it's going to ruin our relationship if she keeps it up.

The biggest problem I have with Christians is the hypocrisy. God says not to judge, yet they look down on gay people as sinners going to hell. God says to love your neighbor, yet they avoid the woman who's had an abortion because she's a murderer.

The whole thing just makes no sense. I HATE it.

N. Steven said...

pardon for just randomly POPPING up on your blog.

i feel what you're saying. its exactly why no one likes telemarketers. i mean, really, those people know how to piss you off. douchebags.

but seriously, i hear on that. have you seen "the mist"? i think its a freakin' great movie, but it addresses a fragment of what you're talking about. and i wish that there weren't pushy jerks out there in the world that "represent" Christianity as Conversion Nazis. i, for example, am a Christian. but i am also a human, (that happens to be majoring in Psychology) and i guess that goes to say that there are other ways to do things.

AND, part of being a human means autonomy. the way i see it, hopefully my life and the way i live does a better job than i do.

besides, i'd hate to agitate that gag reflex. i don't look good in vomit.

feel free to check me out!

Anonymous said...

I'm a Christian, but I can honestly say that most Christians are not quite as radical with pushing the faith. Most people will listen to your problems & agree and mourn/vent with you.