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They're Here! (Duck & Cover)


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I've probably mentioned on this board somewhere already, that a branch of my family are southern, Evangelical Baptist missionaries. Their visits are always pleasant enough on the surface, but horribly awkward and anxiety-inducing deep down.

 

My aunt and uncle, who were the ones who started the whole missionary thing in our family, are staying with my parents for a few days. (They are in their eighties now and have "retired" to the US.) They have long believed (and made no secret about it) that we need saving, and they pretty much hate the way we live our lives.

 

Anyway - J (my bf) and I went for dinner last night, as my mother had invited us, and I genuinely enjoy seeing them, as long as we stay away from religion and politics. It was J' s first time meeting them, though I had thoroughly prepped him.

 

Dinner was pleasant enough - we got caught up on family news, saw some photos, etc...really, quite nice. Then after dinner, I went to the kitchen to help my mother sort out the dishes and so on, and returned to fine my uncle had cornered J and was pressing him about his religious ties, his beliefs, whether or not he felt certain he would go to heaven...you know, the "Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour" schtick. So awkward.

 

I will give J full points here for actually politely hanging in there - answering honestly without encouraging too much conversation. I, on the other hand, was mortified and I announced we were leaving. It was very, very awkward, and though I retained a cheerful tone and bright smile, my aunt and uncle know exactly why we left.

 

It was so frustrating. I'm especially frustrating because my brother dated his now-wife for 10 years, and they have never, ever asked her about her religious beliefs, etc. I really did not think that would happen to J, and yet it did. I'm just glad we were at my parents' place instead of our own, so at least we could leave.

 

I'm supposed to go over this afternoon for tea (my mother needs a buffer, and I don't want to leave her hanging) and am just trying really hard to rally myself and let last night go...but it will likely be more of the same. In someone else's home, I don't feel comfortable being confrontational, so of course I'm feeling some stress. At the same time, this could very well be the last time they come up here, so I don't want to not see them, and miss out on spending time with them. (Again - when the topics are neutral, my aunt and uncle are lots of fun.)

 

There's not really a question here - it's just a rant, I guess. It angers me that people think they have the right to label others, or determine people's worthiness. J and I both consider ourselves Christians, but in my aunt and uncle's perspective, we definitely are not. That would be fine, if they would shut up about it. I came home in such a bother last night, like really riled up. I am so sick of them coming up here and looking down on us. Keep in mind, this branch of the family has many people in it, so it's not like my aunt and uncle are the only ones we see - there are more. And like my aunt and uncle, it's a great time until we have to talk about Jesus - their way, so they can enlighten us about where we're going wrong and remind us we probably aren't going to heaven.

 

I hope everyone is having a better morning than I am!!!

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Raven,

 

This kind of thing really annoys me, and I am sure others, as well.

 

I rationalize it that people like this truly are certain that they possess the truth about salvation and, as such, feel an obligation to share it with others. What if they were certain but kept the truth only for themselves? Wouldn't that be terribly selfish? Having proposed a rationale, that doesn't make it any less annoying.

 

Hang it there.

 

George

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Thanks George. That's actually what my uncle said last night at one point: "I owe it to the Lord to tell you this and ask you this...." yeesh. I've seen him try to witness to servers in restaurants - while they're working! Awkward!

 

The part that irritates me the most about this, really, is they do this while being guests in my parents' home (and the home I grew up in - so my home too on many visits over the years). How do you do that? How do you stay in someone's home - eat their food, use their washer/dryer, take up their time, stay in their guest room - and then do that? It just seems so completely bizarre to me.

 

If J and I went to see them, for example, we would not expect to share a room (we are unmarried but live together) or drink alcohol in their home. We would respect their preferences and behave as guests. But they, on the other hand, just come in and stir up trouble.

 

My parents are the only ones they stay with, because frankly, they're the only ones who will have them. That sounds mean, but they've burned a lot of bridges.

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I have a relative who expresses concern over my salt intake while I am eating and whether I am being aggressive in seeking treatment for any condition they perceive I have.They might offer suggestions for rearranging furniture also. All of which border violating to make my own choices.

 

Dutch

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Dutch - just because a person means well doesn't mean they do well; that's the conclusion I've come to. I saw a picture on facebook the other day and it said something like, "I can see that your heart's in the right place, but your head is up your a**." It made me laugh a little, because we all know people like that.

 

My aunt and uncle seriously and truly believe that what they are doing is the right thing. However, it's not like they don't know us, don't know how we live our lives, what we believe in, etc. They know - they simply think it's wrong and think they have the right to call us on it. If I ever turned back on them and called them out for their ungracious houseguest behaviour, they would be mortified - and would probably miss the point altogether.

 

That whole "do unto others" thing just goes right over their heads. My aunt told me that she often hides my facebook updates from her newsfeed because she doesn't agree with some things I post - I told her that doesn't bother me, and we all have the right to our opinions. But that doesn't stop her (and him) from trying to beat us over the head with their views, which is pretty hypocritical.

 

I suppose it's like anything else. You go on a miracle diet and lose 100 pounds, and you can't stop talking about it - why can't people understand how excited you are?! If they would just follow the same path you've taken, they could live a whole new, skinny life. It's so easy! They just need someone to show them the right way!

 

*facepalm*

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Oh yes, I have relatives like this - a whole LOT of relatives like this - not only are they border-line fundy's but they are rabid conservatives. Not only do I get preached it, I get badgered politically. I get plenty tired of it. Its horribly rude, not matter if one believes s/he is right. I finally told one person to stop talking politics and religion because we were never going to agree. The next time I saw him, he started in again - so I told him politiely if he wanted to have a dialogue, where we both get equal time and actually listen to one another, I would be happy to discuss it. But if he was going to shout at me and not even consider my POV he should just (and these were my exactly words) "shut up about it". Guess what? He did.

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Ugh Yvonne, I know exactly what you mean. It's not just the religion, it's that religion and politics (for some) are so interwoven. The last time members of this family came (cousins instead of the aunt and uncle) we got to have dinner while they went on and on about how Obama is a "secret Muslim" and Sarah Palin is "one fine lady." Oy vey.

 

I am really afraid that one of these days I'm going to just snap. Out of respect for my parents, and out of a desire for family harmony, I tend more toward bean-dipping than anything else - but how much is a person expected to take. Had this gone on in our home, as opposed to my parents' home, perhaps I would have felt like I had more of a leg to stand on? Maybe, but I don't know. My aunt is a scary woman. Good-hearted, but scary.

 

Good for you for standing up to your friend. I can't believe how some people just don't get it. Throw out the actual conversation content for a moment, and think about this: what kind of person subjects a conversation partner to a dialogue they don't want? I was always taught it doesn't matter what you're talking about - you have a social obligation to participate in "conversations," not "lectures/sermons." To hijack a conversation and get in someone's face - regardless of the actual topic - is just poor manners. Throw in politics and attempts to shame/convert, and Miss Manners would need her smelling salts.

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You certainly aren't alone Raven and Yvonne . I think we all have family members/relatives that fit in that category. Sounds like J handled it very well. It is sometimes interesting to just answer honestly and ask them questions back which sometimes reveals the ridiculousness of their conversation to them and sometimes just makes them angry. The hard part of course is not to be bothered by any of it. (I'll bet you knew i would say something like that.) :)

 

I was once bothered by such myself but it seems to me they really don't 'know' what they are doing. In fact, i am certain at one time you might say that i was in the same boat as them. Will; you forgive me and have compassion for me who did the same as they and for a time... just didn't get it?

 

Joseph

Edited by JosephM
added Raven's name
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Joseph's comment made the thought pop into my head of Jesus saying "Father, forgive them for they don't know what they do". Traditionally it's interpreted that this comment is aimed at those responsible for his torture and execution, but I think it comfortably extends to this situation.

 

Those like your aunt and uncle Raven, simply don't 'know' what they are doing. That doesn't mean we should let people do whatever they want to us out of their ignornace or otherwise, but I wonder if recognising that makes it any easier to 'let it be'.

 

Perhaps smile inwardly to yourself whilst remembering that they simply "don't know what they do".

 

I am in a similiar boat so perhaps I might start practising what I preach! :)

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Joseph and Paul - that's exactly what my mother and brother said when we discussed it among ourselves yesterday. My aunt and uncle live in this bubble world where everyone with whom they interact is either just like them, or a sinner - those are the only choices. They've made a life for themselves of getting in people's faces and saving them, and I do think they honest think they're doing the right thing. It's so frustrating sometimes. I find myself more frustrated now than I was a few years ago. As an adult, living my life my way, I refuse to explain myself or apologise for my choices - and it just makes them crazy.

 

Joseph - J definitely handled it well, and didn't let it ruffle him. I think he found the whole thing a little bit amusing, but also of course a huge pain in the you-know-what, as we were simply trying to enjoy some family time. Yeesh. It's such a shame, because with any other topic of discussion (save politics, because they HATE Obama, as well...) they're interesting and fun people.

 

One time, other members from this same branch gave my parents the "sit down" - in their own home, no less - and basically told them that if they don't get saved/born again/etc that "we won't see you in Heaven." My response, upon hearing this story later, was "Fine with me - who'd want to spend eternity with people like that?!"

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