Saturday, December 16, 2006

A challenging relationship

Now, this steers from my normal foodie blogging, but it's an assignment as part of a blogging circle I belong to...but this will be an open letter I wanted to write to a family member who shall remain nameless that I have a rocky relationship with at the moment. WARNING: This may be a bit controversial because it speaks of my Agnosticism and how the family member I am writing it to is an Evangelical Christian (something I do not agree with). I want to make it very clear, that under NO circumstances will I accept ANY type of comment that is preachy of any nature. I get enough of it in my life from my Evangelical family member, and I certainly do NOT need it on my blog, where I let all of my feelings out. I hope my wishes can be respected. Thank you.

Dear XXXX,

I realize that as of late you and I have not been on good speaking terms, and I realize there are differences between the two of us. I want it to be very clear that in no way, do I criticize what you have chosen to do in your life. I may not agree with it, but I am not going to criticize you for it. There is a huge difference between criticizing and disagreeing. I have asked you repeatedly to please not preach to me about God or Jesus, to respect my wishes and to respect that I am an Agnostic. I am on my own path and I am learning, but I need to learn on my own. I do not need the Bible shoved down my throat at every moment you feel I am vulnerable enough for you to do so. It's unfair and it's manipulative of you to do that to me. I do not push my questioning of religion onto you, and I would appreciate the same. I understand you are an Evangelical, but if I recall correctly, Evangelicals are not supposed to be pushy, spread the gospel but do not push. Remember I did attend your church for years.

You know I have been on my own path since I was a freshman in college and that has not changed at all. I've explored other religions, including Judaism and Unitarian Universalism, but I do not feel attached to one particular religion nor do I believe in any God. You are well aware of this. I left your church because I was tired of having the "If you're not saved you will go to hell" mantra shoved down my throat at a young age. It's scary, it's unnecessary, and I like to believe if there is a God, he/she/it wouldn't want someone feeling fear of him/her/it. I just wish you would understand better why I left your church at 16 years of age and why I cannot agree with that kind of religion. As a teenager, before I decided to think for myself, I was scared of everyone's salvation- my family members, my friends who were not "saved" or Christian. Why should anyone have that kind of fear instilled in them? I don't want it instilled in myself, and I absolutely, under NO circumstances, want it instilled in my daughter.

Despite our differences, I hope you know how much I love you and how much it kills me inside to not be able to talk to you about the things we used to talk about. Our relationship has been impacted severely, and I say this out of nothing but love: I hope that it will change. I hope you can see that yes, we may be different, but I hope you can respect my wishes, stop pushing the Bible on me, and love me as I am, Agnostic or not. I hope someday you will stop judging me for not believing in God. I say this because it tears me up inside and I can't imagine our relationship continuing on down this road for the rest of my life. I just hope you will understand.

Love,
J

7 Comments:

At 4:54 PM, Blogger ¬©Jac said...

I'm so happy you did this PITNT! I hope you feel better after having it wrote out!

 
At 11:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

I do, thank you. It's something I really needed to do. Now if I could only get the guts to send it out to that family member...

 
At 4:37 PM, Blogger The Culinary Chase said...

Sometimes just airing your thoughts is enough to feel as though you've accomplished something & perhaps give you the added strength to speak to this person. AND, sometimes it's better to leave it alone. As my husband always says to me, 'pick your battles'. No easy answers here except for the ones you're comfortable with.

 
At 5:00 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

So true. I know I have tried with her in the past, and frankly I don't think I will send this letter out because it's pointless. Like you said, choose your battles. Thanks.

 
At 6:21 PM, Blogger sher said...

I sooo relate to this!!!!!!!

 
At 6:50 PM, Blogger Jennifer said...

Sher, sorry to hear that! I keep trying to call the family member to say hello (not to confront, I decided against that), but she is not returning my calls. *Sigh*.

 
At 5:15 AM, Blogger G. said...

I like the letter. I hope things get better with the relationship with your sister. Why can't people understand that by doing the very thing she is doing, she is ruining the relationship she has with you? I'm not sure that God wants us to destroy our relationships with judgmental behavior.

 

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