Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Pay it Forward...?

The other day I received an email from the parents of a girl I grew up with. It was one of those forwards that reminds me that the people from Saved! aren’t just a stereotype – you know, the ones that say things like, “Support the troops in Iraq who are doing God’s patriotic will by saving the heathen Iraqis and bringing God’s chosen civilization to the savages! Put your name on here to get prayer back into our godless schools! If you don’t, remember that Jesus is watching! Shame and judgement will follow you all the days of your life! Vote for the Christian candidate even though everyone with half an eye can see he’s a complete hypocritical prick!” – those kind of emails. The last one I got was so full of hatred veiled in righteousness that I cried, and then sent an email back requesting that they not send me any more forwards.

It’s been a long time but another one finally made it through. This one was equally angry and bitter. Apparently the Canadian government wants to take the words “Under God” off of our money. I didn’t know those words were on our money, but whatever. Maybe it’s one of those American forwards that is making the Northern Tour, as it were. Either way, it was full of the angry justice that makes me forget what Jesus was about.

“If they [the government] doesn’t want to acknowledge God on our money/in our schools/in our courts, then I [the Christian, presumably] don’t want them taking Christmas or Easter holidays. I want my post delivered over the holidays, I want full government services when the Christian holidays occur. After all, if they don’t want to serve God, why should they get any of the perks?”

That’s not exactly what it said but that’s what I got out of it. (If you want to read the actual email leave a comment and I'll send it to you.) I swore (I was having an angry day anyways) and then wrote them another email. Here it is –

Dear LR,

Do you not get the impression that these kinds of emails are going against several commandments in themselves - namely, Love thy neighbour as thyself and be good to those who persecute you - ? This doesn't seem to be turning the other cheek or any of the things that Jesus spoke to us about.
Yes, it saddens me when a nation turns from God, but really, this country hasn't been a nation 'under God' in years. I doubt God has been a central part of any government in Canada during my entire lifetime. If it matters to you so much to have 'under God' on your money, or to have the 10 Commandments on a government building, or to have prayer in school, then fight the government on that instead of being childish about it and saying, well then fine. If you aren't going to do things the way I want, then you can't have any holidays. Good grief, people. That kind of attitude just makes Christians match the stereotype.
Please stop sending me crap like this. It just makes me mad and I'd like to have as many good days as possible. Thank you.

Rebecca

A few days later, to my immense surprise, I got a response.

Sorry Becky that you are sounding so bitter these days. I’ll pray for you.
LR

I laughed when I got that. Bitter? I’m sounding bitter? Excuse me, did you read the email you sent me first?

Then I shook my head, took a breath and thought about it. My email did have anger in it, and I can see how anger sounds like bitterness.

More interesting to me, though, is that, from opposite sides of this email, we both think the other person is bitter and completely wrong. Deceived, even. We probably think the exact same things about each other and see ourselves in the same boat that we think the other is missing.

That intrigues me extremely. I would like to sit down with LR and have a conversation to see if my interpretation of the forwards is what she actually means. Perhaps it is all a difference of semantics.

I kind of doubt it. But I would like to start some kind of conversation to see.

1 comment:

wilsonian said...

I'm impressed that you sent her a note. I just silently stew away...